Incentive Solutions recently took part in an industry-wide study on channel incentive management. The study, conducted by Forrester's Jay McBain (Principal Analyst, Channel Partnerships & Alliances), aimed to define the channel sales and marketing challenges that incentive programs can help solve. Equipped with this knowledge, channel sales professionals can gain a better understanding of how to structure their programs and what to expect from their incentive program providers.
In a recent article, McBain identified these as the main challenges channel professionals are up against:
- Channel partners do business with more and more companies, making mindshare more difficult to gain.
- Channel partners report feeling overwhelmed by too many incentive programs that don't feel important to them.
- The demographic, and thus the expectations, of channel partners is evolving. Millennials are expected to make up 75% of the channel by 2024.
- Channel program managers once focused on set-discount- or percentage-of-revenue-type targets. But today's mix of transacting versus non-transacting partners means managers have to focus on influencers, advocates, and alliances.
Consulting Incentive Solutions and other channel incentive providers, McBain was able to get a scope of the incentive technology and services that can help with the above pain points. The ideal incentive program can help channel marketers and sales professionals accomplish the following:
- Use rewards to encourage real changes in channel partner behaviors, instead of just reinforcing existing habits.
- Deliver incentives more effectively, using the right mix, level, and frequency to drive more revenue and profit from channel sales.
- Focus on earning customer retention and loyalty by making customer relationships stronger and more meaningful.
- Replace the traditional, tiered model of channel partner programs with “nonlinear ecosystem programs that offer extensive personalization by partner type and customer opportunity.”
- Create effective channel strategies with expert consulting services.
- Funnel more sales data into a single, up-to-date source via integration and data management tools.
For more information, check out the full version of Forrester's channel incentive management study, which covers marketing services, channel technology, partner relationship management, incentive strategies, and more.