Channel Enablement Channel Partner Marketing

When Was the Last Time You Took a Second Look at Your Incentive Program?

In a recent Forrester blog post, “Channel Software Tech Stack 2020 – PRM, TCMA, Ecosystem, Incentives, Channel Data, Learning, Readiness, and Pricing” author Jay McBain, Principle Analyst, Channel Partnerships & Alliances, breaks down 159 companies across 7 categories that help support and facilitate the programs necessary to drive indirect sales – sales of goods and services bought online and offline through a partner. One of the categories defined is Channel Incentives Management (CIM). The post highlights the category as inclusive of the following:

“Manages design, allocation, tracking, and distribution of financial incentives to the partner ecosystem, including market development funds (MDFs), sales performance incentive funds (SPIFs), co-ops, bonuses, rebates, price protection, channel sales compensation, and loyalty programs. It includes behavioral tactics such as gamification, micro-incentives, and nonmonetary and motivational incentives.”

That’s a lot in just one category and it begs the question, when was the last time you took a second look at your incentive program(s)?

Distributed sales models provide a significant revenue stream for brands but understanding exactly what motivates your partners and drives the best revenue and growth outcomes for you is often complex. Programs can lack in automation or integration. Sometimes they don’t provide the best user experience for the partner (or the brand). And often times, they are hard to effectively measure.

Watch Now: The Latest Thinking on Partner Incentives

As partner ecosystems evolve and the market for goods and services continues to ebb, there are a few things you can do to transform your incentive programs:

  1. Consolidate. Offering partners the best experience possible starts with streamlining disparate solutions and processes. It also goes a long way in driving a data driven incentive strategy. Manual processes and a lack of automation can then be addressed through technology ensuring ease of use for both the brand and the partner.
  2. Evolve. Seek to understand the motivations of all those in your partner ecosystem (transacting and non-transacting partners) to provide the best incentive to reward for behavior that drive net new logos and retain existing customers and clients. Break down and build back up the customer lifecycle to find areas of opportunity and consider benefits and incentives based on those milestones. Don’t be afraid to change – program pivots to better lead-to-revenue efforts is now part of program evolution.
  3. Show and Tell. Lead your partners down the path necessary for them to attain incentives and clearly communicate payment/benefit status. Personalized communication, gamification, and partner input all serve as levers to drive program adoption and relevancy. Don’t forget to ensure you have the support structure in place you need to truly execute a channel incentive program across the globe – language translation, global payments, automated rules engines, role-based communications.
  4. Measure. Consider the following metrics of success for your programs and plan to measure and analyze data in real-time. NOTE: Metrics can (and should) be qualitative and quantitative!
    • Engagement (Logins, Enrollments, Points Redeemed, Incentives Claimed)
    • Onboard (% of Partner Enrollment, Timeframe to Enroll)
    • Growth (Sales Increase Y/Y, Avg. Order Size, Order Frequency, ROI)
    • Retention (Participation Retention Rate, Repeat Program/Promotion Participants)
  5. Compliance. Don’t forget about driving operational efficiency by including multiple stakeholders across finance, sales, and marketing. Ensure all government compliance and auditing requirements are part of program planning. Global payment and claim automation can further ensure program transparency and accuracy. If your program doesn’t have a seamless, electronic, AR/AP process for payables that is multi-currency, it’s time to take a second look at your Channel enablement technology stack.

The best channel software stack will facilitate a global brand-partner experience. Ansira Channel combines services and industry-leading technology uniquely designed to empower more partner sales, drive loyalty, and enable a modern approach to fund management.

Let us know if you’d like to take a second look at your incentive programs together – we’re motivated by the unique needs of every client program. And, if you’re not ready yet but want to learn more, watch this recent panel session from the Channel Focus Virtual Event titled: The Latest Thinking on Partner Incentives.

By Courtney Jane Acuff

Courtney is responsible for the go-to-market strategy and execution to support the Ansira brand across owned and paid activities including analyst relations, sponsorships, paid media, owned events, organic channels, and public relations. She's also the former Channel Partner Marketing Solution lead and has a passion for all brands with distributed sales networks.