October 05, 2021

Partner Onboarding: 3 Best Practices For Long-Lasting Ties

When onboarding partners, a structured process is essential for success and speed. Discover 3 best practices to build lasting partnerships.

Partner onboarding

What is Partner Onboarding?

Partner onboarding is the process of training your partners with the right skills that will enable them to be successful at marketing and selling your products. 

Proper partner onboarding best practices are the foundations of any successful partnership because it gives you the leverage to enable your new partner. It is important to introduce and familiarize your partners with your business to achieve mutually beneficial results. 

The onboarding process takes different forms and it is considered endless because partners need to be trained and re-trained for optimal performance. These include educating your partners, maintaining strong ties, performance review, and so on.

Best Practices for Partner Onboarding

Well-organized partner onboarding best practices help you achieve the desired results through tried-and-tested methods and with minimum challenges. Below are the 3 strategic best practices:

Best Practice #1: Provide the Adequate Tools for Partner Onboarding

Knowing fully the overall importance of partner onboarding, it is necessary upon you to complement your efforts with relevant tools. After carefully developing your content and strategy, ensure optimizing your training for partner success.

A number of features embedded in modern tools help you deliver this task. These features enable you to evaluate the effect of the training as well as regulate the timeframe in which training courses are allocated to your partners. Rather than overloading your partners with material resources, it is an effective way of gradually onboarding your partners. 

Introducing certification of your partner is one of the partner onboarding best practices that facilitates the measurement of your partners’ understanding of your product. You can keep your partners in check by imposing expiry dates on awarded certificates. This necessitates their re-enrollment and makes them stay up-to-date on your product.

Do not undermine consistent monitoring of partner engagement KPIs because it gives you reliable information about your partners and things to be expected.

Best Practice #2: Feedback Is Essential

Feedback is an essential mechanism in executing a comprehensive partner onboarding. It is crucial to create a feedback channel so your partners can share their feedback regarding the onboarding process and your company.

A well-organized feedback mechanism hints you on your strategy, and at the same time helps in making necessary adjustments. Information gathered from the feedback process is the most ideal in reshaping your onboarding process.

There are a number of measures you can adopt in getting feedback from your partners. These include, one-on-one sessions, surveys, and observation, among others. 

One-on-one sessions are one of the most reliable means of gathering feedback from your partners. Ask your partners open-ended questions during one-on-one sessions with a view to infer how they feel about the company and the onboarding process.

Survey is another feedback mechanism used to gather data, but considered less reliable because partners fill the questionnaires at their conveniences. For reliable results, conduct the survey during the onboarding process and not after.

Observation is a good and applicable partner onboarding best practice if there is a cordial relationship between you and your partners. It cannot be overemphasized that gathering feedback helps you to fill gaps in your orientation or onboarding process.

Best Practice #3: Automate The Process of Partner Onboarding

Modern-day tools and systems have automated partner onboarding and made them easier than ever before. Given all-inclusive features of a modern PRM software, you can easily monitor and regulate your partners’ activities and performance. 

Automating the partner onboarding process enables you to harmonize all your new and existing partners together. This makes the channel partnership processes very fast and productive. 

One of the most reliable automation tools is Kiflo Partner Relationship Management (PRM). Kiflo PRM helps you to initiate partner onboarding best practices in a few hours as against the old system that cost days or weeks. 

There is no way a channel partnership can achieve the desired result and scale a partner program without automating the onboarding process. Automated onboarding is enabled with self-operating and self-regulatory mechanisms that allow you to onboard partners amid tight schedules. 

It also offers well-timed insights and opportunities to onboard many partners at the same time.

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Automating the partner onboarding process scales up retention and reduces running costs. This is because most partners often prefer to onboard at their convenient time. While this enhances flexibility, it also minimizes costs.

The automation process is a one-stop solution for new partners because it contains every piece of information needed by partners before partnership commences. It similarly protects your business during offboarding as vital pieces of information are well secured.

Partner Onboarding Best Practices
An infographic with 3 best practices for partner onboarding

How a Proper Onboarding Process Helps Your Business

A properly conducted onboarding process for new partners enhances productivity and eases your day-to-day business affairs. The impacts of proper onboarding on your business are discussed below in details:

#1: Enhance Transparency With Partnerships

A well-orchestrated partner or client onboarding process fosters transparency among channel partners because both sides have mutually inclusive goals. Do not hesitate to let go of new partners that do not share your business values and vision. 

From the outset of the client onboarding process, you should be able to differentiate between devoted partners and non-devoted ones through their attitudes and performance. This should inform your decision before going deep on channel partnership.

