As a vendor, the first question you need to ask yourself when determining the right incentive program strategy is, what do you want to achieve? This is the foundation upon which any incentives program should be built.
This was one of the many topics under discussion during the recent Channel Mechanics webinar, “Leveraging Channel Incentives to Win Partner Mindshare”. During the discussion, A.J. Tedesco, VP of Channels with Securly, noted how it is important to keep things targeted, but simple.
“One of the biggest challenges is measuring the impact of what you do,” he explained. “If you just do closed business, it’s very difficult to measure how that quarter or year is different based on the influence or impact of those incentives. So, the more granular you can get, the better. However, you don’t want it too complicated because then the partners … they just move on and say, ‘I’ll read that later.’”
Measure your Success
Tedesco provided some ways to be targeted while measuring the success of your incentives program at the same time.
“If all you’re going to do, for example, is something around closed business, do a subset of that. If your executive team wants you to move upmarket into larger opportunities, do a spiff with a threshold [of] everything over 20,000 users. So if 10% of your business is typically over 20,000, and that goes up to 15%, there’s a measurable impact from that very simple incentive. And that’s something that you’ll get more internal buy-in from,” he said.
“The other common incentive is around deal registration. With deal registration you get a lot of unqualified opportunities, you get everybody scrambling to get free money. So the way that I tailor that … is make it contingent on a demo or POC. That gives you two things. It’s a customer that’s willing to go to the next level to take a further look at what your technology is. And the partner is incentivized to advance the opportunity through that.”
Another commonly employed incentive revolves around competitive takeouts. This works if you feel you’re not doing well against a particular competitor. Or they’ve got greater mindshare within your partner community. “Or if you see a vulnerability in a specific competitor, and there’s a time to really aggressively go after that.” You can build incentives around aggressively pursuing that business.
Be Proactive in your Incentive Strategy
Tedesco provided a specific example of how Securely has utilized incentives around attach rate business.
He explained: “If you’ve got a SKU that you think belongs in every quote, and partners aren’t on putting it on there – maybe even your own salespeople aren’t putting it on there – you could do a rebate around attaching that SKU to every quote. So for example, you do a 1% rebate on all business, and if they attach the SKU, it moves to 3%. The hidden value in that is muscle memory. After that incentive is over, the partners are used to adding that on. They’re used to integrating it in the pitch and the conversation. We found that to be a very powerful tool.”
Over everything though, defining your incentive strategy and being proactive is key. Understand what your desired outcome is, rather than throwing money at partners and seeing what you get back! What is it that you’re trying to accomplish?
And finally, ask partners what rebates they prefer. “What are they responding to? Do they like rebates? Do they like cash payouts? And factor that in, in addition to pleasing the stakeholders internally,” advised Tedesco.
In the end, being proactive, targeted and simple when designing your incentives program goes a long way to ensuring success.
Driving channel revenue growth with partner incentives is now more accessible than ever…