7 Key Components of Channel Partner Onboarding

partner program

How are your channel partners working for you? For many SaaS companies, their partners help them generate channel sales revenue each year. Effective channel partner programs start with a well-organized partner onboarding program, effective partner sales training, and a successful partner program.

Yet, many other SaaS companies don’t fully understand the benefits of a structured partner onboarding process. The onboarding framework for a robust channel partner can positively influence your partners’ performance because of it:

  • Ensures compliance with internal policies and external protocols
  • Reduces transactional workloads on your teams
  • Boosts productivity and collaboration 

Onboarding a new partner requires at least one month. And if you have multiple channel partners, manually developing individual workflows and data pipelines for them can be complex, requiring up to three or more months to onboard them.

Regardless of the time you need, encouraging and supporting your new partners in generating more sales starts with an effective onboarding plan. Get started by creating an onboarding schedule that includes these seven key components.

Download Template | Channel Partner Onboarding Template

7 Key Components of Partner Onboarding

Give your partners the information and assurance they need to represent your brand and generate revenue. Start with these seven components.

1. Welcome Partners to Your Partner Program

First impressions don’t allow for do-overs. So, make a positive first impression by welcoming partners to your program with a welcome kit. This initial contact is essential to show your involvement in the process and proactive communication. 

In your channel partner welcome package, include a variety of materials that correspond to your solutions to give them a running start. These materials often comprise the following items:

  • Welcome letter
  • Table of contents
  • Kick-off call and onboarding schedule
  • Internal and partner onboarding checklist
  • Overview and benefits of your solutions
  • Partner program framework and, if applicable, perks by tier
  • Guidelines and features of your partner portal
  • Training and certification courses that partners must complete to sell or use your solutions
  • Overview of customer-facing materials and sales and marketing tools
  • FAQs
  • Information on how to reach channel managers, sales representatives, marketing representatives, back-office support staff, and finance

2. Create a Customized Portal Experience for New Partners

Add new partners to your partner management platform (PRM) software. Take them through your partner portal, show them its unique features, and offer guidance on where to begin their onboarding process.

Set up a follow-up meeting for at least fifteen minutes to answer questions. Once partners start using the portal on their own, address any challenges they might experience. Also, encourage new users to interact with your PRM software within a preset amount of time, say one week, to avoid prolonging the onboarding process.

3. Provide Actionable Training and Sales Enablement Content

Partners become easily overwhelmed with massive folders of content without clear guidance on how to use them. Help them create multi-layered training workflows. Your library for onboarding must contain:

  • B2B audience personas
  • Product demos and sales battle cards
  • Product case studies
  • Content templates (emails, blog posts, social posts, contracts, and video suggestions)
  • Provide quizzes for partners to complete after you present the top learning objectives.

This extra step helps them retain the newly learned lessons. 

4. Set Objectives and Benchmarks With a Firm Timeline

Set milestones and associated dates as part of your partner’s business plan. After you agree on the timeline, you and your partner can plan the actions each of you needs to work on, so you can meet the set objectives.

Joint business planning is a leading key performance indicator (KPI) of channel partnership performance. Other KPIs include:

  • Taking part in sales and marketing or technology training
  • Participating in meetings, webinars, or the partner portal
  • Implementing campaigns
  • Tracking the number of deals and transactions

Conduct regular check-ins with your partner so you can collaborate on any necessary adjustments as you approach your milestones and goals.

5. Lead Transfers and Joint Sales Opportunities

Hand-off quality opportunities to show higher investment in your partners’ success. Ultimately, you want them to sell on their own most of the time. But first, they’ll require assistance in pitching your solution and racking up a few victories.

Speed up the onboarding process and collaborate on a deal or two so your partners can practice selling skills under your supervision. This way, partners learn how to manage real-world circumstances.

6. Establish Channel Performance Metrics to Measure and Track Success

To maintain transparency, your partners must know your channel program’s evaluation strategy for measuring success. Agree on a partner score approach to objectively assess the strengths and weaknesses of your channel program. 

Set the following channel performance metrics to track your channel sales’ success and pinpoint areas of improvement:

  • Pipeline activity metrics
  • Enablement engagement metrics
  • Active, pending, and inactive partner metrics
  • Analyze sales data to improve performance
  • Understand end-client engagement with your channel partners

7. Reward Partner Onboarding Accomplishments

Offer additional rewards to recognize your partners’ accomplishments if you require them to participate in specialized training. These rewards can include gift cards, event invitations, or merchandise. 

Also, reward partners who actively engage with your content in the partner portal. This motivation encourages them to take part in training and equips them with the right resources to sell better. For example, you might reward partners for the following achievements:

  • Finishing the onboarding process in a scheduled manner
  • Achieving a particular score in your training courses
  • Completing all training sessions

Download Template | Channel Partner Onboarding Template

Maximize Engagement and Productivity with a Comprehensive Partner Onboarding Framework

Create a strong onboarding program that establishes a reliable and successful channel partnership built on efficiency, trust, and shared goals. Your relationship with your channel partners will be more beneficial if you go above and beyond to educate them on all your requirements.

Streamline and simplify your channel partner onboarding process with Zomentum PartnerAlign. This next-generation partner relationship management solution (PRM+) enables you to: 

  • Guide your partners on how to sell your products
  • Offer training and sales enablement content
  • Support partners actively and provide shadow assistance on deals
  • Automate onboarding for swift time-to-value

When you empower your channel partners with this partner portal, you also give them free access to Zomentum Grow. This sales acceleration application consolidates numerous tools and automates workflows. By using Zomentum Grow, they’ll have all they need to sell and close more deals, all in one place.

Adopt a partner-first channel strategy. Apply to join PartnerAlign

7 Key Components of Channel Partner Onboarding