Money and recognition still talks. People want (and should) receive incentives for doing a good job. This might sound like a “no brainer”, but it bears repeating when it comes to channel reps. They need incentives to push your brand, close deals, and develop an affinity for your program.
Shaking up your incentives is a great way to rejuvenate a channel sales program. It keeps the reps interested in your brand, can foster competition, and can of course boost your bottom line. The most effective incentives are typically those that are targeted towards certain behaviors. You want to reward channel reps for promoting your brand, reaching new customers, and brokering bigger and better deals.
Here are some strategies for increasing the results of your channel incentives, and some words of warning to avoid overcomplicated and underused programs.
Pardon our pun, but Sales Performance Incentive Funds or SPIFs, are incentives that go straight to the actual seller of the products. They’re intended to encourage channel reps to actively promote your company’s products over others. SPIFs are frequently used with new products that you’re bringing to the market. They provide a quick way to make a splash and generate some sales. However, make sure you do the math on the back end to be sure SPIF payouts are reasonable and that you can send them out quickly.
Also consider using them for sales training inducements. Here’s a shocking point — channel reps don’t like training sessions for new products! Make it worth their time with a SPIF incentive to complete training. The incentive itself doesn’t have to be cash. Offer compelling experience rewards that set your program apart.
Clearly Delineate Rebates
There’s often confusion around what rebates mean for channel partners. Some consider them synonymous with discounts or simple rewards. Rebates should be considered a payment to partner companies when they reach a sales target in a certain amount of time. These are typically paid out based on back-end occurrences. For example they might be tied to market penetration goals, attach rates, or unit target goals. You can also tie behaviors to the rebates, or “bundle” the goals with behaviors for additional rebate earnings. Be creative and try out new offers.
Regardless of the goal, it’s vital for the incentive program to outline rebates in plain language. Talk directly with partners to be sure you’re all on the same page and using similar terminology. If you sense some frustration, then strike some incentives from your program, and maybe make a rotation of offers over the year. This keeps down the total number of incentives and gives partner reps some fresh chances to earn. New partner onboarding should include in-depth training on the rebate structure and conditions.
Maximize Deal Registrations
Resellers need clear rules and simple systems for the entire sales process. This includes an easy way to register deals, and transparency into what incentives are available for such actions. Make it simple. Provide clear information about how deals should be registered, and what incentives are available. It’s a way to keep the competition at bay and ensures your own internal sales team doesn’t waste time pursuing a channel partner’s deal.
Automating deal registration and sales claims via a cloud-based platform (hey we have one of those) is an ideal way to track registrations. You want everyone on the same page, and a shared platform allows all parties involved to transparently see registrations which will encourage lengthy and trust-based relationships.
Strategically use MDF's
MDF in our world stands for Market Development Funds. Say you’ve got a channel partner in Dublin that wants to promote your software in Ireland. The problem is the market has no idea who you are and why you’re the best. MDFs are funds you can provide to a channel partner to help them build brand awareness about your product and allow them to greatly expand their sales potential.
Of course you can’t just “make it rain” for every company that wants some promotional money. Talk to the partner about specific goals and objectives and how the money will be used. You don’t want to hear they used the funds for a weekend of golfing and drinking with clients that didn’t result in any sales. Be specific with your budgeting. Make sure the partner knows the target audience, the specific offered products, and the promotion expenditures. Will you produce co-branded collateral? Will the funds be used to attend and make a statement at conferences? The details matter!
Looking for an incentives and learning partner? ChannelAssist provides your channel program with an intuitive platform that gets results.