Keeping channel incentives relevant and personalising your partner programs

Posted by Dan Kelly

Some of the questions up for discussion at Channel Focus North America this week are:

Are standard channel incentives losing their relevance?

Your partners are not the same so shouldn’t your programs reflect this?

The topics will be covered in a session at the 22nd anniversary of the conference in California – the world’s leading event for people building and developing channels for companies in the IT and telecom industries. Ahead of attending the event, our Global Development Director, Dan Kelly, gives his views on the importance of keeping your channel incentives relevant and tailoring your programs to suit your partners.

Changing times for technology vendors

The IT and technology sector is changing. Vendors of computer software are moving from consumers buying physical products, like CD-based software, to cloud-based software packages. As a result, more software companies are getting involved in selling into the industry. Resellers have more choice of the products they want to sell, and vendors have more competition.

While the power was once in the vendor’s hands, now, with more choice of products to sell, it is shifting to the reseller. Consequently, the standard incentive is just not going to cut it when trying to get a reseller on board and keeping them engaged.

Keeping channel incentives relevant is about taking a personalised approach – creating a personalised journey for your partner and tailoring your incentive to suit their participants

Find out more about our channel incentive schemes

The tiered approach and the problems with it

Standard incentives are concerned with what a vendor can offer a reseller to encourage them to sell more  – including discounts, rebates, marketing development funds (MDF), and rewards programs.

When it comes to standard incentives like rewards programs, traditionally, many vendors have tiered their resellers under a bronze, silver and gold category. The tiering is dependent on a range of criteria such as the size of their sales team and their trading experience.

As partners are put into categories, they follow a one-size-fits-all approach, depending on their tier – where the objectives and goals are the same for all partners on that tier, meaning all participants are limited to the incentives on their tier, whether they’re right for them or not.

The glaring problem with this approach is not all partners are the same. They have different assets and needs and bring different things to a partnership.

We are CR Worldwide

Brands of all types trust us with their channel incentives

See how our channel incentives can drive your business performance

Taking a personalised approach

We’re seeing vendors starting to turn this approach on its head – where channel incentives are created so they’re the right fit for the reseller, rather than providing tiers to fit the each one into.

As a vendor, doing this demonstrates that you’re thinking about the partner as an individual company, and that you’re considering the definition of a partnership a two-way relationship. In line with this, it also sends the message: if you invest in us, we’ll invest in you.

Thinking about your partner as a stand-alone company, rather than putting them into a tiered category, is about taking a personalised approach – creating a personalised journey for your partner and tailoring your incentive to suit their participants. Your channel incentive program should reflect this. It should keep the partner in mind and consider what’s right for them – their needs and their team, right down to the type of rewards program you provide.

With this approach, a vendor can help give their partner what they need to sell their products the best way they can. From the right training and tools to the right resources and rewards, partners can be kept engaged and their sales channel teams motivated to sell.

Getting the most from your partnership

In answering the questions to be discussed at this year’s Channel Focus North America event – because of changing times in the IT and technology sector, it seems that yes, standard incentives in the industry are losing their relevance. Channel partners are all have different needs, so, yes, your programs should reflect this.

In channel sales, the reseller needs the vendor‘s products and brand messaging, just as the vendor needs the reseller’s support in selling said products. The relationship is mutually beneficial.

At CR Worldwide, our channel incentive programs consider exactly that. They aim to benefit both partners, from driving a high level of engagement to motivate reseller sales teams, to making a vendor stand out from its competition and increasing their product sales.

We can quickly design, launch and optimise effective channel incentive programmes that drive increased sales for your business. Our channel incentive schemes are:

 Easy to implement — Our turnkey MyRewards platform can be tailored to suit your requirements, meaning you can be ready to implement incentive schemes quickly.

 Easy to use — Our platforms are made to be quick to launch and easy to understand, so your sales channel teams can meet their targets, view potential rewards, and chart their progress towards winning them.

 Easy to manage — Our programmes offer real-time reporting in participation with ROI and budget management. This makes managing, organising, tracking performance and assessing the value of your incentive schemes simple.

We’d love to excite, engage and inspire your sales channel partners with our channel incentive schemes. 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.