Any company who goes to market through channel reps or partners knows the challenge of getting their message heard through the noise of competition. You might have the best product or service out there, but depending on the industry the people selling it might have a hard time differentiating it from similar alternatives. Here’s how to stand out from the crowd:
- Offer Incentives: This one is a no-brainer: go right for the self interest. If I sell x amount of your company’s product, I get y. Incentives can be very effective in the short term while your SPIF is running, but the effect wears off quickly.
- Make it Easy: Your incentive website should be user-friendly and mobile-responsive. Sales reps are usually on the go, and the best time for them to check in with you might be in line at Starbucks or in the car between meetings (not while driving, hopefully!).
- Train Them: Everyone feels more comfortable selling something they can talk intelligently about. Chances are you probably already have a lot of great content about your product that just needs to be repackaged. Short videos are the best way to convey information to your users, but providing helpful PDF’s and other materials for download could also be the difference between having your name at the tip of the tongue vs. your competition’s. You can even give monetary bonuses or social rewards like badges for completing training as an added incentive.
- Support Them: Empathize with your partners—they do not know your product (or maybe even your industry) like you do. Pick up the phone, answer their emails, and make them feel at ease when they’re out there in the trenches presenting your product. You’ll likely become a go-to if they feel the love.
- Build a Community: Salespeople are a competitive bunch, so having features like a leaderboard or social feed where your participants’ accomplishments can be broadcast to all program users is a great way to drive engagement with your site beyond just entering sales and spending rewards. Depending on the industry you may even want to offer a message board where reps can share ideas and success stories with others.
- Communicate: Keep reps and partners up to date on new product releases, changing industry regulations, shifts in the market that could affect their selling strategy, etc. You might not have a new feature coming out or a new SPIF every day, but there is always something else to talk about. Keep them checking back in to your site you for the latest and greatest, or send them regular email newsletters.
- Integrate: We all have way too many passwords and websites to remember. Any company that adds another one to the list is fighting an uphill battle. Integrate your incentive website with other tools your reps are already using, such as your POS, CRM, learning management system, or intranet. The bonus of POS or CRM integration is that incentives can automatically be disbursed without the rep needing to enter the sale.