As distributors and channel partners, you understand the importance – and challenges – of cultivating strong relationships. Keeping your partners motivated and aligned with your desired outcomes is a perpetual task, and without robust channel partnerships, your products are literally going nowhere.
So how do you engage and encourage your channel partners, get them focused on your products, or steer them towards specific behavior to benefit everyone?
Rewards. Events. Exclusive experiences. Whether you have a formal program in place or not, a channel incentive is the little “something extra” that shows your channel partners that you value their efforts – and the relationship. In this respect, a small gesture can go a long way to delighting your channel partners and supporting your business goals.
Why do channel incentives work?
Because what’s good for your partners is eventually good for you.
Why do channel incentives work? Because what’s good for your partners is eventually good for you. Click To Tweet
And that’s the part most people forget – it’s a two-way street. The best channel incentive programs promote loyalty to the vendor’s brand, which in turn drives sales, which creates more opportunities for reward.
So, what are examples of channel incentive programs, and how do you get started? As mentioned above, rewards, special events, and high-profile exclusive experiences are a good start – for example, a weekend getaway, or points your channel partners can redeem for prizes they choose. But as a program, it’s actually more complicated than you might think. Before you begin, here are just some of the items you must consider:
- What motivates your individual channel partners and distributors?
- How will your program measure up against those of your competitors?
- Will all your channel partners respond well to your program?
- How will you communicate channel incentive program information?
- Are any of your channel partners already closely linked with another brand?
- How will the program impact existing relationships?
- Are you rewarding skill, loyalty, sales goals, net profits, or some combination of any or all of the above?
- Which products are you focusing on, and how many are you promoting at once?
- Are you using a points system, or straight sales numbers?
- Are you offering incentives to your channel partners as organizations, or to individual salespeople?
- Do your channel incentives align with your brand?
- Is your program short-term or long-term? Are incentives awarded monthly, quarterly, or annually?
- Are incentives attractive to your partners yet still within your budget?
- Are there enough rewards available for all your partners, if they all hit their targets? This is especially important to consider when planning events or unique experiences with a fixed number of seats/slots/tickets.
- Are there reward tiers that partners are working towards?
- If so, how many tiers are you offering?
- How will you address incentive burnout or malaise? How often will you refresh incentives?
There is much to consider, but when properly implemented, channel incentive programs work. Once you’ve aligned your audience, incentives, and scalability, you’re in a good position to launch your program – but it takes some work to get there. That’s where we come in. Contact us today to develop a customized plan that drives sales, builds relationships, and helps you achieve positive outcomes.