Blog Post

4 Simple Methods to Motivate Partners to Learn

Shannon Howard
November 30, 2023
Motivate Partners to Participate in Partner Education

When educating partners, you’re covering a variety of topics:

  • Initial education on your business
  • How systems and operations work for partners
  • How to sell and/or support your products or services

You also probably have ongoing education to ensure that partners are good, successful representatives of your business, and up-to-date on the latest product developments.

We recently talked with a group of education professionals who oversee partner education programs. Here are some things they’ve found to be successful in motivating this population to engage with learning content:

1. Understand Their Motivations

While the actual content or curriculum may mirror some of what you have for customer or employee education, the motivations to learn may be different. 

Each of these audiences (customer, partner, and employee) is learning about the product for their job. In this way, they’re similar.

However, partners are motivated to grow their business. The more they know about your product, the better they can sell it and support it. Their success really is dependent on how well they know the product. 

Deeper knowledge of the product also helps partners drive more value for their customers, resulting in customer loyalty, retention, and advocacy. 

These are all powerful motivations for continuous learning. 

2. Set Requirements

Sometimes you use a carrot for motivation—and sometimes you use a stick.

You might set requirements for your partner programs. For example, partners aren’t allowed to sell until they’ve completed certain training or certification, or they need to complete a certain number of training hours or get recertified each year to maintain partner status (like you see with CEUs for teachers or health care professionals).

Check out how Lazada Sponsored Solutions does this:

3. Offer Tiered Levels of Engagement

You might also have levels of education that’s offered, and people can only take on certain titles and responsibilities once they’ve completed each of those levels. (Check out how Mindbody tiered certification programs in this blog.)

Tiers can provide partners with a chance to get started with less training, but grow in status and opportunity as they continue learning with your company. 

4. Use Gamification

Another useful tactic is gamifying the learning experience. This could take a number of forms.

You might try highlighting a partner who has done extensive training or rewarding those who pursue continuing education with a special designation. Check out how HubSpot allows you to filter for partners who have completed specific training:

You could host a challenge or competition to learn about a new product release. (Check out how Intellum gamified learning around a product release in this blog for ideas and inspiration.)

Or, as partners earn Reputation Points in your online academy, they could earn opportunities to be featured as subject matter experts in your content, at live events, or in your online community. 

Go Forth and Motivate Those Partners

Research data from The State of Education Initiative Ownership report found that only 33% of companies have a partner education motion—and the ownership of partner education tends to fall to the education team or HR/L&D.

If that’s you, there’s a way to scale your education content strategy so you can do more with less—and we hope you find these tips helpful in motivating your partner audience to learn.

Recommended Reading:

About the Author

Shannon Howard Speaker Headshot
Shannon Howard
Director of Content & Customer Marketing
Shannon Howard is an experienced Customer Marketer who’s had the unique experience of building an LMS, implementing and managing learning management platforms, creating curriculum and education strategy, and marketing customer education. She loves to share Customer Education best practices from this blended perspective.