October 26, 2021

7 Reasons Why Companies Need a Partner Onboarding Program

First impressions matter. Learn why every company needs a partner onboarding program and ensure your partners are ready to sell your product.


What is a Partner Onboarding Program?

A partner onboarding program is a combination of activities that involves signing new partnering members into your company. It is a series of processes targeted towards training and retraining your partners, including the resellers, referrals, and affiliate marketers, with the right skills that enable them to be successful at marketing and selling your products.

A well-organized partner onboarding program is crucial to any successful partnership because it offers you an opportunity to expressly state the dos and don’ts to your new partners. It is imperative to acquaint your partners with your business and brand to achieve mutually beneficial results.

A new channel partner’s life cycle begins with excitement. Your company is prepared to expand its reach, while your partner anticipates the potential for increased sales as a result of collaborating with you.

However, the initial happiness may only take a relationship so far. Complications and miscommunications can get in the way of your business if you don’t do a good job onboarding your partners.

A well-thought-out partner onboarding speeds the process, makes data collection easier and helps your company align with its agencies, partners, and service providers. More significantly, it instills in your partner a sense of trust and teamwork, encouraging them to get working for mutual success.

Partner Onboarding Pipeline
Get your partners off to a good start by creating an optimal onboarding process in Kiflo.

An effective onboarding program includes a VIP access program, which is usually an elaborate process because partners need to be trained and re-trained for more productive performance. VIP access programs typically include educating your partners, maintaining strong ties, and conducting performance reviews, among other things.

7 Reasons to Have a Partner Onboarding Program

It is important for you to put well-designed partner onboarding training in place before and after building a partner relationship program. Below are the top seven reasons why business owners should have partner onboarding programs:

1. Encouraging Productivity in New Channel Partners

New partners coming on board know little or nothing about your business. The onboarding process gives you the chance to define fundamental expectations, address ambiguities, and respond to important inquiries before they become safety concerns or productivity killers.

The onboarding process encompasses everything from ensuring that the partners have access to the resources and equipment they require, to establishing the foundation for a long-term relationship with management and leadership.

As partners go through the partner onboarding training, they quickly catch up with those who have been with the organization for a long time. This allows them to achieve higher levels of productivity faster than they could if they had to figure it out themselves.

New partners conventionally take 8 to 12 months to reach their full productivity levels if they are not properly onboarded. CSO insights revealed that 63.5% of companies that appropriately executed partner onboarding experienced revenue boost.  

Partner onboarding training often runs anything from six months to a year because partners decide whether or not to stay with a company within the first six months of engagement.

Partners feel more at home in the company if they receive continuous training and involvement during this time. They must demonstrate that they made the proper selection after the crucial six-month period. After this period, onboarding moves from a training strategy to one that encourages continuous development.

2. Nurturing Strong Relationships and Teamwork

A lasting relationship cannot be achieved unless you acquaint your new partners with the right organizational values at the initial stage. This often leads to the birth of a productive team.

During the onboarding process, you can adopt a variety of real steps to build strong, long-lasting relationships with your partners. Effective onboarding employs the human element to connect both new and existing partners on an emotional and personal level.

This is an important tool to grow your partnerships, pass on institutional knowledge, and sow the seeds for unending future collaboration. Partners will be inspired to promote your company’s products rather than look for a different partnership offer with another company.

3. Building an Amiable Environment for New Partners

One of the first official encounters a new partner has with your company is during the onboarding process. This is also the period during which inquiries and difficulties are likely to arise.

If the process itself is hassling, it can be difficult to overcome the partner's concerns. However, if everything goes well, the seller will have more faith in your partnership.

Providing an amiable environment is one of the easiest means of familiarizing your partners with all the resources they require to get started. Begin your onboarding process by familiarizing your partners with every detail.

Partners are more likely to deliver what your company expects of them, as well as the metrics to be met, when the environment is amiable.

4.  Making Your Brand Easily Stand Out

You might not be your partner’s sole client, which means you’ll be fighting for attention. The onboarding process is a great way to stand out from the crowd and keep your partners’ attention.

When a new partner joins your company, your sales process doesn’t end there. Onboarding is a great way to show intending partners what your company has to offer.

