I love channel learning. It just makes sense and is completely and beautifully tied to the bottom line. Pure unadulterated learning for the sake of money. Two of my favorite things – learning and money.
Let’s say you’re growing company and you have a sales team. You assess them, hire them, train them, let them ramp up and hope they can sell. If you are right, you have a producing salesperson and your company takes an incremental step forward.
If you are wrong, it takes six to nine months to find out and $100,000 for the effort of recruiting, hiring, salary and benefits – if you are lucky. Multiply that by 1000 or 2000 sales people and you have a lot riding on each hire.
If you are really growing, you inevitably outpace your ability to hire and develop and need a channel of partners.
What is a Channel?
A corporation, no matter how large, can’t be everywhere at the same time. You can’t penetrate into new markets easily and cost effectively without a sales channel.
An organization’s channel partners can include resellers, value-added resellers, dealers, franchisees, distributors, developers — any third-party that represents your brand on your behalf. The channel acts in your stead. Channel partners sell your product, service your product and add additional services to support your product with end customers. A channel strategy allows you to put local experts on the street with your products and services without hiring them all, everywhere, in every language.
A channel may be captured or uncaptured. Captured implies that they resell your products and services, exclusively. Uncaptured channel partners can sell products and services from multiple companies. Think life insurance for example. You can buy insurance directly from Prudential. Or you can go to Select Quote, which represents a variety of top life insurance companies, and they’ll recommend the best product for you from among those various providers. Either way, organizations need to educate channel partners on a continuous basis. Your sales channel players need relevant tools and information to help them sell your products, or they won’t.
What is Channel Learning?
Let’s say a major insurance provider like Prudential has a partner portal where their uncaptured agents like Select Quote can access Prudential training, product updates, best practices, collaboration tools. As new products are released, content is created and disseminated to ensure Select Quote agents are always up to speed and certified.
Imagine the other three insurance companies that Select Quote represents just send a packet of colorful paper to channel insurance agents every now and then. What product do you think Select Quote will sell when they are in the hot seat in front of a potential client? I was in sales for many years and I learned that you always sell what you know best. Competition is always stiff and selling is always tough.
Business Reasons for Channel Learning
Some common business reasons for channel LMS and elearning initiatives are to:
- Increase sales and revenue
- Decrease cost of direct employee hiring
- Decrease time to market with new products
- Penetrate into new geographic markets or new markets in general
- Increase the consistency of your message
- Increase the ability for partners to cross-sell and resell
- Increase “mindshare” of the non-captured channel
- Increase end customer satisfaction
- Reduce technical support calls
- Increase brand loyalty
- Increase channel quality and loyalty
Channel Learning Case Studies
- Learn how ADP improves client retention and fuels business growth using Saba Software for their virtual classroom, learning and content development projects
- Autodesk, via ExpertusONE, creates a compelling, community-based channel ecosystem to educate sales partners faster, easier and more effectively than ever
- Caspio: Case Study on Customer eLearning and Marketing published on Talented Learning.
- DocuSign testimonial video on how they use Cornerstone to train tens of thousands of clients of their solutions
- KOFAX – Learn how the software provider reduced training costs by 80% withMindflash used to support channel, customers and employees
- Hitachi Data Systems wanted to consolidate global learning needs under one learning organization to better serve their employees, partners, and customers worldwide withSaba
- Progress Software Uses Net Dimensions to Deliver L&D
- Vitera Healthcare Solutions – Delivering new client training for end-to-end clinical and financial technology solutions with eLogic Learning’s eSSential LMS
- Yammer uses Mindflash to sell courses for their partner certification
Examples of Channel Learning in the News
- Windstream (Nasdaq:WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services to businesses nationwide. “Windstream Introduces Enhanced Partner Strategy for Cloud Solutions at Channel Partners Conference,” appeared in the WSJ here http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20140226-912833.html.
- Mimecast is a single cloud platform for all your email and information management needs. “Mimecast certifies first 100 UK partners for cloud migration” appeared on Channel EMEA here http://www.channelemea.com/spip.php?article27513.
- Here is an article from the partner point of view. An Atlanta SEO company achieved Google’s AdWords Partner Certification as noted in IT Business Net: http://www.itbusinessnet.com/article/Atlanta-SEO-Services-Company-Now-Certified-as-Google-Partner-3090652.
LMS Vendors Specializing in Channel Learning Solutions
- Absorb LMS
- Accord LMS
- BlueVolt LMS
- Cornerstone OnDemand
- eLogic Learning
- Interactyx TOPYX Social LMS
- NetExam LMS (by Media Defined)
- Net Dimensions
- Saba Learning@Work
- SilkRoad GreenLight LMS
- WBT Systems TopClass
Want more insights? Watch our on-demand webinar:
There is tremendous diversity among the nearly 700 learning management systems available today. And when customer education is a top priority, it pays for organizations to choose an LMS designed specifically for that purpose.
What exactly are the business benefits of choosing a specialized learning management system (rather than an employee-oriented LMS) to support customer learning initiatives?
Join John Leh, Talented Learning lead analyst and CEO, and Terry Lydon, VP of Training Operations Projects at Litmos, as they explain the value of choosing an externally focused LMS. Specifically, they discuss: You’ll learn:
- How to quantify the benefits of customer learning
- Which factors set a customer LMS apart from employee-focused platforms
- What case studies reveal about the value of customer learning technology
- How to find the best LMS for your customers’ needs, and
- 5 areas of innovation unique to customer LMS solutions
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