You have managed to find a perfect partner for your team after a grueling recruitment process. After such an investment of effort and resources, a successful onboarding program is beneficial to both your partner and your company as a whole.
It gives you the opportunity to educate your partner on topics you think they should know, such as how to sell your product, identify opportunities, reach joint long-term success, and more.
The first weeks of a partner onboarding plan are critical for your partnership, and a systematic onboarding and training program provides the partner with a solid foundation for success.
This article will help you understand what you need to focus on during the first 15 days of your onboarding program.
- 1. What is a 90-day Partner Onboarding Process?
- 2. Why are the First 15 Days Important in the Partner Onboarding Process?
- 3. Key Steps to Include in Days 1-15 of Your Partner Onboarding Pipeline
- 3.1. Welcome the Partner
- 3.2. Have a Kick-Off Call
- 3.3. Track Onboarding Progress
- 3.4. Provide Easy-to-Use Marketing Materials
- 3.5. Empower the Partner’s Product Knowledge
- 3.6. Provide Quick-Wins
- 3.7. Celebrate the Partner’s Wins
- 3.8. Connect them to the Community
- 3.9. Get the Partner’s Feedback
- 4. Conclusion
Table of contents
A 90-day partner onboarding process describes what needs to occur in the first 30, 60, and 90 days of a new partner on your team. It outlines exactly what your new partner should accomplish between the first week and the end of the third month in the new partnership.
The goal of a 90-day plan is to give your partner a concrete roadmap on how to get up to speed and achieve their goals. It helps ensure that each new partner feels welcomed into the organization and understands their responsibilities.
The initial 15-day plan for your partner onboarding will help you improve your onboarding process and prepare new partners for success. Onboarding can make or break a new business relationship, so it's worth investing in.
The partner should experience the following in the first 15 days:
Set goals and expectations for the first few months of the partnership.
Make sure the new partner has the information, resources, and skills they need to be successful in their new role.
Take the time to explain the key features of the product.
Provide effective feedback throughout the onboarding process to build trust.
The success or failure of new partners is determined by one factor: how well they are integrated and included in the company. The first 15 days are critical to ensuring this and giving you the opportunity to make a lasting impression. To achieve this, you need to focus on the following key partner onboarding best practices.
The welcome phase of your onboarding process allows channel managers to explain your working methods and set expectations for the partnership.
During this step, you should provide your partner with important information in a variety of ways that will help them navigate the team. You also get to invite the partner to join your team so that they feel like a member of your family.
Want to set yourself apart from the competition? Send a detailed and personalized email.
Include these things in your welcome email:
Onboarding checklist, detailing milestones and next steps
Instructions for using the partner portal, including how to move through the onboarding pipeline
The product or services overview and benefits
Partner program requirements, rewards, and benefits for their specific tier
The business plan
Training or certification programs required to sell or implement your solutions
Overview of sales and marketing tools
Forthcoming marketing and sales opportunities
Information on how to avoid channel conflict
Lead and deal registration requirements
FAQs where they can find information autonomously
Links to all resources
Contact information for partner managers, sales support, marketing support, accounting, and other team members.
There's nothing like a kickoff call during the partner's onboarding process to start things off on the right foot. This call allows both parties to adjust to the partnership and set reasonable expectations for the future. Formally introduce the partner to the company structure, the product, roles, and responsibilities. Talk about your expectations of the partner and what they can expect from you.
it is important to listen to your partner to find out if there are things that are still unclear to them, and also to find ways to set up accountability early on, for example, by setting a goal for completing the induction or setting a date for your next meeting.
In doing so, it is also important that you agree on the rules of engagement. Walk the partner through the onboarding process so they know what to expect at this point in the journey. Make sure that the partner has access to the appropriate people in the company and that they know what needs to be done to make the journey a success. Doing this will also ensure that your partners are activated.
There are many onboarding metrics you can use to assess the quality and effectiveness of your onboarding process and ensure that partners are enabled. This will give you a clear view of how solid your onboarding strategy is and how you can improve it. These metrics include:
Downloads of the partner resources
Onboarding completion rates
The open rate of onboarding emails
And engagement rates
To maintain transparency, your partners need to know which evaluation method your sales program uses to measure success. Choose a partner evaluation system to objectively measure your sales program's strengths and weaknesses.
Configure your channel's performance indicators to track the success of your channel and identify areas for improvement. With a tool like Kiflo PRM, you can track your partners' progress. Not only that, but you can see where they are stuck so you can develop a strategy to help them.
When it comes to marketing and sales support tools structured within your partner portal, one of the most common mistakes we see vendors make is believing that quantity is more important than quality.
