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How to grow your channel sales with an incentive program and the role that technology can play

Too many channel incentive programs fall short of being the performance and revenue boosters companies expect. In worst case scenarios, they don’t show any ROI at all. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The drivers of channel revenue generation

Channel partners will always generate revenue. After all, they’re in business just like you are. But there are steps you need to take to enable their success. To help them realize their full revenue potential, you need to:

Capture attention/mindshare. Considering the ever-increasing competitive markets in which B2B (tech, manufacturing) and B2B2C (consumer goods, travel & hospitality) companies play, driving brand awareness is key when talking about driving purchase decisions. If you can increase your brand awareness amongst your channel partners, you will get them to understand your company’s differentiation points, trust you more, and see the value associated with your brand, thereby opting to sell your product over a competitor’s.

Establish trust. Partners that trust your company are more likely to offer feedback, referrals, and testimonials. As a result, you will understand their needs better and hone in on the content they value and use. Also, your marketing efforts will be more effective, as partners will be more likely to participate in your events, trade shows, and product launches.

Focus on the right things. For your channel goals to be effective, the goals you set need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. With clear objectives, you will be able to construct a well thought out strategy that mirrors your corporate strategy and that will deliver the desired results. And with clear goals, you will be able to measure the effectiveness of your incentive program and make appropriate refinements to your program going forward.

Kindle knowledge/training. Product expertise is critical when launching a new product, during new partner on-boarding, and when you want to create a regional or seasonal sales promotion or expand your market. Companies that incentivize their channel partners to acquire deeper product knowledge consistently find that partners generate higher revenues, because it clarifies the differentiation points of a product/service. Moreover, channel members gain a better understanding of the product itself, learn about new and better ways to sell your product, and will choose your product over the competition’s.

How targeting the right behaviors impacts revenue
Incentivizing indirect revenue-contributing behaviors (e.g., improving marketing campaigning, increasing engagement) in addition to direct revenue-generating behaviors (e.g., increasing the number of leads or decreasing close time) will yield higher revenue output.

For example, say that you need partners to be more productive . You can increase partner engagement by:

Providing valuable training videos – To effect a deeper understanding of your product, incentivize and reward your channel members for consuming videos that will educate them on how to use, install, feature, promote, and sell your product.

Promoting event attendance – Rewarding your channel members for attending your events will increase engagement with your brand, create strong networking, and catalyze more learning about your value and differentiation.

Incentivizing portal activity – With the right technology, you can offer the right content to each of your partners, giving them access to special promotions, prices, training videos, etc. They can also be incentivized to give you valuable personal and company information, enabling you to gain greater visibility and provide greater value.

The “right fit” technology solution empowers your incentive program
With the right incentive automation solution, you will be able to design an effective incentive program that encapsulates your corporate goals, enables you to target your desired behaviors, and increases your revenue and loyalty. For an effective end-to-end loyalty solution, you need a platform that:

Is flexible, permitting you to implement, manage, and monitor multiple incentive program types, and that will also allow for quick and easy deployment;

Captures information on your partners, and helps you use that information in a machine-learning context to identify revenue-boosting behaviors;

Has a robust rules engine, enabling you to set up the desired objectives and performance parameters of a best-fit incentive program;

Includes an analytics engine for measuring incentive program results.

Summary
The challenge in growing channel sales lies in how to influence members of your channel ecosystem to remain loyal and help your company drive that growth. Armed with a sound strategy, a thoughtful plan, and airtight execution, modern automation-powered incentive program can help you achieve all this and more. With the appropriate technology, you can implement a superior incentive program that boosts your partners’ engagement, burgeons their capabilities, and drives your channel’s productivity ever higher.

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