Sales and marketing

Is Channel Sales Training Now A Four-Letter Word?

I truly believe channel sales is 80% nature, 20% nurture. So, how then do you fully train a channel salesperson, Channel Account Manager, or partner?

My husband loves to throw out quotes from Glengarry Glen Ross, all the time; “A-I-D-A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action,” or “I’d wish you good luck but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it,” and of course, “ALWAYS BE CLOSING. Always be closing.”

My husband is not a salesperson…just a guy with a penchant for bad movie quotes. I, on the other hand, have a hard time watching this movie. The training they provide is PAINFUL. They aren’t leaning on the team, they aren’t optimizing strengths, and they definitely aren’t ensuring the salesperson believes in what they’re selling.

Like I said, I believe everyone is born with the capability to be a good Channel salesperson; they just need some guidance on how to use the tools at their disposal.

Five Channel Sales Training Tips, Guidelines

The challenge for the sales/channel/partner team comes when trainers don’t take into account these 5 tips for an inclusive and collaborative training. Make sure your training follows these guidelines:

1. INCLUDE the team in your plan: this is their training. Ask them what they need! Of course you want to ensure they are able to sell your products and solutions, but they also need to get something out of it. If you have millennials on your team it’s even more important. Millennials have made it clear that training and career advancement is what motivates them in a job.

2. UTILIZE various training methods: Some people learn by reading, others prefer a teacher/classroom set up, and others want self-paced online classes. No matter the size of your team, it’s important that training follows several methodologies; maybe starting in a lecture and then moving to a video or webinar for more tactical components that are then accompanied by a guide or linked to a PDF. 

3. DIVERSIFY: Internal and 3rd Party Trainers: Certainly when it comes to your products and solutions, internal trainers are going to be better abled to relay the functionality, speeds, feeds, competitive information, etc. However, will they bring cutting edge sales strategies and tactics in the industry? Or are you better suited to bring in a 3rd party that does nothing but research and understand what the competition is doing? Can your internal trainers speak to pain points if they aren’t talking with customers and Partners on a regular basis? Would you want your teams only hearing one side of the story? Probably not. Give them resources and information to help them be more successful overall, not solely in addressing your solutions’ functions and benefits.

4. Make it INTERACTIVE: This is often overlooked, but a crucial component. Make trainings fun and engaging, a two-way conversation. Incorporate breakout sessions. Mix up the speakers and make it a game. If you do “death by PowerPoint” you’re going to have folks sleeping within the first hour or sitting on mobile devices the whole time.

5. ABT – Always be Training: You saw what I did there right?! Don’t think of training as a one and done. People can’t absorb enough in an hour webinar or a one day live event or even a mutli-day event. Ensure you follow up at regular internals and have a plan for people to refer back to training materials. Sales training is never complete, and that’s okay! Training drives sales, and the more opportunity you give your team to learn, the more successful they will be.

How have you shifted your Channel sales trainings for the new best practices? We’d love to hear from you and don’t hesitate to reach out with questions! [email protected]

Author: Heather Margolis

Heather K. Margolis is president and founder of Channel Maven Consulting. Read more Channel Maven Consulting blogs here.