It’s time to make your channel sales incentive/SPIF programs really work for you. Effective use of spiffs can help you drive revenue faster, boost engagement levels with both current and new channel partners and their reps, and grow market share for your target products, services, and market segments. Make smarter decisions faster with data driven insights resulting from your SPIF programs. Monitor leading indicators for early signs of share shift. Drive sales growth, strategically. .. by effectively managing channels sales incentives or spiff programs.
It’s time to rethink channel sales SPIFs
In some industries, distributing cash incentives to channel sales people may seem like the cost of doing business. The risk of considering spiffs a necessary cost, is that the spiffs drop off the radar screen of senior sales and channel leaders and you potentially lose the insights and the leverage that come with a high impact program. You not only risk losing the loyalty of your channel partners; you forgo the insights provided by the ‘leading indicators’ that are available in strategically designed channel loyalty program. We’ve seen large global enterprises run sub-optimal channel loyalty programs year after year, and their channel revenues continue to be weak.
There are smart moves you can make to optimize your ROI from your spiff programs and outpace your competitors. You need to rethink your approach to channel sales spiffs before your competition converts your channel partners.
Five ideas you can implement to maximize ROI of channel sales incentives
- Tie your spiffs to opportunity progression; don’t just pay on closed sales. Sounds counter intuitive to pay before the deal closes. But imagine the jump you can get on competitors when you’re into a potential deal earlier, higher and more strategically. Pick the points on your sales cycle that matter most, for the specific solutions you are focusing on.
- Pay out for the market intelligence you need to grow your business. Want better line of sight into the customers, industry segments and customers that are buying your solutions. Want better insight into the application. This data flows naturally from a well-designed spiff program, even when working through complex, multi-tier distribution channels.
- Make sure your spiffs are strategic – tie the rewards of your channel loyalty programs to the newer strategic solutions that are working their way up the product adoption curve. Speed up adoption with channels that lead more proactively with your solution.
- Drive awareness. Market your spiffs. There are a lot of vendors all trying to get a rep’s attention - cut through the noise. Make sure channel reps know how to earn spiffs, make sure their claims are getting approved and funded quickly. Make sure they know what they got paid for. You will drive the sales behavior you need to fuel your sales growth. We’ve seen large telcos and financial services firms struggle with effectively communicating with their channels. They don’t have the communications channels to reach all the reseller reps, and they don’t have enough partner managers to manage much past tier 1 partners. It does not have to be that way.
- Collaborate with partners – spiffs can be co-funded across companies that can each benefit in the final sale. Think through your ‘ecosystem’ of partners that bring your solutions to market. Your spiff dollars will go further, driving more revenue at a better ROI.
And finally, a compelling channel loyalty program also has to be easy to use – from the perspective of your channel partners and their reps, and from the perspective of your partner account managers. Support your program with service level agreements, a responsive help desk, advanced technology and business processes, strong analytics and a success team.