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Relayware Partner Relationship Management

Metrics You Might Miss: Individual Reward Programs vs. Organizational Incentives

Posted on April 10, 2014 by Chris Bucholtz

If you’re thinking about incentives the right way, you see them as a way to motivate partners toward a behavior you want them to continue even after the incentive is gone. In other words, you want to steer them toward a behavior that’s good for both you and the partner through an incentive, and then ideally the partner should recognize that behavior’s profitable for him even when there’s no incentive attached to it.

How do you recognize when that’s happening? And how do you spot uses of incentives that are merely padding your partners’ bank accounts?

The answers are contained in your PRM application. Examine the performance of partner personnel who have received incentives and look for “before and after” trends. If those partner employees continued to sell your products at a similar rate, or kept digging deeper into training, or perpetuated any behavior you were aiming for with your incentive, it’s working. If there’s a spike in this activity that correlates to the incentive – and a drop-off after the incentive ends – you need to examine your incentive and the partners who exhibited that behavior. The same holds true for partner organizations.

Correlating incentive-driven behaviors between individuals within partner organizations and organization-wide behaviors can also provide a revelation. You may discover a partner whose entire staff gets the ideas you’re incenting – if these partners are silver or bronze level, they may merit additional attention and investment. Similarly, if a top-tier partner has one or two “stars” who seize on the behaviors you’re incenting, but the partner as a whole reverts to old behaviors when the incentive ends, you may need to reevaluate that partner – or at least speak to leadership about the fact that the partner’s missing opportunities for greater revenues.

This correlation is also important in a more introspective way. If you see inconsistent results across the board from all of your partners, you need to re-examine how you’re trying to incent your partners. If the behaviors you’re trying to encourage are tactical – in other words, trying to boost flagging numbers in a quarter or move a product suffering from sluggish sales – you’re setting up a situation where incentives are used to motivate basic behaviors partners should already be engaged in. In other words, you’re paying them to do what they already do. Checking this behavior early can save you a lot of money and allow you to divert incentive funds toward more productive activities.