What makes a successful channel incentive programme?

Car ServiceChannel incentive programmes (often referred to as dealer incentives) offer channel partners incentives to drive specific behaviours. Most programmes are focused on sales and meeting quotas but a successful channel incentive programme will also extend it’s focus beyond the sales staff and include other employees. In a car dealership, for example, this could include the parts manager, servicing technicians and receptionist.
Download WhitepaperWant to know how to set up a next generation sales incentive scheme?
To help you build a really successful channel incentive programme here are six best practices and tips for you to implement:

1. Identify your participants and what drives them

One issue with channel incentives is that they will sometimes incentivise outcomes and behaviours that are only beneficial to the vendor. As a result channel partners don’t engage with the programme as it’s not as beneficial to them.

Vendors need to segment their target participants, understand their businesses and their objectives, and then design a dealer incentive scheme that is mutually beneficial to both them and their partners.

Tip: Try to focus your programme on encouraging and re-enforcing two or three behaviours that deliver your desired outcomes.

2. Build credibility through engaging and relevant awards and timely fulfilment

Your rewards don’t have to have high value to have a successful programme. Research shows that partners prefer to have rewards that are engaging, relevant and are delivered on time.

Options such as prepaid cards enable you to get the rewards to your partners quickly and it gives them control over how they spend their reward. They can choose to treat themselves, or put it towards everyday items.

Tip: Choose rewards that give the participant control over the what they receive.

3. Find a champion

Successful channel incentive programmes designate an internal champion. This should be someone within your organisation who is responsible for the programme. They should have the authority to drive the programme forward and be accountable for its success.

Creating an internal champion means that that person can focus on the overall objectives and continually monitor to ensure that the programme is effective at meeting those objectives.

Tip: Choose your champion wisely: choose someone who ‘gets it’, someone who understands the objectives and believes in the success of the programme.

Improve Sales4. Keep track of your metrics

Keeping track of your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is the hallmark of a successful channel incentive programme, after all if you don’t measure it then you cannot improve it.

Measuring the success of your programme can be a challenge, however you could include participant registrations, participant earning, training activity, redemptions, points balances, customer feedback or sales activity.

Tip: Define your KPIs at the same time as you plan your programme and align them with your overall strategy and objectives and those of your partners.

5. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Your channel partners will receive a massive amount of day to day communication so you need to be creative. When you plan your channel incentive take the time to also plan an on-going communication strategy that utilises all the tools at your disposal, whilst keeping in mind how your participants like to receive information.

Modern communication tools such as online platforms, apps, webcasts, social media and SMS messages can all help you stand out from the crowd, whilst messages aligned with a product or service lifecycle will more likely be acted upon.

Tip: Fun, lively communications can help keep you front of mind and engage participants.

6. Keep it simple

As you set up your scheme focus on simplicity to keep your partners motivated. Simple programmes are more likely to keep your partners actively engaged and participating, and as a result will encourage the behaviours that align with your business objectives.

Tip: Make the enrolment process as simple as possible.
Download WhitepaperWant to know how to set up a next generation sales incentive scheme?

John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.
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