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Tech vendors investing big in partner learning and readiness programs

Tech vendors investing big in partner learning and readiness programs

With the increasing complexity of technology and the growing need for specialized expertise, tech vendors are investing heavily in partner learning and readiness programs. These programs aim to create a skilled and trained partner ecosystem that can drive successful adoption and long-term success of technology investments. Central to this strategy is a Channel Learning and Readiness (CLR) platform. Learn about the key functions and players in CLR in this blog post.


With growing IT complexity and resource and skills shortages, vendors and customers are relying more on partners with specialized expertise to drive successful adoption and long-term success of technology investments. In 2023, partners were responsible for delivering 73.1% of total IT business, with that percentage continuing to grow faster than direct business. Given these trends, it is no surprise that vendors are boosting investments in partner learning and readiness initiatives to create large pools of trained partner professionals to both evangelize and service technologies.  

Notably, Google Cloud plans to more than double its current spending to better support its partner ecosystem over the next few years, including more investment in co-innovation resources and training and enablement for partners. Similarly, Microsoft shifted its partner program to a points-based system where partners are rewarded for driving successful customer outcomes. A large focus of this strategy is on enabling partners with training and advanced specializations and certifications. Another tech giant, AWS recently announced at re:Invent 2023 that there are now over 100 AWS specializations available to partners and a number of new and enhanced learning and enablement resources to drive partner success.  

It is not just the hyperscalers; leading SaaS vendors are also investing big in these areas. In a previously published report where Canalys partnered with Partnership Leaderships and Hubspot, the top 50 SaaS platforms were reviewed. Major programmatic changes common across this group were in onboarding, education, training, ongoing development, certifications, specialties and competencies. World-class learning and readiness platforms include: 

  • Salesforce’s Trailhead has long been a leader in democratizing learning and offering extensive training paths and certifications. It is known for being interactive, incorporating gamification and fostering one of the strongest ecosystems in the world. 
  • ServiceNow’s extensive RiseUp platform also offers customized learning paths and certifications, as well as ongoing learning and development. ServiceNow announced in May that RiseUp even offers partner courses, like Microsoft, to up-level overall partner education and ecosystem collaboration. 
  • Hubspot Academy has a wide range of easily consumed educational content, courses, certifications and other engaging training modules. Hubspot is a clear leader when it comes to making digestible training content, accessible learning and readiness resources, and intuitive and easy-to-use user experiences that drive adoption. 

As vendors build more robust learning, readiness and certification initiatives, it is important to assess the infrastructure needed to scale. Central to these efforts is the deployment of a Channel Learning and Readiness (CLR) platform. CLR platforms play a pivotal role in equipping partners with the necessary skills and knowledge to improve partner readiness, and therefore customer success. When vendors invest in a comprehensive enablement strategy and an accessible and future-ready CLR platform, they create a more robust and skilled partner ecosystem that in turn leads to healthier customers and healthier business. 

What are Channel Learning and Readiness platforms? 

CLR platforms support partner development through the administration, tracking and delivery of educational training courses and enablement resources, including learning management systems, accreditation and certification management, content management systems, partner portals, communities, and sales enablement. These platforms offer a user-friendly hub for managing and consuming learning content, training courses, accreditations and certifications, peer-based learning communities, digital support, sales enablement, tracking and more. These tools are instrumental in ensuring that partners are well-equipped with the knowledge and skills required to effectively market, sell, support and service the vendor products.  

Key features of CLR platforms include: 

  • Customizable training and certification programs: tailored courses, training modules and personalized learning tracks and certifications for various roles, product lines, and market segments. 
  • Content management: central repository for training materials and content, accessible from anywhere. 
  • Interactive learning tools: engaging multimedia, simulation-based learning, gamification tools and more features to enhance understanding and cater to different learning styles.  
  • Tracking and reporting: monitoring and measuring partner progress and outcomes.  
  • Integration capabilities: APIs and integration to other business systems, like PRM, CRM and more. 

For vendors, CLR platforms enhance partner performance and business efficacy by providing comprehensive training at scale. Partners benefit from these platforms by accessing the resources, certifications, training tracks and skill development necessary to stay competitive, gain credibility with customers, and stand out in a crowded market. 

Overall, these are important tools for maintaining an informed, agile and top-tier partner network capable of delivering end-customer experiences that improve net retention and create a competitive advantage in the market.  

The Channel Learning and Readiness Landscape  

According to Canalys research, the broader ecosystem software industry currently comprises 233 active companies, generating US$5.3 billion in revenue. This figure is projected to jump more than double, to US$11.8 billion by 2028 as more companies emphasize data-driven ecosystem strategies. 

