As America begins to re-open its doors post-pandemic, the economy has officially moved into a recession. For businesses operating in the B2B channel, economic downturns often signal a cut back on spending, meaning investment in areas such as incentive programs and overall channel sales strategy will suffer.
According to President and CEO of Incentive Solutions, Mark Herbert, maintaining a strong channel sales strategy during this time is crucial, encouraging sales and channel enablement to not only fend off closure but to keep business growing. Published in ACHR News, Mark’s article “Why a Channel Incentive Program is More Important Now Than Ever,” dives into the benefits of incentives, both inside and outside of an economic recession, and why now is an ideal time to revisit your channel sales strategy.
The Importance of Channel Sales Strategy
Mark begins his argument for research and development of channel sales strategy by citing Forrester Research’s findings: 75% of world trade is currently traveling through a sales channel.
In other words, the sales channel is a vast, powerful tool servicing hundreds of industries, meaning a channel sales strategy is never a wrong choice.
When it comes to the HVAC industry, manufacturers and distributors are reliant on the sales channel to move their product, meaning the power to outsell their competition is passed to contractors and other channel partners facilitating the sale to the end-user:
"More often than not, [a] homeowner has placed the entirety of their buying power into the hands of their contractor, trusting they are well- versed in the current product market. By acknowledging this power source and incentivizing the dealers, contractors, vendors, and resellers who hold it, channel incentive programs begin to work their magic.”
Benefits of Channel Incentive Programs
Mark goes on to list the incentive strategy of a channel incentive program as it aligns with overall sales strategy, providing rewards for total sales volume, specified inventory based on age and price, and even cross-sales and referrals.
As he explains, channel incentive programs go beyond the simple reward of a sale, providing avenues for:
- the collection of channel partner data;
- increased customer retention;
- streamlined communication via a digital marketing platform; and
- channel enablement through online channel partner training.
Channel Sales Strategy Moving Forward
Whether it is a recession with resulting budget cuts, or social-distancing practices leading to fewer sales opportunities, cultivating a channel sales strategy to fit the current landscape is key to your company’s success moving forward. As Mark explains, “this means investing in creative solutions to assure your brand comes to mind when these limited channel opportunities arise. “
With the creation of a channel incentive program, channel partner communication is not only easy but more effective thanks to channel incentive software:
“Be it through email, mobile app notifications, or the reward site’s homepage, your brand can continue the seamless connection that builds customer relationships. You can also collect important partner feedback through the issuance of surveys and structure motivating promotions that can be achieved despite the current market state.”
By identifying your company’s goals, and aligning it with channel partner feedback, you can construct or adapt your channel sales strategy to make the most of the current channel landscape.
Is a Channel Incentive Program Right for Your Business?
Whether or not you’re ready to answer that question just yet, you can always stand to do a little more research. Check out Incentive Solutions’ latest releases and top channel incentive articles for more information on what we do and how (well!) we do it!