The vendor is concerned because they do not want to appear "small" because they do not have much. In reality, partners prefer less so they can easily find what they are looking for. They also want this material to be easy to use.
As Charlene Strain from Pendo.io put it in her Greatest Minds in Partnerships article:
“We create no-nonsense assets and also organize existing materials to make it easy not only for our salespeople here at Pendo but also for our actual reseller, integration, or marketplace listing partners. We create templates for press releases, data sheets, and the like so they can be plug-and-play. If they're looking for three to five sentences, we can deliver that to them in the format they need.”
Top-notch programs even go so far as to customize material specifically for how partners will use and consume the material. For example, product data sheets that are typically distributed by direct sales reps can be modified to include the additional services offered by the partner in addition to the actual product, making it a breeze for the partner to use that content and promote partner engagement.
To promote knowledge retention, effective partner training must be strategically targeted by task, delivered to channel partners in a variety of formats, and repeated regularly. Training can begin remotely and promote autonomy between in-person sessions via an online site for channel partners.
Balancing soft skills, such as how to handle objections, with traditional knowledge of features and benefits can help them build sales confidence and optimize the revenue they generate. It's a fantastic time to share information about key products and services, promoted items, and situations, and cross-sell and upsell recommendations. Do not forget to train partners to explain goals, define channel success, and build their confidence in the onboarding approach.
Partners want to see that you are invested in them and want to see them succeed. The best way to do this in the first 15 days is by providing quick wins.
A quick win—often referred to as "low-hanging fruit"–is a result or achievement that your partners can achieve quickly and easily. It's a great way to engage and activate the partner, and show your commitment to their operations.
For example, you can use your PRM software to track and reward partners who actively engage with your content, or send them leads. This motivates them to attend training and provides them with the materials they need to sell more effectively
Another example is getting a badge for completing a level, achieving a certain grade, or completing all training sessions.
Nothing draws a team closer together than a win. Usually, everything feels fantastic when the wins roll in and everyone has something to celebrate. So why pass up the chance to improve your partnership by celebrating every success, big or small?
You can even go a step further by broadcasting your partner’s win to your team and your entire network. There are a few ways to do this:
Post about it in the news section of your partner portal
Share it on social media
Give the partner a perk
Celebrate internally with your team and the partner's team
A new partnership offers the opportunity to meet new people and build on existing relationships. Aside from your initiative to work with your partner, expanding your partner's network will be beneficial.
One easy way to do this is to mention your partner on sites like LinkedIn or even host a webinar together. This can benefit both you and your partner. First, promoting the webinar twice increases the number of emails, social posts, and podcast mentions.
This gives you and your partner access to each other's audiences. Everyone on your list who follows you on social media and everyone who regularly attends your webinar will at least hear about your partner and become their partner or customer.
Processes or product aspects that seem obvious to you (an insider) may be overlooked by an outsider. Therefore, ask your partner for their opinions on the various materials and what changes they would like to see.
As a channel account manager, if you hear the same questions over and over from partners, you may have a problem with your onboarding process. Make an effort to gather feedback from partners that reflects the full breadth of your ecosystem. This will help you better understand the different onboarding needs of different groups.
Understanding how to successfully onboard partners is a difficult task. You will simply waste the fruits of your labor if you provide a mediocre partner recruitment experience, especially during the first 15 days of your partner recruitment strategy.
Instead, give it the attention it deserves. When done right, channel partner onboarding pays huge dividends for vendors because it sets the stage for channel partner program success.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a partner onboarding process?
The onboarding process refers to the activities used to integrate new partners into the organization. It includes activities that allow new employees to go through an initial orientation process and learn about the product.
Why is partner onboarding important?
Partner onboarding is important to educate each partner on the areas you believe they should know. The topics that will help them become a champion for your company. To do this, you must first identify the general training needs of the partners.
How is B2B partner onboarding different than B2C partner onboarding?
The amount of material and the complexity of product activation for each type of business is the key difference between a B2B product and a B2C product. The most advanced component of a B2C company's onboarding experience is often the sign-up process, which should involve no more than 2-3 steps. Onboarding is far more difficult with B2B companies.
What are key metrics to follow in the partner onboarding process?
To see which partners are progressing, you can monitor whether partners complete onboarding at the scheduled time, whether they achieve certain scores, and whether they complete training courses.
Can PRMs help streamline partner onboarding?
PRM is perfectly equipped to provide all these training resources and tools to partners, from introducing partners to product specifications to introducing partners to proposed marketing and sales techniques, to guiding partners through the mechanics of creating pitch decks.