In 2023, 47 players in the CLR segment delivered US$740 million in revenue, which is expected to grow to US$1.5 billion by 2028. No one-size-fits-all learning and readiness platform exists. Each platform has its own unique strengths and focus areas and best fits specific go-to-market strategies. 

Key CLR players:  

  • 360Learning (New York, USA): 360Learning is a collaborative learning platform specializing in onboarding and enabling partners. 
  • Adobe Learning Manager (California, USA): Adobe Learning Manager (formerly Captivate Prime) helps vendors design, deliver, personalize and measure learning and engagement programs at scale. 
  • Absorb (Calgary, Canada): Absorb is known for its easy-to-use LMS that delivers an engaging learning experience and offers effective administrative features. 
  • Bigtincan (Massachusetts, USA): Bigtincan is known for its sales enablement solutions, including content management, training, coaching and buyer interaction, with a focus on enhancing sales and service teams’ performance. 
  • BlueVolt (Oregon, USA): BlueVolt is a channel learning and readiness platform, offering training solutions that drive growth and knowledge. BlueVolt focuses on solutions for manufacturers, distributors, buying groups, co-ops, associations and trade pros. 
  • Channel Rocket (Colorado, USA): Channel Rocket offers a suite of enablement tools with a focus on delivering the right content at the point of sale via their mobile app. Channel Rocket connects customers with the vendors, products, content, services and resources they need to successfully sell.  
  • ChannelPro (Dubai, United Arab Emirates): Reach by ChannelPro helps vendors educate, motivate and communicate with indirect sales teams to deliver product training, increase mindshare and knowledge, reduce time-to-market and boost sales performance.  
  • Outbound Channel360 (UK): Outbound’s platforms, Channel360, Channel XP and the Channel App provide a 360 view of the channel and provide next-generation channel engagement and learning capabilities.  
  • Cornerstone (California, USA): Cornerstone OnDemand specializes in training and development tools for enhancing productivity languages. 
  • Crowd Wisdom (Florida, USA): Crowd Wisdom LMS by Community Brands provides learning management and training solutions built for channel and reseller partners, associations, nonprofits, education systems and more.  
  • CSG (Colorado, USA): CSG’s wholesale and partner management solution streamlines partner onboarding and enablement for telcos, techcos, and more. 
  • Elio (Athens, Greece): ElioPlus PRM offers automated and personalized onboarding and learning experiences. 
  • ExpertusONE (California, USA): ExpertusONE is a modern learning management technology, known for its powerful and easy-to-use tools and integrations. 
  • Fision (Minnesota, USA): Fision is a digital asset management solution known for its content management, content distribution, training and sales enablement capabilities.  
  • FusionGrove (London, UK): FusionGrove specializes in sales enablement, helping vendors and partners sell more. 
  • Skillsoft (New Hampshire, USA): Skillsoft features an extensive course library, professional training and development solutions, and a wide range of learning options. 
  • Growth Engineering (London, UK): Growth Engineering LMS is designed to engage, improve learning outcomes and change behavior through gamification, social learning, customization, and more. 
  • Hifive (formerly CoSell) (California, USA): Hifive is a relationship-led enablement tool that cultivates partnerships with intuitive introductions. 
  • Highspot (Washington, USA): Highspot is a unified sales and partner enablement platform that brings together native content and guidance, training and coaching, engagement intelligence and analytics. 
  • IBM (New York, USA): IBM Partner Engagement Manager drives efficient and automated onboarding, enablement and management of partners, suppliers and customers.   
  • ImprovedApps (UK): ImprovedApps offers a centralized, searchable knowledge base within Salesforce to boost sales enablement and deliver access to the right information and content.  
  • KickPost (Arizona, USA): KickPost is a community that brings together vendors, resellers and sales representatives to sell more. Its mission is to create a new way to collaborate better.  
  • (Ontario, Canada): Klyck enables teams by giving them the ability to organize, find and share information, content, and knowledge. 
  • LatitudeLearning (Michigan, USA): LatitudeLearning is a skills-based, customizable LMS for managing complex training programs, including partner training and enablement. 
  • LeadMethod (Florida, USA): LeadMethod from Revalize is a channel partner engagement and sales enablement platform for industrial suppliers and distributors. 
  • Leadsmart Technologies (California, USA): Leadsmart Channel Cloud is an AI-enabled CRM, customer intelligence and sales enablement platform built for manufacturers, sales agents, distributors and channel partners.  
  • Mediafly (Illinois, USA): Mediafly is a modular platform for revenue enablement solutions, featuring content management, buyer and partner engagement, account and revenue intelligence, sales readiness, and value selling solutions. 
