Incentra Insights

Best Practices in Channel Sales Incentive Programs

Posted by David Chittock on Aug 17, 2015 12:37:00 PM

Best practices in channel incentives

How Do You Know if You Have Them?

Channel marketing and reseller programs are becoming more competitive than ever.  If you don’t have a world class program, you may find your sales performance is in deep trouble.  A recent Channel Marketer Report could help you determine if you’re not using Best Practices.  In the report, the author claims that if a channel sales incentive program is structured incorrectly and with little control or direction, it most likely won’t be successful. The author goes on to describe several factors that contribute to an incentive program missing the mark and not achieving the desired outcome.

Factors Impeding Successful Incentive Programs

  • There was never a formal desired outcome in the first place. Your program lacks goals and objectives that are specific, actionable and measurable. Without a quantifiable objective and stated impact to the business, you have no way to know where you are going. You need to clearly understand what your end game is in order to get buy-in from your sales partner.
  • Strategy means nothing if it’s not carefully executed and managed. If you’re not continually managing and monitoring your partner’s sales activities, your program is likely to fail.  You need to ensure that milestones are being met, continuous feedback is being provided, and program reviews and updates are scheduled regularly.  These actions are essential to your program’s success.

  • Your goals don’t align with a partner’s business objectives. If you and your channel partners are not goal aligned, your program simply won’t succeed.  You need to work with your channel partners to define what success will look like for both organizations.  With everyone on the same page, you’ll be able to create measurable activities and milestones that will ensure success

  • Your program is one size fits all. This can be a death knell for incentive programs.  You will need to adapt your incentive program to fit not only the profile of the partner company, but also of the individual sales reps.  This will take some real planning and collaboration with your partners, but the efforts will truly pay off, Sales reps are individuals with different needs, wants, and desires.  You’ll need to find out what best motivates different individuals.

So What Constitutes Best Practices?

Along with a winning strategy and detailed plan, you’re going to need a robust and flexible technology platform to ensure your program is adhering to Best Practices.  Some of the attributes you need to look for in a technology platform are the following capabilities:

  • Aligns your incentive program with your business plan

  • Provides consistency and control of incentive activity and timing

  • Enables reporting and tracking of ROI and partner performance

  • Enhances product and brand knowledge

  • Tailors promotions to specific sales team and individuals

  • Tracks performance through target trackers and league tables

  • Provides sales and marketing support

  • Facilitates the reward and fulfillment process 

  • Provides access to relevant incentives at sales person level

  • Speeds up time to market

  • Enables a collaborative approach to marketing

A Winning Combination

If you have the right strategy, a solid plan, and a world class technology platform, you can rest assured your channel partner incentive program is following Best Practices.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  You just have to find the right technology partner.  Go ahead, check us out.

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Categories: Sales Incentives