How to Make A Complex Sales Incentive Program Simple

Managing sales incentive programs for your channel network is getting more complex. It requires a tactical combination of strategy, design, skills, tiers, technology, rewards and, of course, ongoing management. However, according to SiriusDecisions, marketers use more applications to support their direct sales efforts than to manage their channel, despite the abundance of automated software available.

So, in today’s market, it seems that channel managers have to be experts in sales, marketing and finance to effectively run their programs and engage their participants. That’s a lot of hats to wear. But, if you have a blueprint to build your infrastructure — well, your life may have just gotten exponentially easier.

Don’t make the program simple. Make the complex, simple.

You might read or hear a lot about simplifying channel in the one-program-fits-all sense. It sounds so easy and appealing, right? That’s probably not the answer. The answer isn’t a platform, management tool or SPIF solution that only does one thing, one way, for every sales incentive program.

The complexity that comes from understanding what motivates and engages the people selling your products, and rewarding those behaviors (think pre-sales, not just deal closers) can position your program to competitors as the one to beat.

Building all the different components within the channel ecosystem can be daunting. But, if you develop a solid infrastructure, you will be able to deliver highly flexible and targeted incentive offerings across the entire partner lifecycle.

If you only take away one thing, make it this: A high level of program complexity isn’t bad. On the contrary, it probably means your program is really good.

Download our guide 10 Tips for Capturing Reseller Loyalty, to learn how to get sales reps more personally involved in selling your products. 

A few things to consider

  • Your own company culture has a big impact on how comprehensive your channel programs are, so look within and strategize accordingly.
  • Don’t try to boil the ocean. Begin with obvious gaps, and fill them in with specific elements.
  • While the sophistication of sales incentives programs is growing, budgets generally aren’t, thus requiring channel manager to focus on priorities and expand when they can.

Even if it isn’t broke, you should still fix it.

So, if we agree that running a solid channel program requires a certain level of complexity, let’s break down the basic framework and requirements in a straightforward, comprehensive outline. Depending on the industry you serve, the channels you support, and the volume of your sales, you may or may not require all the elements accounted for.



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