Accelerating channel business requires more than having a compelling partner value proposition. Partner Rewards play an important role in enabling and engaging your partners’ front-line sales teams who deal directly with the end-customer.
The traditional approach to channel incentives was often to offer a big sales spiff to incentivize partner sales reps (Sell “X’; Get “Y”). That can be great for a quarter or two but spiffs often become costly and inefficient. And they are often not particularly partner-centric since many fail to properly engage partner management. Yet they continue to operate in many markets and with results that speak for themselves. So, perhaps it’s time to look at spiffs from the perspective of how to make them better, beginning with addressing what often doesn’t work. Then following that with analytics that ensure they continue to promote improvements in areas critical for profitable growth.
Aligning Partners and Partner Sales Reps
The chief complaint channel partners voice about spiffs is that they are not aligned with the partners’ business. This has plagued indirect channels for years but it is not an unsolvable problem. Poor program design and execution often made things worse rather than better. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With current technologies, it is not difficult to create programs that allow for greater partner management and oversight. They can also allow for role-based programs to engage more than than just the partner sales rep. It’s also easier than ever to aggregate rewards at a partner or location level. This allows for greater flexibility to more closely align the needs of vendors, partners and partner sales teams.
Rewarding Behaviors Not Outcomes
Sophisticated channel marketers will recognize that running spiffs that solely reward the sale of a product or service is rewarding an outcome not a behavior – even if it’s an effective short-term strategy. Enablement rewards for partner sales and technical reps completing training/certification or registration rewards based on approved deal registrations are good examples of how rewarding behaviors that lead to increased sales rather than just for the sale itself can be motivate the front line earlier in the sales cycle – closer to the stage where their influence can have an impact. Ideally, a partner rewards program would provide both an incentive for steps to the sale as well as the sale itself. Budgetary and operational constraints, however, often argue against the ideal.
Operational Efficiency and Ease of Use Can Improve Impact
The operational challenges, particularly for the global channel marketer, can impact both program adoption and utilization as well as the motivational impact. Delivering on a promise of ease-of-use and (near) instant gratification are essential to program effectiveness.
Channel Matters can help at any stage of your initiative by providing turn-key solutions or managing the internal team and external vendors to create or update your rewards program including:
Program Assessments | Program Management |Program Investment Models |Program Design |Program Business Rules |Partner Communications |Partner and Participant Engagement |Claims Validation
Build Your Own
We can help design, develop and deploy partner rewards programs to impact behaviors that deliver desired outcomes, both in North America and globally.