Most Common Channel Incentive Programs Questions Answered

BY Lucy Fang
Nov 04, 2022
Most Common Channel Incentive Programs Questions Answered - ADR Article Image

Channel Partner Program Basics and Its Long-Term Benefits

An effective way to grow your customer base, improve brand awareness, and increase your revenue is through the use of a channel partner program. Below, we’ll answer some of the most common questions asked about channel partner programs, how they can benefit your business, and ways to set your program up for success. 

What is a Channel Partner Program?

A business initiative that creates a new revenue stream from an established product distribution network rather than a direct sales channel.

What are the Benefits of Channel Partnerships?

  • Fewer upfront costs, less risk
  • Generating more qualified leads
  • Leveraging partner relationships to attract new customers
  • Share marketing costs to improve reach
  • Increasing conversion rates
  • Reducing customer acquisition costs
  • Extending your marketing reach through partners
  • Harness a more substantial partner’s reputation while increasing sales.
  • Expanding brand awareness through new channels.
  • Growing indirect sales revenue without proportionally growing internal teams

How do Motivation and Engagement work together in a Channel Partner Program?

Motivation and engagement elements are the effort required and the value given to partners for them to successfully sell your products. It includes the mechanisms of how you deliver the components to them with or without technology.

Successfully aligning the effort needed with the reward value with real-time communications and delivery creates real brand advocates forging a true partnership. It demonstrates that you value your channel partners and their success, and they reciprocate by selling your product in their sales funnel.

Can the Motivation and Engagement Elements be Programed?

Yes, if you choose the right channel program platform provider.  Some features are out of the box, and others need to be customized – so work with a company that can do both. The effort required before issuing a reward might be as simple as claiming a sale with a model number and PO or more complex as watching a product video or confirming your certification when claiming the same sale.   Your solution should readily be able to configure virtual rewards and have access to a diverse offering of rewards.

How to Build a Channel Partner Program

Before you begin the process ask yourself – what do you want to accomplish? Open a new market, grow your customer base, and launch a new product.

  • Identify the distribution channel and the partner(s) you would like to do business with
  • Determine your budget
  • Select the promotion type and the platform provider
  • Determine the need for customization
  • Create the rules for the program
  • Make contact with the partners identified and enroll them in the program
  • Reward partners for sales  

How to Onboard a Channel Partner

Onboarding a channel partner is the first experience that the company has with your business. If executed poorly, it can leave selling partners ill-prepared, which is a disincentive to sell or, worse, opens the door for them to misrepresent your company and its solutions. 

  • Welcome Kit for new partners 
  • Host a Kick-Off Call, introduce a dedicated account manager, and set program expectations
  • Develop a partner Business Plan to establish a roadmap and realistic timeframe for the partnership’s future
  • Establish Goals & KPI Benchmarks with a firm timeline
  • Train Your Partner
  • Provide easily accessible sales & marketing resources
  • Handoff leads & jointly work sales opportunities
  • Track & measure success

How to Measure a Channel Partner Program to Success

Defining the parameters of KPI (Key Performance Indicators) to measure a program’s success is essential during implementation. Align the KPIs with what you communicated to your channel partners as success. Once you have decided what they are, ensure the platform services you use to provide the reporting and analytics to calculate KPIs automatically. Some common KPIs are:

  • Participation in technology or sales and marketing training
  • Attendance at your events or webinars
  • Engagement with the portal
  • Number of campaigns sent (if supported in the portal)
  • Number of demos or proofs of concept performed
  • Number of deals registered

How to Measure a Channel Partner Program to Success

The pitfalls summarized below are not meant to cover every potential pitfall but are the most common fails.

  1. No value proposition for the partner
  2. Not having the right stakeholders committed, engaged, and accountable
  3. Lack of internal buy-in
  4. Stop improving the program once created
  5. Working with the wrong channel management technology provider
  6. Not having a clear understanding of program motivation and engagement components
  7. Setting up the bad KPI to measure
  8. Not factoring in the diversity of your partner network.
  9. An under-financed program
  10. Not understanding the unique requirements, expectations, and perspectives of your partners.
  11. Working with the wrong partners.

If you would like to find out more about how to run a successful channel partner program, our team at ADR is here to help. We can help with planning and strategy, the technology needed to support program activity and reward event processing, claim validation, reward fulfillment services, and reporting.  Let the experts help you through every stage of your program.  

To learn more about our ChannelSTACK™ SaaS Channel Partner Management Software, call us today at 866-415-7703, or click on the button on the right to schedule a demo.