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Are Your Channel Incentives Meeting Their Goals?

June 20, 2016 | By Angela Leech

  • Your channel goals are likely different than before, so there is no guarantee the incentives you used in the past will deliver the results you seek today
  • A SiriusDecisions Summit poll showed that only 25 percent of channel incentive programs met their intended goals
  • The SiriusDecisions Channel Incentive Selection Model delivers a four-step approach to identify the most effective selection of incentives

I had the pleasure of presenting on the topic of the evolution of channel incentives with Laz Gonzalez  at our recent Summit in Nashville – and spent countless hours researching the subject and gathering data prior to the event. While I knew there were many challenges with channel incentives (e.g. adoption, execution, measurement and demonstrating ROI), the biggest surprise was the percentage of incentive programs that were not meeting their intended goals. In our quick poll question during the presentation, half of those in the room said that only 25 percent of their channel incentive programs met their intended goals. Only 10 percent said that their incentive programs achieved more than 75 percent of the intended goal!Channel Incentives

With such a high number of programs failing to meet their goals, now is the time to stop and consider how to evolve your channel incentive programs to meet your overarching channel goals – and influence the desired channel partner behavior.

The channel is constantly evolving, and we are seeing different partner types with new business models and emerging technologies on a regular basis. Your channel goals are likely different than before, and you may be engaging different partner types and need to drive different behaviors. While channel incentives can help support growth strategies, there is no guarantee that the incentives you used in the past will deliver the results you seek today.

My personal highlight of Summit, after months of researching, modeling and mapping, was introducing the SiriusDecisions Channel Incentive Selection Model. This model delivers a four-step approach to identifying the most effective selection of incentives based on your overarching channels goals. When selecting the right blend of incentive programs, start by considering the four inputs below and aligning them to your channel goals and objectives: 

  • Growth.What growth goal are you trying to achieve with your channel partners (e.g. new market entry, new or enhanced offering)?
  • Partner type. What partner types are you trying to influence within your partner ecosystem (e.g. managed service providers, volume resellers, original equipment manufacturers, value-added resellers)?
  • Partner persona. What partner personas would you like to target and influence (e.g. sales, marketing, pre-sales technical, professional services)?
  • Behavior. What is the desired behavioral outcome you want to achieve with the incentive (e.g. increased revenue, certification attainment, closed-loop lead reporting, deal registration)?

When developing and enhancing channel incentive strategies, organizations must consider these four key inputs. Coupled with a focus on a blend of incentives that reward past and future behavior, consider leading and lagging indicators and developing the right mix of incentives that drive the required partner enablement and desired demand creation behavior to meet channel results.

The outputs are many, and we are currently designing an online tool for the SiriusDecisions Channel Incentive Selection Model that can determine the most effective incentive selection for you, based on your channel goals. We also welcome the opportunity to discuss your channel incentive challenges in further detail through our channel marketing advisory team.

For everyone, please take a few minutes and complete our incentive survey and tell us your thoughts on the current state!

Angela Leech

Angela Leech is a Research Director of Channel Marketing Strategies at SiriusDecisions. Angela is an experienced channel marketing professional with demonstrated success in to-partner, with-partner and through-partner marketing programs utilizing all elements of the marketing repertoire. She has worked within both large corporate organizations and smaller businesses and has a breadth of experience addressing channel marketing challenges. Follow Angela on Twitter @AngelaLeech.

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