Make Sure Channel Partner Training Aligns With Business KPIs

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Nikki Engel ·

Apr 20, 2021

To get a clear picture of the return on investment (ROI) for your channel partner training program, it helps to make sure that its objectives are closely aligned with business-level KPIs. 

Let’s take, for example, the training of value-added resellers (VARs). Business unit (BU) leaders typically track how well that function is doing by tracking performance based on customer satisfaction (CSAT), churn, net promoter score (NPS), etc.

You need to keep this in mind when creating online training for these channel partners. By doing so, you’ll be able to measure the value of that initiative better over the long haul if learning objectives are cultivated with those KPIs, front and center.

Naturally, this also influences the content of your courses. If you’re educating your partners with the right topics, it will have a direct impact on how satisfied customers are with your product, whether they stay with you and how they talk about you to others. 

Let's take a look at some of the typical customer-facing KPIs and how they align with the objectives of your learning program.

KPI: Overall Satisfaction and NPS

Probably the most important KPI — of all — is how satisfied your customer is with the service or product, and if they would recommend it. This is captured as the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Because of this, providing courses that drive partner performance in this area is critical.

For example, material that teaches your partners how to communicate with your customers will help VARs talk about your product in an educated way. Depending on their experience, you may want to consider offering basic-level training in how to communicate effectively.

Some examples of potential learning objectives for these types of courses:

    • Able to understand and identify what good communication is and how it benefits dialogue with customers.
    • Able to apply best practices when engaged in an online chat.
    • Able to correctly check for a satisfactory resolution to a customer question.

Objectives, like these, can be indicators of the value of your training program. Positive results mean the course is effective. And, if the outcomes move in sync with your business KPIs, it translates into solid alignment between your course and business goals.

KPI: Churn

Your churn rate is based on the number of customers that decide not to continue doing business with you. Although predicting a customer base’s churn is not an exact science, a proactive partner’s learning program can help lower your churn by enabling representatives to increase customer retention.

For instance, when partners are more informed about how to deal with confused customers, they're less likely to associate the situation as your company's fault. 

Some potential learning objectives may look like the following:

    • Know how to handle frequently asked customer questions.
    • Know how to identify unused features in the product and how to recommend them.
    • Know how to refer customers to the appropriate documentation or learning modules when there’s supporting material.

KPI: Upsells, Cross-Sells and LTV

Upselling and cross-selling are important business drivers that increase customer lifetime value (LTV). A well-rounded, partner-focused learning program should teach your users how they can increase LTV.

Some of this has to do with effective communication, but the lion’s share of it has to do with teaching advanced sales techniques. A robust learning program should include topics, such as: Easy tools for selling; the fundamentals of the selling process; and, how to look for potential sales leads.

Some learning objectives may include:

    • Can apply basic tools and fundamentals for sales success.
    • Can apply basic sales communication skills.
    • Can identify and foster potential sales leads.

Measure What Matters

Keep in mind, one thing. While high course completion rates may be a nice vanity metric, these don’t prove an ROI for your learning program. The key is to make sure that you get totally aligned with your BU leaders in order to know what impacts the business. 

By understanding the areas that drive results, you can better sync your learning program’s objectives, whether it’s NPS, churn, LTV or a host of others. Then, you can effectively design your courses and learning goals with those KPIs in mind.

See how learning practitioners and business leaders can work together to drive growth by adopting our three-step framework, Learning Ops.


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About the Author
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Nikki Engel

Nikki Engel leads Northpass’ product marketing and sales enablement efforts. She’s passionate about helping customers see the true value of every Northpass feature. When Nikki isn’t spearheading product launches, she can be found chasing after her two adorable kids (seriously, ask her to show you some pictures) or renovating her new fixer-upper; watch out HGTV, here she comes.

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