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Scaling your channel incentive program: moving from spreadsheets to a cloud-based IPM

Marcelo Custodio de Oliveira, Phd
Marcelo Custodio de Oliveira, Phd By Fielo
What behaviors should manufacturers be incentivizing from their channel partners? 4

When channel marketers first launch a partner incentive initiative, it’s usually with the hope of increasing short-term sales of a particular product, or perhaps as a means of testing the ability of incentives to boost the engagement and loyalty of their partners. Either way, most marketers manage these early-stage efforts using everyday tools like spreadsheets.

While these tools might meet your needs during the test-and-learn phase of an incentive program, when you are ready to roll out a more sophisticated, more compelling program, management-by-spreadsheet is sure to hold you back. 

The Shortcomings of Spreadsheets

Because of the complexity of managing thousands to millions of dollars of compensation for hundreds to thousands of partners, spreadsheets are not a scalable solution. A spreadsheet system will quickly become unwieldy, and is prone to breaking, leading to errors and management difficulties. 

Transitioning to an incentive program management platform

An automated cloud-based IPM platform will enrich and facilitate the management of your program and help you avoid the many common issues of running a partner program manually.  

So how do you get from the “here” of spreadsheets to the “there” of an IPM platform? Here’s a step-by-step approach:

  1. Review your partner database and segmentation. You may have segmented your incentive program by multiple criteria. Make sure that this is still a data structure that makes sense with the new IPM platform.
  2. Make sure your new IPM platform has a CSV import capability. You’ll want to leverage all your database segmentation work and populate your new IPM platform with your spreadsheet program data.
  3. Map and import your spreadsheet columns to the IPM fields. It’s probable that your spreadsheet model can’t capture all the information that an IPM platform can consume, but the more data you bring over, the better.
  4. Brand your partner incentive experience. IPM platforms come with adaptive portals and the option to leverage a PRM portal such as Salesforce Community Cloud. This individualized approach helps to drive their participation to new highs and, by extension, to meet their program goals faster.
  5. Communicate your cutover plan. Let your partners know that your incentive program is changing. Is there a more relevant and higher value rewards catalog? Does it provide a better partner experience?
  6. Discontinue any spreadsheet-centric systems and communications. The best way to avoid confusion, or to have two incentive programs running simultaneously, is to quickly transition all functions to your new automated platform.
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These initial steps will help you to get the process started right and set a solid framework for the subsequent implementation process.

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Today on our #blog we highlight the importance of scaling your channel incentive program from spreadsheets to a modern incentive program management platform. So how do you get from the “here” of spreadsheets to the “there” of an IPM platform? Read more for a step-by-step approach that will help you to get the process started right and set a solid framework for the subsequent implementation process! http://bit.ly/8urwjfk

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Today on our blog we highlight the importance of scaling your clients’ channel incentive program from spreadsheets to a modern incentive program management platform. So how do they get from the “here” of spreadsheets to the “there” of an IPM platform? Read more for a step-by-step approach that will help your clients to get the process started right and set a solid framework for the subsequent implementation process! http://bit.ly/8urwjfk

 

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