Developing a leading-edge partner onboarding program at Keap
What do you get when an implementor, a strategist, and an onboarding coach get together?
At Keap, you get a next-level partner education and onboarding program to help businesses succeed. Which is exactly what Mychal Edelman, Brian Anciaux, and Phillip Michieli set out to improve in June, 2020.
Founded in 2001, Keap is a combined CRM, marketing automation, e-commerce, payments, and analytics platform that helps small businesses worldwide solve their most significant growth challenges. To reach these small businesses, Keap leans on its partner program to get partners onboarded, educated, and certified to sell the company’s application products.
Since selling partners are critical to Keap’s business success, the company wanted to develop a more sophisticated online education experience built around a community – something they just weren’t getting through their previous legacy learning management system (LMS) provider.
Since partnering with Thinkific Plus in June 2020, Keap has reduced time spent on partner onboarding by 30%.
48 hoursUP AND RUNNING
“Keap’s mission is to serve millions of businesses by helping them grow and succeed. In order to do that, we have to expand outside of our employee base. The best way for us to extend our tentacles into the small business community is to work with partners. For us, a partner not only uses the software for their own business, which is a requirement of being a partner of ours, but they also are an advocate for Keap in their small business communities.”Mychal Edelman, Senior Technical Account Manager, Keap
From in-person to online learning – the evolution of Keap’s partner education program
HOW IT BEGAN
Keap’s online partner education and training program has evolved over the past several years. What started as in-person partner training and certification has now fully moved to on-demand online education.
“We used to bring partners into our facility for a three-day intensive certification class. We have partners all over the country, so as you can imagine, the amount of time and money it would take for them to come in wasn’t great,” said Brian Anciaux.
Keap later shifted to online live classes to reach more partners, yet they still came across education barriers from a timing perspective. The company ultimately transitioned to an on-demand online training experience where their partners could navigate the course at their own pace.
Before joining forces with Thinkific Plus, the Keap team adopted Cornerstone, a traditional learning management system that quickly proved it wasn’t going to meet the company’s progressive learning needs. “We realized it wasn’t working for us the minute we saw the content go live.” says Phillip Michieli, Curriculum Developer at Keap, “the interface wasn’t congruent with what modern users are accustomed to seeing.”
The platform was overly complicated and required extensive internal knowledge, the structure was incohesive and lacked customization, and unfortunately, made a negative first impression of the Keap brand with their brand new partners.
“Our first impression was our worst impression because the training was so bad. It didn’t look good, the content was bad, it was an absolute miracle that we even had partners who wanted to stay on,” explains Edelman.
In June 2020, Keap made the switch from Cornerstone to Thinkific Plus in order to create an advanced, engaging, fully branded learning experience that they were proud to showcase to their partners.
“Since using Thinkific Plus, we’ve seen a huge improvement in our partner education program. Our partners are now able to get through the process, get certified, and come out with the skills that they need to sell much quicker.”
Advancing the partner education experience with Thinkific Plus
THINKIFIC PLUS AS THE SOLUTION
With Thinkific Plus, the team had an easy-to-implement platform that allowed them to be creative in their online education content development. In fact, it was so easy to adopt, the team made the transition to Thinkific Plus within 48 hours.
“Being able to produce content in a significant number of ways and just the overall ease of use was something that was very pleasant when switching over,” said Michieli.
After migrating their content over, the Keap team was ready to create an online partner onboarding program that replicated the community engagement capabilities once provided by in-person learning.
“One of the huge aspects we were missing in our previous platform was recreating a community element similar to the in-person training. We’d wanted them to get to know other Keap partners and understand what the Keap community has built over the last ten years,” said Edelman.
Saving time and deepening partner product knowledge to reach new customers
BUSINESS GROWTH WITH THINKIFIC PLUS
Since syncing up with Thinkific Plus to create a more advanced partner training program, the company has decreased the time it takes to become certified by 30%. The Keap team credits this to an engaging and intuitive learner experience and building a community of partners that can learn from one another.
These significant time savings meant partners could start selling Keap applications quicker while also walking away with a deeper understanding of the products themselves.
“Once we made the switch we were having different levels of conversations in terms of our partners’ expertise and product knowledge. It’s really hard to quantify this success, but you could see them having a better understanding of what they were selling,” said Edelman.
As Keap continues to evolve its online partner education and training program, the team is focused on further developing its online partner communities using Thinkific Plus.
“My goal is to continue doing a better job at building a community with our partners. I would love to create more of a class feel where you have five people starting at the same time and can work together throughout the program,” said Anciaux.
“From the Keap team perspective, we also want to keep engaging with the students through comments and other interactive features. Small business is a dynamic marketplace that doesn’t always fit into an A, B, or C answer, so we want to keep helping them progress their thinking in solving a problem by getting real-time feedback,” finished Edelman.
Interested in becoming a Keap partner? Learn about the different ways to partner with Keap here.
“One of the most important takeaways from the partnership with Thinkific Plus was how it inspired us to rethink our approach to partner education and training in general. Leveraging the tools inside of Thinkific Plus has been a paradigm shift for us and the way we look at educating partners, employees, and customer-facing audiences.”Phillip Michieli, Curriculum Developer, Keap