The ghost of incentive programs past
Incentive programs have come a long way since the 1980s, when B2B companies first started employing them to spur their channel partner sellers … or from even earlier, since the 1930s, per incentivization’s B2C consumer roots. In those early days, designing and managing incentive programs was simple: you gave some reward to channel partners (in addition to their standard discount) for selling “extra” of a particular product or products – i.e., boosting revenue above the normal/expected target. When incentive programs were that simple, and channel partners numbered in the hundreds, incentive program management could be adequately managed with spreadsheets.
Now fast-forward to the 21st century. Channel marketing managers are fielding – or aspire to field – incentive programs that motivate their sellers beyond the “end result” of sales, and that are targeted towards select subsets of their selling ecosystem. Moreover, these incentive program professionals are building more sophisticated, more compelling, more engaging incentive programs, employing qualifying conditions, tiered performance rewards, and various ways of gauging program participation performance.
A modern technology approach
Not only can these types of modern incentive programs be crafted today with modern incentive program management technology, they can be designed with speed and insights, and managed at scale. Fielo’s Incentive Automation solution gives incentive program professionals the ability to design with power by breaking down incentive programs into their core constructs and automating the underlying program design processes:
The What: behavioral incentivization. Long gone are the days when channel marketers rewarded only the “end result”, i.e., sales. Sure, those pros still work sales goals into their incentive programs. But they increasingly want to dig deeper and go the root cause of desired results, because they know that incentivizing the underlying behaviors that drive the outcome: (1) can oftentimes result in an even better outcome than incentivizing just the outcome itself, and (2) can change those underlying behaviors permanently, boosting performance growth long-term.
Take, for example, the case of wanting to increase revenue. Savvy channel marketers realize that boosting product/solution knowledge and instilling & improving marketing and opportunity management abilities in their channel will lead more effectively to increased revenue.
It’s like rewarding a child for completing a homework assignment or having good study habits, instead of, or in addition to, getting good grades. By rewarding the underlying behaviors, better grades are a given.
With Fielo, channel marketers have more than 30 out-of-the-box Salesforce Object behaviors, across a spectrum of 5 functions, at their beck and call to employ in their incentive programs:
Marketing – You can turn your channel into a marketing machine, targeting marketing behaviors ranging from MDF utilization to lead quality to social advocacy.
Service – If customer excellence is a strategic corporate goal, you can incentivize channel partners to provide superior customer service via creating and selling great maintenance plans, case/ticket close time, and service appointment time & completion.
Engagement – Many channel marketing professionals fret that they are losing the loyalty of their channel partners. By rewarding engagement behaviors, like partner portal utilization, event attendance, and community participation, channel marketers will win back their partners’ mind share and wallet share.
Sales – It’s not about just the closed/won outcome. It’s about excellence in all those opportunity development stage behaviors – from timely/accurate forecasts to configuration quotes – that leads to a better outcomes:faster close times, bigger deals, broader solutions, and happier customers.
Commerce – Incentivizing quote requests, order frequency, and order size will result in happier and bigger B2B customer accounts.
The Who: segmentation. In the old days, incentive program pros employed one target model: one size fits all – i.e., it was one incentive program for everyone. With the power of analytics, they know now that different channel partners respond differently to different incentives, different behaviors, different programs; and are replacing their “one size fits all” methodology with “different strokes for different folks”.
Fielo’s Segmentation Engine puts the power of targeting into the hands of incentive program professionals. They can design one program for, say, large European channel partners, another for small North American partners, and a third for LatAm partners that have achieved a certain certification. With Fielo, you can give select partners what they want the most … and they will respond in kind.
The How: intelligent rules. Incentive program pros today are nothing if not innovative. And they have to be. – It’s the novel incentive programs that seem to have been crafted “just for me” that compel channel partners not just to participate in incentive programs, but to bust those programs’ previous goal parameters.
Using Fielo’s Intelligent Rules Engine, incentive program pros can set program goals as a:
Fixed goal – Often, corporate quarterly or annual goals can be manifested as incentive program goals – for example, $n in sales, n training courses completed, n marketing campaigns, or n registered deals.
Benchmark – Channel partners’ performance can be gauged against their own historical performance (YoY percentage increase), against each other (“grading on the curve”), or against time (first to achieve, second to achieve, etc.).
Moreover, incentive program goal achievement can be defined as a total (e.g., total sales), frequency (e.g., store visits), or average (e.g., average deal close time).
In a scalable, secure Salesforce-native environment. Finally, with Fielo’s Salesforce-Native Architecture, channel marketers can employ a modern incentive automation solution with confidence, knowing that they have all the benefits of Salesforce’s robust data security, identity access management, Lightning framework-enabled drag-and-drop portal design, and a common user experience.
Learn more at fielo.com.