We don’t need to tell you that training and certification are vital to a healthy channel ecosystem – truth is, many sales channel managers misunderstand just how important these elements are. Training and certification aren’t simply a matter of “making sure the sales reps say the right things.”
Your training and certification program is also key to maintaining a high level of mindshare among your partners and their staff, as well as encouraging them to continue towards higher success. Great training courses are really just the first step. A well-implemented sales channel training and certification program can do far more. We've listed three benefits that result from proper training and certification programs.
1. Motivated & Educated Sales Team
“Why can’t we just train them on everything at once?” is a question we often hear in regards to training. On the face of things, it makes sense. Why not just get everything out of the way up-front and just hold occasional refresher courses afterwards?
Well, even assuming your products can be covered in a single training session, there’s more to it than that. A series of certification levels is actually a great way to capture the attention of your partners and their staff. It creates a sense of progression, and achievement. By the time a salesperson has become a “Level 5 Certified Expert” in your products, they will feel like experts – even if the total time investment is the same as if they had just attended one marathon seminar. That motivates them to focus on your products in their sales work.
2. Measurable Engagement and Rewards
Training and Certification programs can also provide a very effective carrot-and-stick arrangement to encourage your partners to keep up with their training! There are many ways this can be implemented, but one of the most common is by granting -or withholding- extra warranty reimbursement privileges. Those who go through ongoing training sessions will get the best warranty support, and those who don’t, won’t.
It’s a great motivator in terms of keeping your various sales partners up-to-date on the latest training. It’s also a good way for you to gauge the level of engagement you’re seeing from your partners, based on training participation. This can then influence how you put training materials together in the future.
3. A Potential Profit Center
This can be tricky, as some partners may chafe at the idea of having to pay a premium for training. However, in the right situation – particularly if you have a popular product and partners lining up to sell it – your training and certification system can become an extra revenue stream on top of its other benefits!
Whether you’re charging per-course, per-certification, or for access to materials, the basic idea is the same: Those partners who want access to the best and most up-to-date training have to pay in to see it.