How to get buy-in and engagement from your channel partners

Posted by Dan Kelly

Part of what make a channel incentive program effective is how well a channel partner buys into and engages with it. It’s all very well having a good incentive scheme to help your channel partner sell your products.

But if they aren’t engaged, they’re less likely to feel motivated and incentivised to perform to the best of their abilities to give you the results you want.

So how do you get buy-in and engagement from your channel partners? This article looks at what to consider to make sure your channel incentive program is fully effective and delivers results.

Aligning with goals and targets

When aiming to get buy-in and channel engagement, the first thing to think about is making sure your incentive program doesn’t just align with your goals, but your channel’s goals too. For instance, your channel partners will probably have targets to hit of their own, such as for volume of products or seasonal items. Or employees might be given objectives to improve their sales skills and techniques for all the brands they sell for. 

You should also consider reviewing recent statistics you have on your sales channel’s performance, or positive reviews you have received on the team and individual employee. Once you know what your current baseline is in terms of performance, you can set a target for employees to strive towards that fits their goals.

Rewarding partners and individuals

This is a big part of getting a channel to buy into your scheme. You shouldn’t just think about rewarding your channel team. There are ways to reward your channel partner businesses and individual team members too, helping to make your sales go further.

With a channel incentive, you can reward both your partner’s team and their business. For instance, you can provide:

  • Incentives and rewards for the channel team and for individuals
  • Help and support for a partner such as a marketing development fund (MDF), training and increased product knowledge

Incentives like this can motivate and maintain the momentum of top performers, while providing partners with ways to motivate and upskill the whole team to give them the best results.

Knowing your audience

To engage an audience, you need to know and understand it. The same can be said of your sales channel. This includes understanding their:

  • Business, brand and day-to-day operation
  • Aims and objectives – daily and long-term goals
  • Challenges and plans to overcome them
  • Team and how they work
  • Approach to sales and selling techniques

Understanding and paying attention to your sales channel team is a key way to stand out from your competitors and offer an incentive scheme that’s well suited to it.

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Personalising rewards

Offering channel teams something they like can be a great way to stand out from your competitors and show you know your audience.

Good examples of this are personal rewards that are based on their likes and interests. Personalising a reward means the incentive is something individually suited to a team member. For instance, sports equipment for the sports fanatic on the team, or a night on the West End for the team theatre lover.

Doing this shows partner teams that you’ve thought about how your incentive will fit with your channel team, making them feel more understood and valued on a personal level.

Considering your comms strategy

Engaging your channel is also about having a good communications strategy. This includes to promote and launch your incentive program. This could involve a:

SPIF or hype day – Sales Promotion Incentive Fun days or hype days are days to drum up hype and excitement across your channel. This could involve games held throughout a specific day, to help launch your incentive program, where channel employees can win prizes for hitting different sales targets. You can learn more about this in our blog, What is a SPIF day.

Team event or day out – You could take your channel team out to enjoy a team activity, like abseiling or an experience day, such as the chance to go white water rafting. Such experiences will create memories associated with your brand, helping to keep it front of mind.

Marketing campaign – This could involve different ways to promote your incentive program. For instance, in your company newsletter or by setting up an information booth for employees at your partners’ businesses.

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Helping you to keep your channel partners engaged

The right approach is crucial in helping your channel partners to buy into and engage with your incentive program. This can reap major rewards for your channel partners and your business – from encouraging your sales channel teams to prioritise your products and services above others, to keeping your brand front of mind. You can learn more about how to get channel partners to buy into your incentives in our new ebook.

At CR Worldwide, we quickly design, launch and optimise powerful and unique e-learning programs, with gamification elements, which can engage your employees, improve performance and drive your business forward. Our unique incentivised learning programs also combine all this with a rewards system, such as an existing employee recognition program or sales incentive scheme. Our e-learning programs are:

Easy to implement — Tailored to suit your requirements, meaning you can be ready to implement your online learning scheme quickly.

Easy to use — Made to be straightforward, interesting and engaging, so your staff can win rewards as they complete training and apply their new knowledge to their daily roles.

Easy to manage — They offer real-time reporting in participation with ROI and budget management. This means you can efficiently manage, organise and track your team’s performance as they complete training and build their knowledge, allowing you to get the most value from your online learning program.

We’d love to excite, engage, inspire and upskill your staff with our unique online learning programs. To speak to a member of our award-winning team:

As a founding partner of CR Worldwide in 2002, Dan helped develop the company from a start-up business into the multi-million global brand it is today.