Motivating partners while driving customer consideration and conversion
Having the right dials to turn in terms of pricing, sales promotions & programs and incentives & rewards allows partners to get to the right price to win business with customers and also gives them the tools to support the sales conversation and drive investment in anything from cross-selling of offer lines, new customer acquisition, growth performance and sales rep preference & rewards.
By building out a compensation framework that embraces all of these elements vendors can segment, differentiate and target different market segments, industry verticals, competitive attack or defence strategies as well as drive partner behaviours and investment.
Your offers at your partners’ fingertips
Keeping channel partners informed about your offers (products or services) takes many different forms from product brochures, training, technology roadmap webinars through to customer case studies and white papers. Online access to your current offers, with associated information and imagery, is also seen as an essential capability to enable partners to stay up-to-date with your offer portfolio.
An online catalog is a straightforward tool that allows partners to intuitively search for, understand and consider your offers for their customer opportunities. In addition, being able to package multi-products or services (in a bundle) or include other vendors’ offers (multi-vendor solutions) along with list pricing and multi-currency list pricing is key to equipping your partners on your offers.
Furthermore, for your direct channel partners being able to provide discounted pricing based on different offer types or based on their partner level, allows you to differentiate them and your offers in a structured scalable manner.
Segment, differentiate and target customers, partners and solutions
Matching the needs of product and service managers, as well as the marketing and sales teams who each bring different perspectives to your sales promotions can be challenging. These challenges are heightened when you take those promotions through partners and distributors. Being able to execute against those requirements needs careful consideration of the following areas:
To introduce a new product or service (or end-of-life the offer)
To cross-sell other offer lines
For competitive attack or competitive defence
To promote a solution into a particular industry vertical
To adjust a market price point
To test price elasticity in a segment of the market
Sales Programs also provide channel partners with the ability to increase customer consideration and conversion rates and include programs such as partner demonstration programs, customer trial programs, trade-in/trade-up programs and deal registration.
Moving the needle on growth, loyalty and preference
Motivating channel partners to target new customers with your offers or getting them to invest in acquiring new customers or moving into new markets, requires different thinking to that of price promotions and sales programs. These activities typically need targets to be set and performance to be tracked over time, with pay-out based on performance. Channel incentives and rebates are a powerful way to increase loyalty for your brand and offers but there are many different forms they can take.
A variation on that theme is to motivate staff (for example sales reps) within the partner – Sales Performance Incentive Funds (SPIFs) or Reward Programs (with points for prizes) are examples of motivating staff to consider your offers first when making recommendations to customers.
Awareness of your brand delivered with partners
To maximise utilization and return on your marketing funds, providing a structured program in terms of what activities, which partner types, partner contribution levels and the approval, claim & validation process, gives partners the ability to drive awareness and development of markets on your behalf.
The process and rules need to balance alignment to your own marketing strategies but also not be so burdensome that partners feel unable to support the overhead of managing the process. Good marketing fund programs will allow your brand and the partner’s brand to be combined to position your solutions into your target market.