Prevue July-August 2017 - 13

talkindustry

Successful Channel Incentives
Advice on designing programs that motivate partners and drive sales

T

he distribution channel is the critical
link in every type of manufacturing,
from flooring to fuel to automotive.
Headquarters can manage the operations
and develop marketing strategies, but it's the
channel partners that funnel the product to the
consumer and are often the face of the brand.
"Designing an effective channel
incentive strategy needs to reinforce
the sales processes, highlight product
information and reinforce the sponsoring
company's value proposition," says Lincoln
Smith, EVP of sales and marketing for HMI
Performance Incentives. It's about helping
channel partners and their salespeople sell
effectively, while also answering, 'What's in
it for me?'"
We tapped a variety of incentive
experts for advice on creating a successful
channel incentive.

Offer Multiple Awards to
Appeal to Different Tastes
According to a white paper published by the
Incentive Research Foundation, 62 percent
of participating dealers' loyalty is based on
their overall impression of incentive travel,
whether or not the destination excited
them and if they would have a chance
to mingle with top management at the
sponsoring company. If incentive travel or
a certain destination did not have appeal,
the program was less likely to succeed.
For those individuals for whom travel
incentives do not appeal, cash rewards
were preferable.

Make It Fair
Participants need to feel that a program's
rules are fair and don't discriminate and that
the rules remain consistent.
For a fuel distributor whose goal was
to grow market share, HMI Performance
Incentives divided the group into large and
small dealers so that even the smallest could
qualify for the top group trip. They kept
everyone engaged with quarterly contests
where they could win merchandise.

Tesla Motors

Go Mobile
Program details need to be available to
channel partners whenever they want
them via their phones. The recipients also
need to be able to access messages in
whichever media they prefer. "Feedback
mechanisms should be included to create
dialogues, versus sending pre-packaged
static content," says Bob Miller, president
of One10. "Speed, brevity, easy access and
relevance are all critical."

Keep It Simple
Various companies are competing for
channel partners' loyalty, so the easier the
program is to understand, the more user-

friendly the website and the simpler it is for
them to view their progress, the better the
chance of keeping them engaged. In other
words, the most effective program might
not be the one with the most enticing trip
but the one that's easiest to understand.
Include mileposts so that participants
know where they stand at all times and in
relation to peers. An online leaderboard
spurs on healthy competition, as does
recognizing high performers in front of the
entire group.-Barbara Scofidio
For the complete scoop on channel
incentives, visit us online at
prvue.me/channel-incentives.

One Success Story: Capture the
Counterman
An OEM auto parts manufacturer turned to the incentive experts at MotivAction to
help grow its aftermarket parts business. They identified the warehouse distributor
salespeople as their prime target and a critical link in the sales channel, and developed
an incentive program that was easy for counterman to follow and rewarded them for
selling the targeted products. More than 1,000 warehouse distributor salespeople
enrolled, and three to five percent of all targeted product volume moved through the
program in six months.

prevuemeetings.com | 13


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