The main reason organizations don’t get their desired outcomes from channel programs is that they fail to incentivize their partners the right way or fail to make it clear what the reward is in the first place. For example, many programs run spiffs that only reward the sale of a product or service—not the underlying behavior that led to that sale.
If you want to take your channel program to the next level, you need to start by incentivizing desired behaviors. Compensate people for doing the things you want them to do, and they’ll do them more often. It’s that simple.
With patience and the right approach, it’s easy to build a repeatable channel sales model that helps you get the outcomes you’re aiming for.
How can I incentivize my channel partners?
The more ways you figure out how to incentivize your channel partners, the easier it will be to encourage them to actively participate in your program. After all, salespeople are motivated by one thing and one thing only: getting paid. So the easier you make that happen for them, the more likely they will be to get involved at the level you hope.
With that in mind, here are some examples of effective incentives to get you thinking in the right direction.
1. Completing Training or Certifications
It’s impossible to get the best results when your channel partners don’t know the ins and outs of your products and services. This is why you put together training materials and certifications to help partners learn how to sell your portfolio effectively.
But let’s face it: Salespeople are busy enough as it is, and they might not think it’s worth their time to complete a training course that they’re not compensated for. By offering incentives to those who complete your training or receive a certification, you increase the chances that more and more of your partners will do precisely that.
When partners are trained the right way, you also benefit from higher-quality deals. In this light, training helps you avoid garbage deals that arise when reps don’t understand your products. In other words, your training expenses are essentially paying for marketing qualified leads (MQLs). As such, you may need to shift your focus away from a spiff/reward expense to an expense that would be easy to justify if it came from marketing.
2. Deal Registration
When your partners register deals, you are more likely to get a deal. But deal reg isn’t a panacea. You also need to encourage partners to register deals sooner to give you more visibility into your pipeline—and keep deals updated in the pipeline so you know where things stand at any moment.
So offer incentives for deal registration, too, and pay every step of the way. Using a top-tier deal registration platform tied to a payments application that can immediately reward behavior, you can make the whole process much easier for partners and channel managers alike.
3. Using Your Portal
When partners use your channel portal to register deals and provide status updates, the job of the channel manager becomes much easier. With more time on their hands, they can focus on other important areas of operations to help grow your business in other ways.
Incentivize partners to use your portal, track that usage in Salesforce so you can tie actions to rewards to ROI, and you’ll build a more efficient and optimized program.
These days, it seems like most companies have some version of a customer loyalty program. The goal, of course, is to reward repeat business with better deals and other incentives.
Bring the same mindset over to your channel program by incentivizing partners who keep coming back and giving you business.
Of course, the ultimate goal of your channel program is for your partners to make sales. As such, you will obviously incentivize them with each contract you sign as a result of their work.
A little friendly competition never hurt anybody. Further incentivize your channel partners by holding contests on a quarterly or yearly basis. For example, you might offer your top performer for the quarter a weekend trip to San Francisco. Everyone will work a little bit harder to increase their chances of winning the prize.
Similarly, you can offer spot prizes when someone goes above and beyond. If a partner hits their targets quickly—say, within a month—consider rewarding them with something like a $5,000 bonus.
Here’s the best part: Offering these incentives doesn’t have to be hard.
At this point, you might be thinking that a robust incentive program sounds great. But you may also be wondering how you’ll find the time to manage this many incentives effectively and still have time left over to focus on everything else.
The good news is that incentivizing your channel sales partners has never been easier. You just need the right tools in place. Request a demo of Vartopia today to learn more about the simplest, most powerful way to manage a channel program and incentivize your partners the right way.