3 Ways to Optimize Channel Incentive Programs to Improve Partnership Motivation
Manufacturers and vendors hinge on channel partner performance to keep their business afloat.
But in the multifaceted ecosystem of b2b enterprise, it’s not always competitive pricing or modification in consumer demand that impacts manufacturer/vendor productivity or profit.
Sure, the exponential growth of ecommerce has transformed the process of tradition b2b distribution—essentially establishing a monetary universe of infinite competitors. Even so, in order to get channel partners (e.g., distributors, resellers, wholesalers, etc.) to focus on your product, and to find the customers who want to buy your product, requires an indirect sales funnel overflowing with motivation.
Channel incentives (or financial) programs are one the most effective strategies for developing motivated partnerships.
From Ship and Debit to MDF/Co-op programs, from sales quota attainment to deal registration—there are countless incentivized solutions channel partners endure with delight, thus converting that content into motivation to improve sales performance. Despite channel incentive programs’ beloved acceptance, manufacturers/vendors commonly struggle to harness its potent potential.
But why is that?
Why is such a lucrative, promising b2b marketing strategy result in counterintuitive outcomes?
Here are 3 ways manufacturers/vendors can optimize channel incentive programs to improve partnership motivation:
Accelerate the Onboarding Process
Not all channel partnerships were built to last. But what good is an incentive program if it’s perceived as an inconvenience, and not a…reward.
By streamlining the participation process, channel partners can sign up with better efficiency, understand rules and requirements more clearly, track performance or campaign effective and receive rewards quicker due to faster turnaround time.
Traditional processes (e.g., electronic data interchange, Excel spreadsheets, emails, phone calls, etc.), not only decrease partner motivation, but puts your channel management team at a much higher risk to unintentionally accept accepting claims due to miscalculated accruals and disorganized documentation.
Partner dissatisfaction is highly coordinated to non-automated channel program software.
Channel partners should be an extension of your own business. Like your in-house team—who has received comprehensive training on product functionality, target demographic and marketing strategies—channel partners should be required to receive the same treatment; in fact, channel partners should have additional information on an ongoing basis such as product updates, different customer pain points, industry news, etc., as your product is (probably) not the only one they are selling or focused on 24 hours a day.
Additionally, it important to provide training that goes beyond the specifics of your own product; in other words, training that strengthens the sales pitch for under-performers, or partners not living up to their potential. No one understands your product better than you, so give channel partners every tool in your arsenal to succeed, and exceed expectations.
Sharing insights and best practice strategies authenticates your commitment to partners, demonstrates your passion and promises to inspire channel partners that inevitably lead to more effective incentive programs.
Dumbing down incentive programs to be more user-friendly or easy to review (for back-end auditors) may seem like a best practice in channel management; however, this is a false business philosophy, which often results in partnership disengagement/dissatisfaction.
The unstable, competitive infrastructure of today’s marketplace is largely to blame—and manufacturers/vendors should be more deliberate in their incentive program design. In order to maintain the interest of top-performing partners, channel management teams have to up the ante with high-volume incentive programs, which may not be the simplest to manage, but, produce the most effective results.
It’s also important to remember that not all incentive programs are suitable or relevant to all channel partners, and unique and/or comprehensively customized programs might be the only feasible incentives to offer.
Harness the Power of Motivation Thru Automated Channel Management
Computer Market Research (CMR) brings 32 years of experience into the indirect channel sales industry. Through our state-of-the-art automated software, businesses can amplify their B2B marketing efforts via a clear and concise platform that robustly and intuitively assists the managerial process of channel partnerships. From optimizing trade promotions to customizing unique program guidelines, from building effective distribution channels to establishing transparent and objective B2B communication—CMR helps businesses maximize their marketing efforts with distributing partners that is built around a common goal of success. Our cost-effective SaaS application is the perfect tool for any business looking to strengthen their bond with channel partners through innovative solutions, which converts data into intelligence