When organizations design a Channel Incentive Program, many take a functional approach to the channel rep's journey. Are they getting the information they require? How do they file a claim? How does the platform look?
Ensuring your Channel program runs smoothly and beautifully is the goal, but many often do not see results after a few months. Often, it appears to be missing something.
What is missing is human emotion.
We all believe our decisions are based on cold logic and rationale. We are emotional beings who decide based on our feelings (Davey, 2021). We have all heard of user experience maps, but what about emotional journey maps? It tracks their highs and lows as they progress through a website, event, or channel incentive program. You will better understand the channel reps' thoughts and feelings and direct them through this process.
Joana de Quintanilha, a Forrester analyst, defines three stages of the emotional journey: the baseline, the curve, and the punch (Forrester, 2021).
Baseline: When a channel representative/partner joins your incentive program, establish a baseline emotion. According to Forrester, any complex, unfamiliar, high-anxiety journey necessitates significant investment; reassurance is essential (Quintanilha, 2021). A channel incentive program is complex. You can reduce frustration and anxiety using checklists, tutorials, and transparency; this will change "Baseline" emotion, and they will feel calm instead of anxious.
Curve: The next important step is keeping impactful moments from sputtering out. It should elicit emotion at specific touchpoints. "If your customers' experiences are primarily neutral and devoid of peaks, seek to arouse states such as wonder, pride, and — yes — even delight," says Quintanilha (Forrester, 2021). You can control these highs, such as running dynamic promotions, celebrating when they make a sale, submitting a claim, or awarding points for training success. The options are limitless. These pivotal moments will either elevate or derail your incentive program. We've seen it all from lower engagement, turnover, and, worst of all, reps becoming a detractor.
Punch: When a channel rep finishes a promotion or the program for the year. The end can be a wonderful way to wrap up their experience. You're either maintaining momentum or compensating for the curve's shortcomings. If you don't give a satisfying ending, you risk undermining all your work to engender positive feelings.
Remember that film that was fantastic except for the ending? Or the wonderful meal you had that was ruined by dessert? A channel incentive program is no exception. You could, for example, throw a big party and honour the top channel reps/partners. It is challenging because it is ongoing. You're constantly reinventing the "punch," but it is well worth it.
Capitalizing on emotion creates a better experience for your channel reps in the long run. They will be motivated to sell your products over competitors, become brand evangelists, and remain loyal. When you care about how reps feel, it leads to increased sales, engaged reps, reduced costs, and satisfied customers and reps.
Allwood gives a simple guide on how to develop an emotional map:
- Collect the insights, research, and experiences from team members or a third-party vendor.
- Define all of the activities that the channel representatives will engage in.
- Create a journey map and mark the various touchpoints where the channel reps will receive communication from you. An example is when they submit a claim.
- Graph the journey pinpoints emotional highs and lows, such as excitement and frustration.
- Analyze the mapping results of the journey to see how you can reduce frustrations and increase highs during communication touchpoints and activities.
At ChannelAssist, we never leave a channel rep behind. We apply user experience principles and create a journey your representatives won't forget in our channel incentive programs. We help organizations pull ahead of the competition and develop true differentiation.
Talk to us to see what improvements your channel can make!
We Need To Shift How We Think About Emotion And Journeys. (2021, February 17). Forrester.
FED. (2021). Measure Journeys To Drive Emotional Engagement | Forrester.
Davey, N. (2017, October 19). What is emotion's role in customer journey mapping?