07 SEP, 2018

Your Digital Transformation Should Include Your Channel Incentive Program

channel incentives martech marketing stack

The term “digital transformation” can mean a lot of things, but what it boils down to is your ability to install, utilize and fully understand the digital technology that can help you improve your company functions. In the so-called DX economy, failure to embrace such new capabilities could cause you to fall behind your more tech-savvy competitors, as consumers and employees increasingly base their loyalty on whether companies offer the faster, more convenient, more engaging and better personalized services enabled by technology.

Research shows most businesses understand that. For example, Gartner confirms that 31 percent of business leaders worldwide (the highest percentage ever) viewed IT improvements as their most important business priority for 2017-18.

Even some of the most traditional industries—such as manufacturing— are moving into the digital realm within all areas of the business. In a recent Forbes article, Sarah Mannone of Trekk offers the following: “If anyone is going to disrupt the digital space, it’s manufacturing. The extent to which manufacturers decide to play in the digital world…will determine the size of our digital universe. As it expands, we’ll need to figure out how to tend our data, but it’s really up to manufacturers to push those boundaries now.”

Your channel incentive program should “go digital” too

In our 2018 report on the state of channel incentives within manufacturing companies, we found that a whopping 72% of manufacturers in the United States run their channel incentive programs in-house. That means that program administrators are likely dealing with claims that are either mailed in or faxed, juggling spreadsheets to keep activity in order, and struggling with paying out rewards in a timely fashion.


Are you a channel incentive program DIYer? This article dives into the drawbacks in more detail.


One impactful way to digitally transform is to invest in a channel incentive program platform that can effectively motivate your distributors, dealers, contractors, VARs, and other partners to take key actions that drive your business, but which removes many of the day-to-day administrative tasks that are currently eating up valuable man-hours. By choosing the right platform, you can easily gather analytical information about the rewards most likely to work for your partners, then receive real-time data about how your program is working and automatically bestow the rewards to those who’ve earned them. With each campaign, you can optimize data gleaned from your previous campaign to make further improvements that help you reach your goals.

What should you look for? The best platforms allow for complete customization, including selection of the campaigns you’d like to run, the products you wish to feature, the audiences you wish to target, the rewards you wish to provide and the reports you’d like to receive. Your platform of choice should readily manage a full spectrum of rewards, including:

  • volume-based discounts
  • market development funds (MDFs)
  • co-op funds based on sales growth or meeting sales goals
  • tiered sales performance incentive funds (SPIFs)

…or any combination of the above. And to save time and manual labor, it should seamlessly sync with your existing payroll, POS, LMS, PRM and/or CRM systems, depending on your business requirements and how your partners go to market with your goods.

Perhaps most importantly, your channel incentives platform should come ready to use and be easy to understand and operate. It should handle the heavy lifting of administering your channel incentive program, saving you and others the burden of manually tracking outcomes so you can focus on the key functions of your business. In other words, its digital capabilities should transform the way you now engage with your partners.

The truth is, the constant evolution of technology will require most businesses to continuously work on digital transformation. But the good news is, many of those innovations will present significant opportunities for revenue growth.


Want to find out how much ROI you could get by leveraging a third-party software solution for your channel incentive program? Try out our interactive ROI calculator now!


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