  • Membrain (Stockholm, Sweden): Membrain is a sales enablement CRM that enables sellers with tools and expertise to reach targets. 
  • Mindtickle (California, USA): Mindtickle is a sales readiness platform that features strong partner enablement functionality. 
  • MobileForce Software (California, USA): MobileForce is an integrated, intelligent RevOps-as-a-service platform enabling companies to sell to and serve customers more effectively.  
  • NetExam Partner & Customer Training  (Texas, USA): NetExam is a channel partner LMS designed for global sales channels. NetExam is focused on enabling and educating partners, customers, association members and agents. 
  • PartnerAmp (Wisconsin, USA): PartnerAmp is a partner LMS and PRM technology and consulting company focused on making partner training and learning impactful. 
  • PartnerHood by SalesHood (California, USA): PartnerHood by SalesHood is a sales enablement platform for partners that reduces onboarding time, improves alignment and boosts revenue with partner learning paths and other engagement tools.   
  • Partner Insight (California, USA): Partner Insight is an AI-powered partner management platform that aims to grow partner-led revenue with engagement hubs, personalized workflows, collaboration tools and an AI copilot. 
  • PartnerOn (Massachusetts, USA): PartnerOn from ContentMX offers partners an easy way to stream marketing with the goal of growing sales. It is available from vendors like Microsoft, HPE, Citrix, CabonBlack, DocuSign, Red Hat, IBM, Google, Intel, Lenovo and many others. 
  • Q2E (California, USA): Q2E provides a SaaS solution for partner onboarding and enablement via custom-tailored journeys. 
  • (UK): Recur activates channel sales, grows partner-led revenue, empowers partners, drives efficiency through process automation, improves learning and readiness, and activates ecosystems through its easy-to-use SaaS offerings. 
  • Salesforce (California, USA): Salesforce Trailhead provides hands-on learning for digital skills, soft skills and Salesforce knowledge, and connects users to the global Salesforce community. 
  • Seismic (California, USA): Seismic Enablement Cloud is a unified enablement platform that equips teams with the skills, content, engagement, tools and insights to grow.  
  • Skilljar (Washington, USA): Skilljar is a customer education software providing the tools necessary to onboard, engage and retain customers and partners at scale. 
  • Streamz (Singapore): Streamz is an AI-powered mobile platform that trains, empowers, enables and equips teams with continuous learning.  
  • TalentLMS: TalentLMS is an easy-to-use LMS that makes designing, managing and delivering partner training, certifications, and education easy. 
  • (New Mexico, USA): Teckedin is an open platform and knowledge base that curates, shares and categorizes business technology information daily. 
  • TIDWIT (Virginia, USA): TIDWIT is an AI-powered ecosystem enablement platform that scales collaboration, distribution and information exchange across organizations, helping to better manage the evolving needs of customers and partners.   
  • Vartopia (Wyoming, USA): Vartopia is focused on the channel and provides a comprehensive channel technology stack to streamline processes, increase visibility, empower partners and grow the business. 
  • Whistle (Missouri, USA): Whistle is a micro-learning platform built for construction, manufacturing, health care and financial services industries that helps organizations change behavior via better engagement and training.  

Future of Channel Learning and Readiness platforms

CLR platforms are poised for significant adoption as they become smarter and hyper-personalized to accommodate a wide range of partner types, roles and learning styles. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will help automate and customize the learning and training experiences based on role, industry, niche, proficiency and even individual learning styles. ML will also help vendors predict the training needs of partners and adapt the content accordingly.  

These advancements will lead to more effective, efficient and holistic learning, and a better-armed partner force. Additionally, the technology ecosystem market is growing quickly. Expect new players to enter this space, augment traditional LMS systems and add more functionality to support more partner types, regions, and ecosystem strategies. 


CLR platforms are becoming an increasingly important pillar of vendors’ overall partner and ecosystem strategies. High-quality learning and enablement resources not only attract and retain the best partners but also improve partners' abilities to deliver top-tier services to end customers. This, in turn, establishes a foundation for mutual success in the market and creates a stronger partner base to actively advocate and service the vendors’ technology.  

Ultimately, the vendors who prioritize and invest in the best CLR strategies, tools, programs and content will attract the best partners and lead the market. 

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