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6 Common Qualities of Successful Channel Incentive Programs

Successful channel partner incentive programs do have several things in common

Relayware Partner Relationship Management

6 Common Qualities of Successful Channel Incentive Programs

When it comes to channel incentive programs, one size does not fit all. Different rewards motivate different levels of performers. Incentives also vary based on products or services being sold, the complexity and length of the sales cycle, product value, and the state of the market.

Successful incentive programs do have several things in common, however. These six come first to mind:

Simplicity: In a contest between rival solutions being sold by the same channel partner, the one that wins is not necessarily the one that's most remunerative. It can also be the one whose targets are easiest to understand, or the one whose vendor makes it easiest for channel partners to document their progress toward that target. It may be the one whose rewards and levels are clearest.

Consistency: Good incentive programs don't revise the rules every year; frequent change doesn't build loyalty.

Proportionality: Incentives should match the time and effort they demand; recognition and smaller rewards for training and sales calls, larger rewards for certification and major sales wins.

Granularity: Well planned incentive programs drill down to the individual, and to all (or most) of the touchpoints between partner and customer or prospect. This level of detail allows vendors to encourage every step taken between query or lead and sale. It also gives vendors more data points when assessing and modeling the best sales strategies per market, or the most fruitful partner activity.

Mileposts: Channel partners want to know where they stand at all times, and often where they stand relative to peers. Assigning points to such activities as demos and sales calls not only gives channel partners a "score" that encourages friendly competition, it can also reward such activities without substantially increasing cost of sales. Points or rewards -- as well as channel-wide recognition -- should also accrue for passing tests or earning certifications that strengthen a reseller's expertise in your brand. And paying directly to individual channel sales reps or teams wins more loyalty than paying the channel organization.

Easy Access to Appropriate Resources: Vendors should prepare the sales sheets, scripts, proposal templates, competitive analysis, market trend data, and web sites that support the channel and make their business case to prospects. Equally important, they should make them all easy for partners to find and if needed, customize.