Channel incentive programs are more complicated than simply throwing random opportunities out there and watching channel sales revenue roll in. You need to position your products in a way that encourages your channel partners to put them to work for both your businesses.
How do you do it? Here are five surprising tips to increase channel partner engagement by creating mutual benefits:
1. Keep your message intact across language and cultural barriers.
Growing global sales channels depends on the ability to communicate clearly. English is not the only language, and American is not the sole English dialect. Make sure you translate your training materials into enough variants to get the right information to your sales partners around the world.
You also need to keep in mind the different cultures in other global business communities. In some areas, you must establish a personal connection before any product training can begin. You can work these elements into incentive plans. In other areas, the timeline from contacting to closing a lead can be vastly different from your own. Training modules need to keep these cultural differences in mind to provide a rich learning experience that will truly benefit your bottom line.
2. Improve ease of access.
On-site training helps your partners see how to sell and use products in their local markets. It gives you an opportunity to learn more about how your products fit into your partners’ plans. In-person relations also boost relationship building. You get to know the real people in charge of putting your business to work in their regions. Unfortunately, it’s also very costly and somewhat limited.
The rise in web-based training, on the other hand, can keep partners updated on the latest and greatest features you have available to them. It's faster and easier to fit into their schedules. The less stress involved, the more likely your partners will be to take advantage of the benefits.
Many options today give partners the ability to connect online through interactive video, mobile applications, web-based training portals and more.
3. Make engagement its own benefit.
Most businesses require partners to complete their training before promoting their products, but that might not be incentive enough to get the ball rolling. In fact, depending on the quality of your training program, that requirement can be a hindrance.
At the same time, in all areas of business, partners create value from training alone. Shingle manufacturers certify contractors who study their product lines, which in turn increase a contractor's trust factor with their own customers. Resorts designate travel agents as specialists for taking part in their learning tours. Across every industry, businesses are rewarding other businesses simply for learning more about their products.
How can your training program increase your partners’ profits?
4. Align your rewards plans with your sales goals.
Successful channel incentive programs require regular tweaking to ensure they’re promoting the best for you and your partner businesses. Microsoft’s incentive programs for cloud-based services underwent a major overhaul. The new plan takes the emphasis away from establishing new accounts and places it instead on encouraging existing customers to use their accounts for more tasks.
Sales incentives that make sense to you will also make more sense to your partners. They'll be able to introduce your products naturally as part of their own sales process. This results in improved sales for both of you.
5. Create sales incentive programs that promote your partners’ sales.
The benefits of any incentive program must be significant enough to motivate your partners to make your growth a priority. You’re not the only business trying to create partnerships. How will promoting your products give your contacts a competitive edge?
The Pella Contractor Program serves as an excellent example of a standout partner program that encourages mutual benefits. With three levels of certification, Pella rewards contractors who sell their products with several advantages aimed at increasing their own sales. For example, the company runs its own lead-gen program and passes those potential clients on to their certified contractors.
Pella also provides their Platinum-certified contractors with access to special homeowner financing and co-op marketing funds to help pay for local advertising. Incentive Solutions can help you develop programs that speak directly to your channel partners no matter where they are in the world.
Enjoy our tips to increase channel partner engagement? Take advantage of our expertise every day in your business. Contact Incentive Solutions for more tips to increase channel partner engagement and solutions tailored to your business today.