Provide partners with specialized training sessions and materials that will enable your business to thrive. The sessions should be timely, bite-size chunks of content that partners can absorb whenever they choose.

Use your partner onboarding training as an opportunity to educate partners about your company’s cultures and values, in addition to teaching them about your goods and services. Give your partners the resources, training, and messages they need to accurately promote your brand to larger audiences.

5. Calming Your Partners' Anxieties

It’s something we’ve all gone through, both as a vendor and a partner. Eliminating your new partners’ anxieties lies in equipping them with the right skills and knowledge.

Partners that have gone through good partner onboarding training feel more confident and comfortable. It assists them in getting to know one another and learning good communication techniques.

Partners learn how their values can be used to advance your business goals during onboarding. It makes it easier to form relationships, which leads to friendships—a vital part of a pleasant work environment.

You should strategize your VIP access program from the outset of your onboarding process. Orientation days provide new partners their first impressions of the organization and a sense of what to expect while working there. These days must be festive, friendly, and educational.

6. Reaching Success Together

The more a partner knows your company’s programs and services, the better they can serve you and help you achieve meaningful business objectives. That’s why a successful partner program relies on high-quality and effective partner onboarding training.

However, quality onboarding is not a one-way relationship. Vendors should share leads and helpful metrics that will drive business to your partners.

By including training in your onboarding process, you can reduce the time it takes for suppliers to become familiar with your platform, which can help shorten the sales cycle during those crucial early transactions. Your partners will see faster returns if they feel more confident and knowledgeable about your products from the start.

Partners will be more eager to continue working with your company if they believe you have invested in their training and success. Partner churn is expensive, but an effective onboarding process can heighten loyalty and retention. 

When partners see early success, they feel at ease dealing with your brand and will be confident in their ability to sell your products.

7. Elevating Partners' Happiness

A straightforward and clear onboarding program naturally lightens your partners and makes them happy. This is because they find it easy to understand, internalize your goals and visions, and quickly see the value they will get from the partnership.

Interestingly, this provides a template for long-term partnership success. Making your process as easy, stress-free, and helpful to your partners as possible is the key to not only building a solid working relationship but also improving that relationship as it grows over time.

Once you have completed the major phases of the onboarding process, don’t lose track of your partners. Regular training and retraining help you build on the foundation you've built in onboarding.

Partner Onboarding Program

Why Should You Invest in Partner Onboarding?

Partner onboarding training is the foundation of any would-be successful channel partnership. This is because the performance of any partner is anchored on the quality of training being received.

kiflo Partner Onboarding

There is no way you can achieve optimal results without training, molding, and retraining your partners in line with the goal of your business.

More importantly, partner onboarding gives you insight into identifying quality partners that need to be retained. Retention is such a powerful metric in business because of the ridiculously high cost of turnover.

Retained partners represent a great return on many investments you make. And onboarding is a solid, yet often overlooked aspect of those investments.

Other reasons why you should consider investing in partner onboarding include, but not limited to, the following:

  • Increased revenue: Onboarding the right partner naturally boosts your revenue base because it gives your product wider coverage.

  • Reduced strain of one-on-one assistance: When partners are sufficiently equipped with the right information on your goods and services, they can act as an extension to your support team, reducing the need for any additional investment.

  • Quicker activation: The new changes or improvements can be easily communicated to a wider audience when your partners are well-onboarded.

  • Similar results: There is no better way to ensure all your partners deliver according to expectations than integrating a similar training template to your onboarding program.

In general, executing an onboarding program requires not only your time but also deploying quality tools that will actualize your target.

As much as this is important, equally important is signing agreements with regard to what occurs next with your partners—which many business owners forget. Don’t undermine the important task of training and supporting your partners since they can have a significant impact on your business.

Thus, you should endeavor to adopt the best technology in achieving the goal. Using a reliable Partner Relationship Management (PRM) platform is the best way to onboard your partners without any hitch.

Any relevant PRM software often contains state-of-the-art functionalities such as onboarding, incentive programs, partner management, and a lot more.

The Kiflo PRM software offers partner onboarding best practices through its self-service and automated training features. It is equally ideal for small and medium businesses (SMBs) to onboard with full coverage of affiliate, referral, and reseller partners.

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

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