A guest blog from Del Heles, CEO/President Computer Market Research
Del is a global leader in Channel data management solutions and a software marketing automation executive with over 40 years of experience. He brings extensive experience to the Channel including: Channel POS, inventory data collection, co-op/MDF management, deal registration, synchronized channel marketing (SCM), special pricing agreements, Channel gamification, SPIFF management, and more.
How to Design a Robust Channel Incentive Strategy
The Channel is not for the faint of heart. Saturated with competition, jargon-infused technicalities, vague program guidelines, erroneously submitted rebate claims, unidentifiable end-customers, miscommunication — and a catalog of other complications — indirect sales can be frustrating. Thankfully when armed with a solid Channel incentive strategy, things look up – quickly.
Once mastered, if that’s possible, the Channel presents B2B companies with an embarrassment of opportunity; a corporate landscape littered with the potential to reach new buyers in market segmentation; an intangible vehicle that helps businesses enter overseas markets, reduce overhead cost of in-house sales, expand brand awareness, and remove purchasing obstacles for end-users.
If you’re in the early stages of designing an effective indirect sales model or struggling to establish yourself as a fruitful enterprise within the Channel, here are 4 tips you can implement into your Channel incentive strategy:
1. SWOT analysis
Before deploying an indirect sales program it’s imperative to develop a comprehensive understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that go into your offering.
Sample SWOT Analysis:
2. Executive backing
When designing your channel incentive strategy and program you will most likely need approval. Before approaching C-level support, have a clear understanding of the program’s short and long-term potential. Answering these three questions will help formulate your pitch:
- How will the program affect company profit margins, and cash flow?
- What are the needs for additional employees, resources, and policies (e.g., credit policy)?
- What is the value proposition and bottom line of your Channel incentive strategy?
3. Fine-tune your pitch
In addition to executive support, you need buy-in from Channel partners. Put yourself in your Partners’ shoes and consider:
- What type of offering would enthuse your Partners to participate?
- How does your Channel program(s) ensure a profitable opportunity?
- What are the long-term benefits of partnering with your organization?
- How will you assist in the sales (opportunity-lead-conversion) process? (Examples: product training, funds for marketing, assist in customer service)
4. Deploy the right Channel program
Each unique Channel partnership deserves a cohesive Channel incentive strategy. When designing and implementing yours it’s important to carefully review current Partners’ indirect sales history. In other words, it’s important to know:
- Which Channel program(s) have they used in the past?
- Which Channel programs present the most opportunity or failure?
- Which areas of marketing do they struggle with?
- Are there issues in turnaround time on rebates or claims?
- What is their experience and knowledge in using a Partner portal platform?
- Are they motivated by or interested in gamification?
- What type of marketing support do they need do or want?
- Online marketing kit
- Demo units/test drive products/samples
- Deal registration
- Distributor claim management
Answering these questions gives the basic structure of how to angle your pitch with current and potential Channel Partners and executives as you move forward with creating a robust Channel incentive strategy.
Looking for more information on Channel Partner Enablement? Check out these blogs: