Critical Incentive KPI: Revenue Uplift Driven by Training 

Businesses today rely heavily on strong relationships with their channel partners, for consistent success. These relationships are to be nurtured well in order to optimize the returns. A mere onboarding program won’t bring you the best results from channel partners. 

Channel partners (resellers, dealers) that participate in training purchase (and sell) 23% more than dealers who do not participate in training.

And yet, only 35% of companies have effective coaching and development for channel salespeople.

At Fielo, we’ve seen several of our partners benefiting significantly from focusing on offering training opportunities to channel partners. A prime example of this is Pentair!

Pentair | Fielo success in action 

Powered by Fielo’s platform, Pentair has created a partner program that focuses on training opportunities and has seen a 23% jump in revenue through its channel partners.

The company’s partner Incentive Program is a rewards platform to provide their channel partners with the most innovative products available, intuitive marketing tools to build their customer base, remote and quick learning possibilities, stellar product support, and sales incentives for the channel partners to help their business grow.

Pentair’s channel incentive program has multiple incentives in place for channel partners – such as rebates, market development funds (or MDFs), and purchases. Over the last three years, Fielo has helped Pentair incentivize channel partner behaviors for: 

  1. Product purchases 
  2. Cross-selling and up-selling 
  3. eLearning 

Clearly, training channel partners is a considerably effective option to motivate partners to sell your product more. But how do you persuade partners to take the training in the first place? 

Incentivize them for training!

Training channel partners begets growth 

Channel partners, when fully trained, can be a vehicle for increasing revenue and growing market share without you having to hire or train additional employees and invest in office space, tools, and equipment to support those employees. The biggest example is Microsoft with 95% of its revenue flowing through its partners. Another is the e-commerce website Shopify, which made $673 million in revenue in 2017, while its partners made $800 million. 

Knowledge helps sell! 

Channel partners sell what they know. So, no matter how innovative yours or your competitors’ products or services are, if your partners’ sales reps are more familiar with your offerings, they’re more likely to sell for you than for your competitors. 

The challenge is getting your partner sales reps to take advantage of the training – especially because they have multiple vendor lines to sell – all of them vying for their time and effort at the same time. For effective channel partner training, businesses should focus on engaging partners and their sales reps with what’s important to them. 

  • Partners need holistic information on products and services, to share that knowledge with existing and potential customers.
  • Effective product/services training requires evaluating a current learning strategy to determine gaps and weaknesses, planning sessions to fulfill partner requirements, issuing certifications/rewards on training completion, and collecting feedback to drive improvements.

Intel rebranded its partner program and introduced new tools for training and collaboration. One of the key components of the new program is Intel Partner University, which delivers targeted content to individuals based on their level of training and their company’s focus. Once the partners complete their training, they can receive accolades and certificates (and add them to their LinkedIn profiles).

Evaluating channel partner performance 

Training needs to be accompanied by clear performance criteria. How many of these parameters are you factoring in while assessing partner performance?

Channel Partner Performance Criteria

Financial Customer Enablement
Revenue, revenue mix, profitability, breadth and depth of portfolio, average deal size, usage of MDF Adoption rate, retained revenue, up-sell/cross-sell revenue, renewal rate Completed training and certification, usage of partner program

Source: Deloitte Analytics


Channel partners are full-fledged companies, and just like any company, they value sales, marketing, support, learning, solutions engineering, etc. And so it is possible to influence channel partner performance not just by impacting direct sales, but by ensuring that they engage in pre-sale and post-sale behaviors too. 

With years of experience driving growth and ‘channel partner expertise’ for our customers, we know that a great channel incentive program can contribute up to 54% of companies’ total revenue. That’s what you miss when your channel partners aren’t fully trained.