Part of what makes a channel incentive program effective is how well a channel partner buys into and engages with it. It’s great to have a good incentive scheme to help your channel partner sell your products, but if they aren’t engaged, they’re less likely to feel motivated and incentivized to perform to the best of their abilities to give you the results you want.
So how do you get buy-in and engagement from your channel partners? This article looks at what to consider, to ensure your channel incentive program is fully effective and delivers results.
Aligning with Goals and Targets
When aiming to get buy-in and channel engagement, the first thing to think about is making sure your incentive program doesn’t just align with your goals, but your channel’s goals too.
For instance, your channel partners will probably have targets to hit of their own, such as for volume of products or seasonal items. Or employees might be given objectives to improve their sales skills and techniques for all the brands they sell for.
You should also consider reviewing recent statistics you have on your sales channel’s performance, or positive reviews you have received on the team and individual employees. Once you know what your current baseline is in terms of performance, you can set a target for employees to strive towards that fits their goals.
Rewarding Partners and Individuals
This is a big part of getting a channel to buy into your scheme. You shouldn’t just think about rewarding your channel team. There are ways to reward your channel partner businesses and individual team members too, helping to make your sales go further.
With channel incentive technology, you can reward both your partner’s team and their business. For instance, you can provide:
- Incentives and rewards for the channel team and for individuals
- Help and support for a partner such as a marketing development fund (MDF), training and increased product knowledge
Incentives like this can motivate and maintain the momentum of top performers, while providing partners with ways to motivate and uplift the whole team to give them the best results.
Knowing Your Audience
To engage an audience, you need to know and understand them. The same can be said of your sales channel. This includes understanding their:
- Business, brand and day-to-day operations
- Goals and objectives – daily and long-term goals
- Challenges and plans to overcome them
- Team and how they work
- Approach to sales and selling techniques
Offering channel teams something they like can be a great way to stand out from your competitors and show you know your audience.
Good examples of this are personal rewards that are based on their likes and interests. Personalizing a reward means the incentive is something individually suited to a team member. For instance, sports equipment for the sports fanatic on the team, or a Michelin star tasting menu at home, for the foodie on the team.
Doing this shows partner teams that you’ve thought about how your incentive will fit with their channel team, making them feel more understood and valued on a personal level.
Considering Your Comms Strategy
Engaging your channel is also about having a good communications strategy. This includes to promote and launch your incentive program. This could involve a:
Sales activation or hype day
Sales activation days or hype days are days to drum up hype and excitement across your channel. This could involve games held throughout a specific day, to help launch your incentive program, where channel employees can win prizes for hitting different sales targets. Hype days have the option to be held online/virtually or physically in a sales office when occupied.
To help launch and keep the incentive top of mind, a mail out could be sent to each participant. Including a gift linked to the incentive theme, instructions on how to take part and some merchandise to keep the engagement at the forefront.
This could involve different ways to promote your incentive program. For instance, email launch comms, or in your company email newsletter or by setting up an information booth for employees at your partners’ businesses.
Helping You to Keep Your Channel Partners Engaged
The right approach is crucial in helping your channel partners to buy into and engage with your incentive program. This can reap major rewards for your channel partners and your business – from encouraging your sales channel teams to prioritize your products and services above others, to keeping your brand top of mind.
At 360insights, we quickly design, launch and optimize powerful and unique channel incentive programs, which can engage your people, improve performance and drive your business forward
To understand more about The Channel Success Platform, get in touch to receive your fully comprehensive platform demonstration.
By Dan Kelly, Enterprise Sales Director, 360insights