When a business is in partnership with channel partners, it is necessary to have a good channel incentive program. This will help boost channel sales and increase revenue and profitability of the business. However, to ensure that the program runs properly, it is necessary for the businesses to follow best practices. These practices involve many things, such as setting goals, proper communication, and rewarding end customers appropriately.
Here are some of the best practices for having a successful channel incentive program:
Involvement of senior management
It is a must for the senior management of the sales department to be involved in all aspects of the program. The person should have the authority to make decisions, ensure proper allocation of resources, and scrutinize the channel incentive program and make changes to it as and when needed. Without such a person, the program will be doomed.
Defining business and sales goals
All the sales and business goals should be listed precisely, coherently and clearly to avoid confusion. The sales force and other associated workers should know what the department’s goals are and why it is necessary for everyone to work as a team to achieve those goals.
Have well defined employee structure
It is important that all participants know what each one is responsible for. Having a flow chart of the incentives program that depicts the way work flows and the necessary behaviors and skills required for each responsibility is also a good way to move forward. This does not leave any scope for misunderstanding and every individual in the department is aware what their responsibilities are and to whom they should report.
Select partners and products
It is a good idea to target promising partners rather than targeting all of them together. Also, set realistic expectations and keep things simple for your channel partners. It is also advisable to focus incentives on a few products rather than entire catalog. This will do away with complications and make it easier for the sales force and channel partners to focus on those few products. As a result, the channel partners and sales force will concentrate on these products and ensure that they are promoted the maximum amongst customers. This, in turn, will help to increase channel sales and also the revenue of the company.
Set appropriate rewards
Make sure that people participating in the channel incentive program are rewarded appropriately. This means that they should be aware what rewards they can get and when. It is important to have a budget for the program, so that rewards can be met via the budget. The sales force should be aware of the rewards, so that they can convey it to channel partners accordingly. The rewards should be motivating and interesting for the partners.
It is important for the businesses to constantly communicate channel incentive program to channel partners. This can be done via newsletters, emails, printed catalogs, and even displaying it on the business’ website. The more frequently channel partners are informed about the program; the more willing they would be to participate in it. This will help increase channel sales and increase the profitability and revenue of the company.
Analyze the program and data
Channel sales are pretty fluid and keep changing on a daily basis. Hence, it is important to keep analyzing the channel incentive program and its data to understand how the program is running. You can take help of channel management software such as Partner Portals and PRM solutions to analyze data. Be open to make changes and alterations in the program to ensure its success. At times, promotions and special events may be necessary to keep the channel incentive program running successfully. Through proper analysis all these measures can be adopted and improved upon.
Walt Robertson discusses the importance of channel incentives program and best practices that businesses must incorporate to ensure the success of program and to improve channel sales. For more information on best practices of channel management, click here.