We are currently living through one of the biggest societal shifts most of us have ever encountered. But is it business as usual in the channel?
During this lockdown, the majority of the usually office-based world has shifted to a physically siloed way of working. Luckily people have the opportunity to communicate and operate through the technical innovations that have graced us, which has limited disturbances to the usual day-to-day processes of the business, and meant that for the channel it’s ‘business as usual.’
However even if all operations have a like-for-like solution, there’s still an important ingredient that must be prioritised; engagement. It is now more important than ever before for vendors to keep partner engagement high. It’s a crucial time for businesses to ensure they’re limiting the impact of the lockdown, and ensuring partner sales reps are engaged and motivated is key to this. But where do you start? Follow these four simple steps:
Step 1 : Embrace a new mantra
Start by establishing this as your new mantra; Activate, Amplify, Satisfy.
- Activate engagement by planning simple, fun ways to increase knowledge transfer.
- Amplify your mission by establishing an ‘always on’ presence in the minds of sales reps.
- Satisfy sales people through recognition or reward.
With this at the forefront of your mind, you’ll be set.
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Step 2: Plan your way to victory
Next, aim to align the key targets and goals you and your partner want to achieve. This also means aligning your SPIFs to the quarterly business plan. In addition to this, outline and think about the modern buyer’s journey and how can you help the sales reps support that journey at every stage.
Ensure you have a clear idea of how you’ll support the ‘Activate, Amplify, Satisfy’ mantra by planning how to best structure challenges to motivate sales people. Undergoing training, sharing product information with prospects, sharing company posts, increasing webinar attendees, logging opportunities early and of course closed business are all relevant examples of where you can encourage desired behaviours and subsequently recognise and reward these.
It’s also important to make rewards attainable, relevant and deliverable. Trips or team events aren’t particularly useful in today’s climate however gift cards or merchandise that can be delivered to your door through an online rewards fulfilment store would be more appropriate.
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Step 3: Add ladders and remove barriers to success
Evaluate where you can streamline processes and make things easier for your partners. For example, rather than having several tools to deliver different aspects of your plan – find one that ticks all the boxes. Sales people’s time is precious, help them by making everything accessible through a central engagement and rewards platform.
Having all resources to support discussions with prospects, as well as performance trackers and social achievement tools (e.g. leaderboards, badges) in one place means there are several different reasons to keep going back and engaging with the plan.
Step 4: Share the success with your partners
With the business leaders, reinforce the commitment you have made to help your partner’s business succeed and the ROI that your investments can deliver. This will showcase the value of this approach for future programmes that you may wish to run.
Equally, when the sales people achieve a micro-challenge, celebrate this with them and if possible others. Use these moments to create excitement through recognition of what good looks like. Success is infectious, if people see others achieve and be rewarded one of two things will happen; they will want a piece of the action, they will become competitive. This healthy competition, motivation, and team spirit is exactly what we need to foster during these times.
Now is the time for vendors to take a close look at their activity and ask themselves “in this time of crisis, is this going to get me to my end goal quickly?” If not, drop it and move to something that will get results, fast!