There’s no doubt that your partners can be one of your biggest assets. The big question is, how do you keep them engaged over the long haul?
It may not be as simple as just launching a channel incentive program. There are many factors to include such as margins, tiers, accelerators, SPIFFS, MDF/Co/Op, Rebates… the list goes on. Regardless of the form in which the investment takes, the decision to invest in a channel incentive program will pay off with returns in increased partner engagement, higher mindshare, and overall channel sales performance.
Why pay your partners?
Because it is the right thing to do. Full stop.
Your partner does it all, lead generation, pre-sales motions, closing the deal, supporting the customer, and helping you increase market share.
Your loyal partners act as a bridge to fill the gap of all the organization’s communication aspects, do local marketing, and spread brand awareness.
Your partner program is the bridge between your organization and the market. That feedback loop that is so valuable shouldn’t be free. Your partner has likely been building their book of business and establishing a layer of trust within their target market for years. Acknowledge that fact and pay them for that work that you did not have to do.
Don’t let the new kid on the block in!
A loyal partner (who is paid well) will never leave your side even when new competitive forces try and enter the market. Countless studies come out on a regular basis talking about the saturation of different products and companies trying to earn their piece of the pie, so ensuring the new kid on the block doesn’t steal your partner (and all the time, money, and resources already invested) is worth a few extra points of margin. At the end of the day, an established level of trust and mutual reliance is one thing, but money talks and thinking your relationship will stand up against money is a mistake too many people realize they have made, too late.
It is also a fact that while providing these monetary benefits, you should make time-to-time upgrades in your product/services to compete in the market. The more partners engage and sell your program, the greater the revenue percentage they can generate.
Keep It Simple!
When was the last time you read the partner agreement that was made between the organization you work with, and the partner you are managing? Chances are, if you are in a large organization, probably never. Right? Do you think your sales counterpart at your partner has ever read it? Do you think anyone even knows whose OneDrive or Box folder it is sitting in?
By deploying a partner portal, you can change this! When a partner first logs in, make sure, right on the home page it is obvious how they can earn money. If your organization commits to making partner payments every 30 days, make sure that it is clearly communicated. If your company is launching a new channel incentive program, make sure that is front and center, along with all the details necessary to participate.
Don’t bury the information your channel reps care about 17 pages deep in a document that never gets read, keep it simple and put it right in front of their faces.
Recognition doesn’t pay the bills
Chances are, you enjoy some recognition and congratulations from time to time when you over-perform in your role, right? The problem is that a congratulatory email can’t be taken to the bank and deposited to pay your mortgage.
If your organization has decided that it wants to double down on its investment in partners, here are some ideas you can use to go beyond just the “gold star” your partners earn.
Launch a channel incentive program that gives out a cash bonus for the rep who promotes your organization the most on social media.
Want to test a new product in a specific market? Automatically bump up that partner to the next highest tier of margins just for landing your first five deals.
There are countless other ways you can pay your partners. Take training and certifications, promote your organization on social media channels, engage in group environments talking about your organization, and writing co-authored content for your marketing team to use.
Spend money to make money
When you pay your partners, it becomes easier to drive real engagement between your two organizations, and most importantly… The two people working the deal together. Invest in your partners and make the lives of your sales team easier!
Request a demo today to learn more about how a partner program can help you take the pain out of paying your partners!