How to Launch a Killer Channel Incentive Program

Delivering the Sales Results You Need Now
by Leslie Remenek, Business Development Director

In today’s highly competitive marketplace, it is a challenge in itself simply to attract and influence customers to buy your products. But capturing channel and dealer rep mind-share and motivating them to promote and sell your brand vs. the competition is tougher than ever.

Some organizations have attempted to implement channel incentive programs in an attempt to attract rep attention and increase channel sales, but more often than not, they do not perform as well as expected. Their programs become nothing more than an administrative tool, used to log information or search for marketing materials instead of facilitating activities to actually help drive sales.

In fact, a recent Gartner Study found that 40% of all partner portal initiatives failed to gain adequate adoption. So what’s behind this lack of adoption across the channel community?

Very often, it’s the same complaints we hear time and again from channel reps about why they don’t use the programs that have been pushed out to them:

  • Accessing the program portal, especially from a mobile device, is a nightmare
  • There are too many screens and different sign-ons required
  • Portals are not intuitively designed for quick, easy access to key information
  • Information provided in the portal is not current or organized in a useful manner
  • The portal isn’t flexible or user-friendly, and can’t be customized based on user preferences

The message is clear: unless a partner program can actually help channel reps do their job, users don’t see any value in it and simply won’t use it.

So what then, would a useful partner portal look like?  What are the key attributes that must be present to allow an organization to build stronger relationships with your reps, engaging and motivating them towards selling more of your products while becoming resistant to competitive initiatives?

Blank Slate

Begin with a Blank Slate – Every Time
No two organizations are the same; each has its own priorities, strategic business goals, project timelines, and target audiences. Most organizations today know very little about their dealer reps and are often in the dark about what makes these reps tick and what motivates them; however, successful channel program providers will take into account that your business is unique.

They will utilize a collaborative discovery process to fully understand your specific business directives, and then leverage these insights to drive higher engagement and advocacy for your organization.

Successful program providers will not simply throw a ‘technology play’ or ‘off-the-shelf’ solution at the problem in hopes that it will work.

Put your Participants at the Center of the Program
Reps today often have many options for what they can sell, and are quick to decide where they’ll invest their time and where they’ll apply their potential. By first taking the time to understand their needs and then developing a customized ‘participant-centric’ design where users are at the center of the program, your organization has a much higher likelihood of capturing and retaining rep mind-share and engagement with your brand.

Empower your Participants
By letting participants set personal preferences, control what they want to see, and elect how they want to be personally engaged, participants are more likely to ‘make the system their own,’ leading to increased engagement and adoption.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
Awareness leads to the successful adoption of any program, so having an effective communications strategy in place is critical. After all, unless your participants know about the program, how likely are they to use it? Dynamic, timely, and relevant communications will ensure participants:

  • Become aware of the program
  • Understand exactly what you want them to do and how they can participate in the program
  • Keep your program top-of-mind and ensure reps remain actively engaged and energized throughout the entire program.

In a world where your brand is constantly engaged in a fierce competition for your reps’ time, energy, and attention and the channel loyalty market is more cluttered than ever, isn’t it time to separate your brand from the pack? Provide an effective incentive program specifically designed to address your goals that will motivate and engage your reps, and it will help deliver the sales results you need now.

Learn more about Motivation Excellence’s channel incentives here.

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