What Defines Successful Channel Incentive Programs?

by: Luke Kreitner February 13, 2017

Given the variables involved, no two successful channel incentive programs will be exactly alike. Different people find motivation through different types of incentives, and the rewards can focus on a wide range of products and services. Even the individuals targeted for motivation can differ from one example to the next.

At the same time, some qualities are common among the best channel incentive programs out there. The most important factor is always going to be the blueprint of the program. Regardless of the specific rewards offered, certain elements should be present if you want it to be successful.

Successful Channel Incentive Programs Are Simple

The most sought-after solutions available to channel partners might not necessarily be the ones that offer the most value. In some cases, the incentives that are easiest to understand can be the winners. This also applies to those that make documenting progress toward a target simpler. In fact, a clear picture of what a person is working toward can in itself be an effective form of motivation. Versions that require too much effort to grasp can be an obstacle to channel partners, which is the opposite of what you want to achieve.

Simplicity matters—not only in the general makeup of a program—but also in the behavior you aim to motivate. Driving complicated behavior is something you shouldn't expect of your channel incentives if you want them to work. Participants need to understand what you need from them. On that note, it is better to have groups of people focused wholly on specific areas as opposed to an entire operation. Clear objectives and goals, with easily understood paths to achieving them, will allow your incentives to elevate the productivity of your channel.

Channel Milestones Should be Clear, and Should Also Feature a Focus on Smaller Groups

It shouldn't be only about the endgame when it comes to driving channel behavior. It's also about reinforcing the right practices, which is why milestones are an essential element to emphasize. Transparency between channel partners and their peers can also develop a culture of doing the right thing — milestones and visibility are two aspects that can go hand in hand.

Point systems that reward activities like participating in sales calls or earning certifications could encourage a healthy kind of competition while also strengthening the expertise of the partners. Additionally, channel-wide visibility and recognition can create a new level of motivation. Beyond that, rewarding individuals and small teams can inspire more loyalty than a general approach.

A well-designed channel incentive program will touch on most (or all) the various points between channel partners and customers. This small-scale focus grants you the ability to use incentives to encourage every step between the starting point and the actual sale. This also provides the means for more in-depth information during the analysis and improvement push for sales.

Resources Need to Be Available, Both to Channel Partners and to You

Information should always be readily available to channel partners. When vendors prepare documents, ranging from proposal templates and market trend reports all the way to sales scripts and helpful website lists, these resources should be available to everyone else on the channel. Other partners can utilize them as needed and even customize them to suit their specific needs. Incentivizing this kind of behavior can bring about desirable results. Beyond making processes more convenient across the channel, this is a form of knowledge-sharing that can keep partners aware of new developments and practices.

Data should also be coming back to you; as without knowledge of what is going on, you can't assess the impact of your incentive program. Gaining information from the various channel points will allow you to analyze the effectiveness of the program. This is essential for determining if changes or adjustments need to happen. Sometimes there will be some trial and error involved when you're implementing a new program. To ensure your changes are a reflection of what it will take for improvement, you'll need to stay informed every step of the way.

Let Our Team of Experts Take Your Channel Incentive Programs to the Next Level

For more information on successful channel incentive programs and how you can get the most out of your channel, don't hesitate to contact our team at Incentive Solutions. Developing effective and successful channel incentive programs is what we do best, and we are dedicated to your business growth. We can help you put together a program that brings your channel together and improves its effectiveness across the board. Get in touch with us online or give us a call at (866) 567-7432 today!