Even the most successful channel incentive programs likely have some room for improvement. In all likelihood, there are gaps in your program that could be preventing it from reaching its full potential. In a previous post, we covered a few of those gaps. Here are some additional areas that potentially have room for improvement.
Is your incentive program is getting the most sales bang for your reward buck? Check out our white paper Are You Running a Smart Channel Incentive Program? to find out.
You don’t pay out rewards quickly enough.
This is one of the biggest complaints that program participants tend to have about the promotions in which they participate. There are loads of channel incentive programs out there that give great rewards, but it takes a month (or more) for the program participants to receive what’s owed to them. You may not allow participants to submit claims prior to the promotion close date, or perhaps you have far too many “behind the scenes” validation and approval processes in place that further delay reward payouts. Consider implementing a rolling structure that pays “as you earn” ensures that your indirect sales reps continue to participate in your incentive promotions, as they will continuously see an increase in the rewards they’ve earned versus having to wait for weeks to get the cumulative amount. This sort of structure requires the implementation of some automated processes that confirm the validity of the claims submitted.
Your program communication is inconsistent or nonexistent.
It’s one thing to put a sign up on the wall of a participating dealer or retailer that advertises a SPIF or “top seller” award for the month, but, in all likelihood, the program participants will glance at it and, if they’re not the top sellers already, they’ll ignore it. Are you sending a one-off email to participants letting them know that they’re eligible for a promotion, but then ignoring them until the final days? Are participants able to track their progress on their own, or do they have to contact you to get a read on what they’ve achieved during the promotion? Questions like these can be answered with simple pulse surveys of your participants, especially if they enable you to find out what roadblocks are in place that are keeping participants from, well, participating. In addition, make sure you change things up within your program. If you’re using a platform to run your program, leverage communications tools to keep participants up to date, whether it be via personal notifications, messages, or additions to program or promotion graphics or copy. Constant communication is key for any effective channel incentive program.
Your channel partners don’t truly understand your products.
If you’re launching a new product or product set, it’s imperative that your channel partners understand how to sell the product(s) in order to make an impact on the bottom line. The key is to provide regular training on both the product features as well as the best ways of selling said products. Offer a reward for successfully completing the training to increase the chances that your participants will actually absorb what you’re telling them, whether it’s via a monetary reward (“get $25 if you pass this quiz!”) or allowing them to participate in an exclusive promotion.
You’re using program data ineffectively.
The most successful channel incentive programs require ongoing analysis of the KPIs set prior to program launch (which were discussed in the previous post on channel incentive program gaps. Promotions run within the overall channel incentive program should not be standalone; that is, you can’t just plan it, let it run and complete, view the results, then move on to the next promotion. Instead, you have to be making tweaks and even, perhaps, pivoting as you go along. And at the end of the promotion, you need to see if your total spend generated the ROI you expected. If it didn’t, analyze the data to find out why. If it exceeded expectations, see how you can make the next promotion even better.
No successful channel incentive program has a “set it and forget it” model. By preparing properly, launching with the right amount of excitement-generating activity, monitoring progress as you go along, and figuring out what works and what doesn’t will ensure that you reduce these gaps in your program—and generate some big dollars for your company.
WorkStride can help you fill in the gaps in your channel incentive program with advanced segmentation, varied promotion types, and great rewards. Schedule a demo now!