Today, cultivating productive partner relationships requires a targeted loyalty program that incents productive partner behaviors and sales – not just the sales themselves. As the number of viable partners continues to decline due to cloud selling capabilities, the competition grows, bringing with it a fierceness and urgency not seen before. This means you face more opponents, while chasing after fewer quality partnerships. Therefore, it’s important your program stands out to potential partners.
The best way to thoroughly understand each of your partners’ specific business models and needs is by conducting a partner profiling exercise, followed by a capacity planning exercise. While ease of doing business has long been important to channel partners, the continued spike in competition for loyal partners has brought it to the forefront for vendors. Successful vendors have focused on timely, targeted communication, engaging partners through social media, blogs, video messages and webcasts, in addition to email. They use these means to showcase top-performers, as well as to share best practices and encourage participation by driving interest in the program.
As a vendor, you should strive to decrease partner effort and increase partner loyalty. A combination of pre- and post-sales rewards will give you the best opportunity to inspire productive behaviors from your partners. Rewarding throughout the entire sales cycle will provide the motivation they need to effectively market and sell your products.
Running a successful global incentive program requires a single incentive platform to manage all program aspects consistently, yet with the ability to make regional/geographical modifications. Contemporary incentive programs reward for pre-sales activities that assure all crucial steps are completed to promote overall sales and marketing effectiveness. These steps activities include:
- Demand generation
- Lead follow-up
- Lead qualification
- Early opportunity registration
- Additional subscriptions
Measuring performance is crucial and it must start from the ground up. Begin by identifying KPIs indicative of a successful program. They should fall into three different buckets – financial, behavioral and programmatic.