Partnerships (or channels) allow companies to join forces and combine their expertise, resources and capabilities to expand into new markets, develop new products or services, or tackle larger projects that require collaboration.

To ensure maximum success of partnerships, companies invest in partner enablement programs that equip partners with the knowledge, tools, and skills necessary to effectively sell and support a company’s products or services. This allows companies to enhance partner productivity and efficiency, improve sales performance, increase time-to-market and deliver higher customer satisfaction.

What Is Partner Enablement?

Partner enablement is the process of equipping your partners with the training, tools, resources and knowledge they need to successfully meet the goals of your collaboration with them.

A partner enablement program typically includes:

  • Training and education on the company’s products or services and how to demonstrate them, industry trends, market positioning/objection handling, sales techniques, how to run a project and any specific tools or technologies they need to be proficient in. Training can be delivered through in-person workshops, webinars, eLearning and/or FAQs.
  • Technical support and resources including technical training, access to developer resources, application programming interfaces (APIs), documentation and dedicated technical support channels to address partner-specific needs for implementers.
  • Enablement tools like specialized partner portals, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, sales enablement tools and platforms, learning management systems (LMSs) or collaboration tools to facilitate partner onboarding, deal registration, lead tracking, training tracking, performance analytics and communication.

Partner enablement, depending on the type of relationship, may also include sales enablement, marketing support and training and certification programs.

Planning a Partner Enablement Framework

Before you begin designing or building a partner enablement program, spend the time to understand the framework for a successful program.

Understand the Partners

To build an effective partner enablement framework, you first need to get to know your partners and how they are working with your organization. Partners can fit into a variety of types and the enablement program they require will depend on the type of partners you are enabling.

You may have a variety of partner types in your organization and a single partner may partner with you in more than one type of partnership. Once you understand the types of partner(s) and the legal and financial terms of the partnerships at your organization, it is time to think about your partner enablement strategy and tactics.

Identify Personas

Your enablement program may need to cater to various roles or personas within the partner organization. For instance, if your partner is responsible for sales in a particular region, you may have separate training streams for the sales team and the support team. Furthermore, different personas may require different tools and resources.

Define Mandatory Learning and Certification

Ensuring that your partners have the right skills and knowledge to partner with you is a critical piece of ensuring a successful partnership. Clearly identify and define any learning paths and include mandatory learnings and certifications for each persona. Be sure to include specific expectations around learning and certification into your partner agreements and track metrics to determine if they are following through with required learning.

Build SMART Partner Enablement Goals

Your enablement goals will define the learning and certification expectations with timelines, and these should be regularly reviewed to ensure progress. Examples of partnership enablement goals might be “Have x employees complete their full training path by y” or “Have x employees certified on product positioning by z.”

Elements of a Partner Enablement Program


The required learning for partner onboarding should be included in the broader learning path for each persona. Start partner onboarding with an introduction of your company, brand and teams. Include information like your company history, vision, mission and values, an overview of your portfolio of products and goals. Also outline persona-specific training paths, where partners can find resources, what kind of training they can expect and when they should have it completed by, as well as available support.

Technical Enablement

Give in-depth training to partners so they know the ins and outs of your products, services or solutions. These can be delivered through instructor-led training, workshops, virtual sessions, online learning and eLearning. Don’t forget to give access to technical documentation, common product support questions and release notes and training for new product features or bug fixes.

Sales and Marketing Training

If you have a sales-based partner program, think about providing positioning statements, competitive information, how to identify pain points, how to respond to sales objections and how to demonstrate the product. Common customer product configurations can also be very helpful.

Tools for a Partner Enablement Program

One of the most important tools for a partner enablement program is a learning portal or LMS to deliver and track online courses and store other training content. Another less obvious tool is course authoring software which allows companies to quickly create and update training content.

Finally, partner enablement is an ongoing process and its important to regularly evaluate your program to ensure that it is meeting the goals of the partnership. Surveys and other feedback tools are a great way to measure progress toward goals and key performance indicators (KPIs), solicit feedback and identify areas of improvement.

Invest in Partner Enablement

Building a clear, up-to-date and role-specific partner enablement program increases the success of partnerships. The key is to build the right content (product training, sales and marketing training), build user-specific content that equips them with the knowledge they need, provide tools to deliver and track training and keep training updated so partners are delivering the most accurate information that reflects your company’s values and expertise.