70% of sales come from indirect channels, thanks to Partners and Channel Reps (McBain, 2021). Many businesses still conduct their channel incentive programs using Excel, which frequently leads to a disappointing experience. Partners and channel representatives are often feel disengaged, disconnected and are given few incentives.
Your channel reps and partners, on the other hand, have high expectations. Companies realized the opportunity and need to transform their Channel Incentive Program with Channel Incentive Management (CIM) software due to the massive digital transformation we've seen. Here's what you are risking when you stay the same.
1. Risk: Disengaged Reps
In the end, spreadsheets are just numbers on a page. They cannot communicate with your salespeople, provide incentives, praise, or give the feedback they require to grow. It's just not enjoyable to stare at lines on a page. Reps will become disengaged and abandon your program because the entire experience is lacking.
Channel software engages reps with promotions, incentives, and tools they need to close a sale. They are excited and feel supported when they can interact with the company and others in a meaningful way. We live in a digital-first world now. There is no excuse not to improve the partner experience, and this is especially relevant with today's generation, who are familiar with digital products. They want better user interfaces and more frequent updates online (McKinsey, 2021), or they will leave. Becoming digital-first is only possible with channel software, not spreadsheets.
2. Risk: Lack of Connection
Forrester found the most significant challenge for global B2B marketing decision-makers in managing coordination with channel partners (Leverage channel software to scale Partnerships or Build ecosystems, Forrester Research Inc., June 25, 2020). Using Excel to coordinate with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of partners is sure to be a massive undertaking. As the need for remote work grows, organizing becomes twice as difficult. You'll have a mess on your hands if you can't manage and communicate effectively and efficiently. Excel lacks a built-in capability to distribute information such as product announcements, promotions, and new sales tools across the Channel with channel partners and agents. This results in miscommunication, delayed action, and decreased profits.
We will see a growth in hybrid and remote work in the aftermath of the epidemic. Partners and their representatives are increasingly dispersed around the globe, necessitating solutions to keep them linked. Mobile devices are an essential component of this new environment. Cell phones are used by over 4 billion people worldwide (Statista, 2021). This equates to over half of the world's population. Having your program on CIM leverages today's technology to work with today's new normal. Complex spreadsheets are difficult to understand and operate on a cellphone and create a gap between you and your partners. The barriers between you and them are bridged by having a seamless digital experience. CIM provides a web-based platform that is responsive across all devices and is accessible globally.
Figure 1 - Google Trends for Remote Work Search Term and Interest since 2004
3. Risk: Isolating Data
Channel account managers spend a large percentage of their time chasing data for partners and can be more productive with a single data source and having data be automated with CIM. (Forrester, Data-Driven Programs 2019) Trying to isolate the information you need feels like a Sisyphus task in Excel. Your partners and reps need the data to know how they are doing in your channel program quickly. If not, how can they improve?
Like telling your wish to a genie, CIM filters and isolates your data. You can separate a single property or a single rep and understand its impact on your overall bottom line. The CIM platform is created to fetch data quickly with an algorithm and a user-friendly interface. It is the wind that lifts your program. Helping you get the information your partner needs fast. In contrast, Excel is the rock that is weighing down both of your progress.
Transform your Channel Incentive Programs with CIM software. When you do, you will experience a change within with your partners and channel reps. They will be more engaged, loyal, and productive. Leave Excel where it should be, in the past. The future of your Channel Incentive Program can be exciting, innovative, and forward-thinking.
Team up with ChannelAssist to see how we can develop a customized Channel Incentive Program that works for you and your partners.
- McBain, J (2021, January 12). Channel Software Tech Stack 2021.
- Statista. (2021, June 2). Smartphone users worldwide 2016–2026.