ONBOARDING NEW CHANNEL PARTNERS



As more and more industries are enabling their channel partners, the channel on-boarding process is gaining importance. The older notion that ‘hiring great channel partners helps build a great sales network’ is challenged by the modern belief that ‘a great on-boarding process makes a great sales network.

A good sales on-boarding program ensures that your channel partners, new or old, are on the same page as far as your brand and product/ service are concerned. A complete on-boarding program for new channel partners can accelerate the ramp up period, create more successful partner relationships and increase revenue for your organization. 
What is the most effective way to creating a helpful on-boarding program?

A value adding on-boarding program is one that is all encompassing. It must contain the basic elements that make sales reps self-sufficient and independent of the marketing team. Let us look at what these elements are-

1. Define the flow of your sales process
Often channel partners clash with parent companies due to hazy processes and overlapping roles and responsibilities. Over time, such differences could render the partner-company relationship dysfunctional. To avoid such issues, you need to clearly define processes like lead generation, lead scoring, explain the parameters for MQLs and SQLs and lead handover.

Using a sales enablement solution means that your corporate marketing team and channel partners are able to perform within their roles, avoid tedious processes and thus increase transparency between you and your channel partner. Defining these roles as part of your on-boarding process will give your channel partners a clear idea on how you approach your prospects and what and where their responsibilities lie.  

2. Provide them collateral which can be customized
Customers are driven by products or services that appeal to them on a personal level. Your communication needs to appeal to them at every stage of the buying cycle, which is why you must provide your channel partners with assets and content that are relevant for each stage of the sales cycle. Empower your channel partners to create custom sales assets mapped to the buyer’s sales cycle position.
3. Use channel playbooks
Channel playbooks are excellent to document sales processes and strategies. A robust playbook is one where you can document all processes and strategies that you expect your channel partners to follow. It acts like a knowledge bucket where you can store all relevant collateral- documents, imagery or videos which is easily accessible to the sales team. By documenting processes, assets and playbooks you can make it easy to on-board new channel partners and train them correctly.
4. Metrics
Tracking and measuring the effectiveness of your channel partner onboarding program is fundamental to creating an efficient channel partner network. The effectiveness of your channel sales strategies is a reflection of the effectiveness of your channel onboarding and training programs. Measurable results encourage channel partners to reach those goals. Sales enablement programs often have built in visibility tools and metrics make it easy to evaluate the training’s effectiveness. 

While a sales enablement platform is not in itself an alternative to the traditional programs, it is an excellent tool that aids in creating a potent onboarding program.