Onboarding, in line with global best practices, is preceded by a template showing terms and conditions and what will be achieved in the short- and long-term. With this, new partners feel protected and work diligently knowing their interests will be protected.

However, when it comes to partner onboarding decision-making, do not change the conditions in the work environment except by consulting your partners. This does not only motivate them to strive at their best, but also enhances transparency among channel partners.

Related to the above is the need to properly reward the efforts of your channel partners. If done accordingly, the inputs and diligence of your channel partners will be naturally reinforced.

If new partners are left in the dark without onboarding, channel partner relationships will fail. It is because your partners lack adequate knowledge, training, and guidance regarding the products and services. 

New partners are more likely to feel short-changed by the standard policies of your business when they are not onboarded. Thus, onboarding is a key means of restoring partners’ confidence and promoting transparency. 

#2: Increase Productivity

The best practices of the partner onboarding process, if adopted, familiarize new partners with the company's vision and values. This enhances their outputs because they quickly get up to speed with the standards and requirements of your business. 

Partners are most likely to deliver beyond expectation when they are regularly trained and retrained rather than left to figure everything out on their own. In a business partnership without an onboarding process, it takes partners 9 to 12 months to attain your desired degree of productivity.

This might affect the company’s overall revenue or even impact the sustenance of your business negatively. That’s why thriving industries do not joke about onboarding.

partner onboarding Kiflo
Managing partners within Kiflo PRM

An effective onboarding process is continuous and endless for partners to become acclimatized to your business. This enables your partners to stay up-to-date with modern tools and knowledge and eventually deliver their best.

At some points, partners feel attached and develop a sense of belonging to your business after they have been holistically trained and retrained. This is the point where your monitoring role eases because your partners are doing their best with little or no supervision.

#3: Improve Communication Between Partners

At the beginning, new partners are usually unfamiliar about their new engagements and need to be made comfortable to deliver effectively. So, your communication channel should be available and accessible at all times.

A proper onboarding process improves communication between you and your partners which is the foundation upon which a smooth-sailing partnership is built. 

It is the medium through which you pass vital information about your product to the partners. This enables your partners to handle and promote your product according to the company’s vision and mission.

Under partner onboarding process best practice, you should clearly explain to your partners what you stand for and what your needs are. This communication channel facilitates the actualization of your goals as well as helps you identify the most suitable partner.

Always give your partners the privilege to express themselves and communicate their feelings about your onboarding process and product. This creates room for improvement, thereby raising the standard of your business.

In a partnership model where onboarding is a continuous process, the partners feel themselves as part and parcel of the business and provide valuable contributions that may be helpful to your business.

Review your communication channel periodically and fill the gaps as early as possible for the sustainability and growth of your business. One reliable means to detect gaps is by asking your partners if there is anything they have been nurturing in their minds. With this, you get good feedback and bridge the communication gap.

Build Better Partnerships With a Partner Onboarding Platform

An onboarding process with far-reaching effect cannot be executed in isolation. You need to collaborate with a reliable partner onboarding platform due to a series of processes involved.

Partner onboarding process platforms are as many as ever before given the desire of business owners to switch from manual onboarding to modern methods, which are more efficient and effective.

One of the most reliable partner onboarding platforms is Kiflo, which helps businesses to scale through the onboarding hurdle through its partner relationship management (PRM) tool. The tool acclimatizes your partners with the organization’s culture and mission.

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Using a PRM that has onboarding functionalities is the easiest way to onboard your partners without hassles. Relevant PRM software contains state-of-the-art functionalities such as onboarding, rewards/incentives, partner management, and a lot more.

The Kiflo PRM software is worthwhile because it builds your partner onboarding best practices ecosystem through its self-serviced and automated training features. It is ideal for small and medium businesses (SMBs) to onboard with full coverage of affiliate, referral, and reseller partners. 

Despite its quality features, service charge for using Kiflo PRM software is relatively cheap with PRM pricing starting at $299/month. It is worth checking them out here.

See how Kiflo PRM helps SaaS SMBs to scale, manage and grow partner revenue.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does partner onboarding mean?

Partner onboarding is the process of training your partners with the right skills that will enable them to be successful at marketing and selling your product.

How do you onboard a partner?

Partners are onboarded through regular training, teaching, and assessment that will enable them to participate in selling your product or service.

What are the key challenges of partner onboarding?

The challenges often faced during partner onboarding include improper communication, partner turnover, lack of role clarity, and so on. All of these can be avoided by collaborating with a Partner Onboarding Platform like Kiflo.

What are the partner onboarding best practices for providing new partners with good onboarding experience?

The best practices for new partners to have a seamless onboarding experience include automating the onboarding process, creating room for feedback, and maintaining transparency, among others.

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