We understand that you want to engage and improve relationships with your channel partners and that it isn't always simple to work out if you're doing that effectively.
Well, those partners themselves will be able to give you some all-important insights into whether they find your incentive program simple, stimulating, useful and productive. Their honesty and openness could be the answer to your program's success.
After all, if you want channel partners to engage with and remain loyal to your company it’s pretty essential that you find out from them exactly what it is they’re looking for.
It is widely understood that there are two key factors that influence partners’ decisions to do business with other companies: brand recognition and ease of doing business (EODB). So, putting aside brand recognition, if you have a program in place it’s extremely valuable to approach partners and ask them how easy it is to do business with you. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your program? Is it smooth to navigate? Are rewards easy to redeem?
The most expansive way of going about this is sending out questionnaires and surveys. Here are some useful tips for drawing these up:
- Make sure to ask for demographic information from respondents – location, role, age group etc – this will help you group participants for analysis and future targeting
- Try to create as many numerical questions as possible e.g. how easy is it to redeem rewards, between 1 and 5? – this will provide more quantitative, tangible data to work with. Otherwise responses become quite vague and difficult to mold strategy around
- Keep questions short so that the questionnaire doesn’t seem too daunting – the more people that fill them out, the more accurate and useful the data will be
- If possible, contract professionals to draw these surveys up in order to minimize bias and generate the most incisive questions
You can also conduct face to face or phone interviews. These help your company gain more detailed and personal feedback and recommendations. It puts respondents at ease, ensuring honesty and openness about the successes and shortcomings of your program. Obviously, this strategy will limit your pool of respondents - because how many people can you physically call or speak to face to face? - so it may not provide statistically significant data to inform decisions across your whole channel ecosystem. That’s why we recommend using both surveys and interviews in unison (if possible) – furnishing you with both scope and heart!
One problem that often emerges with surveys and questionnaires is that there is a bias about who chooses to fill them out – it tends to be either really satisfied or really unsatisfied individuals. This can be overcome by offering incentives and rewards for providing feedback.
Although the feedback measurement method tends to give really useful insights into the positives and negatives of the program from the perspective of participants, it brings little to bear on its success from a business perspective. Is it increasing sales? Is it generating profit? These questions can only truly be answered using the Test/Control or Behavioural Changes methods discussed in our comprehensive eGuide.