Blog Post

What to Look for in a Partner Training LMS

Brian Timberlake
January 16, 2024
partner education illustration

Partner training programs are fundamental to any high-growth business model. When you invest in partner education, you enable your channel partners to perfect how they market, sell, and service your products. Your partners only understand their role as well as you communicate it—and partner training is where that teaching begins.

Yet, per our 2023 State of Education Initiative Ownership report, only 33% of companies have partner education initiatives in place. That’s a missed opportunity. Our report uncovered that when companies have a dedicated education team in charge of partner education, they’re more likely to say “we exceeded our business goals.” The other 67% are leaving money on the table.

Partner training LMS platforms can help you join that thriving third. With the right LMS, you can deliver effective online training to any audience—from newly onboarded boutiques to enterprise firms you’ve known for years. Provide a personalized learning experience for each member of your partner network, and do so without compromising your brand voice.

Wondering what exactly to look for in a partner training LMS? Read on for a full breakdown.

What Is a Partner Training LMS?

A partner training LMS (learning management system) is a software application that helps organizations design and distribute training content to channel partners and other external parties. LMS platforms simplify the process of educating and enabling partners, giving companies access to powerful creation tools, reliable hosting servers, and an intuitive user interface.

In the past, a company’s partner training initiatives may have consisted largely of in-person workshops. Nowadays, these businesses can use an LMS platform to provide online training of equal—if not greater—quality. And they can deliver that content to more people than could ever fit in a conference room or learning center.

Benefits of Using an LMS for Partner Training

Adopting or migrating to a partner LMS can be a challenging task—especially when budgets are tight and senior leaders are skeptical of new tools. But the benefits of a good LMS can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.

Here are the biggest business cases for using a partner LMS:

It Standardizes Partner Education

The more your business scales, the larger your partner network becomes. As important as these partners are, however, managing an ever-growing network can quickly become unwieldy. You can’t manage 500 partners the same way you might manage 50, and this can create inconsistencies in how each partner operates.

LMSs like Intellum help you scale smartly—by educating consistently. With our platform, you can design unique learning paths for each step of the partner lifecycle. Go beyond blanket lesson plans, and deliver timely guidance based on each partner’s specific persona (size, industry, growth stage, etc.).

It Builds Brand Consistency

As much as your partners bring to the table, they also pose inherent risks. The larger your network, the looser your oversight—and greater the likelihood a partner will create marketing materials or a sales pitch that doesn’t align with your business values. When these “rogue” moments pile up, they start to erode customer trust in your brand.

A partner training LMS helps ground your partner network with clear brand guidelines. Use a content suite like Intellum’s Evolve to create a course (or series) dedicated to certifying and onboarding new partners. You can even embed existing media you already have—product videos, brand colors, etc.—so partners have everything they need to succeed, in one place.

It Improves the Customer Experience

As an organization, you know your products and services better than anyone. Often, however, there’s a gap between the value you provide and the value customers find. Your partners serve as that bridge-builder, communicating product knowledge to customers so they too can become experts. But that only happens when partners are as well-versed in your offerings as you are. 

Research shows that partner training increases sales and efficiency—resulting in better service calls, shorter queue times, and a stronger customer experience. And that partner training hinges on a high-powered LMS that gives your network confidence.

It Saves Time and Money

Think about your current education efforts. Whether you’re part of a massive team or an army of one, your time is valuable. According to our 2023 State of Education Initiative Ownership report, 33% of workplace education leaders saw their budgets cut within the past year; 15% lost team members, too. If you’re like these teams, you’re probably tasked to do more with less.

A partner training LMS is designed to help you maximize resources. Streamline the more painstaking tasks associated with education—from designing courses to building webinar pages—and manage existing assets with ease. With most LMS tools, everything is modular, meaning you can drag and drop old elements, restyle them, and turn them into someone new. 

Things to Consider When Picking a Partner Training LMS

There’s no shortage of learning management systems to help jumpstart your partner education efforts. The “right” partner training LMS will depend on your team and its needs. 

That said, here are five things to consider when weighing your decision:

1. Personalization

Partner enablement starts with understanding each one of your partner personas. You wouldn’t assume each of your customers has the same needs—why not apply that same philosophy to channel partner training?

An effective partner training LMS lets you drill deep into specific personas. You might segment your courses based on partner industry (SaaS, retail, etc.), or based on their average client size (SMB, mid-market, enterprise). You may choose to create detailed product training videos or localize existing training materials into different languages. Reflect on your known partner personas, and confirm your LMS supports them.

2. Scalability

According to our 2022 Examining the State of Organizational Education report, there’s a clear gap between current education initiatives and ideal ones. One major point of friction is scalability. Only 52% of educational leaders describe their work as “scalable”—yet scalability is what C-Suite executives say they value most in an LMS.

Thankfully, LMS tools are designed to be just that. As your network grows, an LMS ensures you have an equally scalable partner training program at each partner’s fingertips. The best LMS tools host the content you create on secure servers based on your exact access permissions. Create a single course or webinar, then distribute it to an audience of thousands. 

3. Ease of Use

Perhaps the biggest draw of an LMS system is accessibility. Platforms like LearnUpon, Trainn, and Workramp all boast sleek user interfaces where any educator can create digital learning in hours, if not minutes. So, with such great competitors, the leading LMS platforms must strive to go above and beyond.

Intellum offers that next step. Our proprietary Evolve authoring tool lets you create content that works across any device or browser. Its live preview reflects exactly how your content currently looks and operates, meaning you can edit and review without interruption. Intellum and Evolve also sync continuously, meaning your latest updates are just one click away, with no packages or file uploads to contend with. Best of all, content can be displayed inline in the platform, offering a seamless experience for learners.

4. Data Analytics 

An effective partner content strategy is never complete. As times change and business needs evolve, it’s important to gather data, assess metrics, and iterate on your education for the better. 

Grade-A learning management systems offer rich data analytics and reporting tools. It isn’t enough to pick a tool that lets you build a nifty course; you also want to know how many people completed it and whether the content presented was helpful. Look for an LMS that lets you track everything from partner readiness to partner satisfaction.

5. Integrations Support

It can be hard to motivate partners to learn, though not for lack of trying. For partner training to succeed, you need to embed education right into the fabric of partners’ existing workflows.

Look for an LMS that supports both industry-standard and niche integrations. Whether you want to provide single sign-on via Google, facilitate seamless webinars through Zoom, or sync sales data with Salesforce, integrations help you meet your partners where they’re at. 

Intellum Helps You Build Top-Tier Partner Training Programs

Intellum empowers learning professionals to deliver personalized training at scale. Use our content creation suite to create engaging, gamified learning activities. Broadcast live and on-demand webinars based on audience type, and track success with detailed reporting. 

Whether you’re educating partners about your sales motion, communicating product updates to clients, or onboarding new employees, Intellum helps you get the most out of your education initiatives. Check out the platform for yourself.

About the Author

Brian Timberlake headshot
Brian Timberlake
General Manager
Brian Timberlake has been in sales for his entire career, including overseeing channel networks. He brings this expertise to Intellum customers with partner sales and education motions.