7 Signs It’s Time to Outsource Your Channel Incentive Program

By: Jasmyne Green
arrow indicating decreasing channel partner program engagement

Trying to run a channel partner program in-house can be overwhelming. The business value of your incentive program can get overshadowed by the resources, expertise and time it takes to get it right. The best channel partner programs analyze their effectiveness on a regular basis.

If your organization is experiencing any of the following seven challenges, it might be time to explore outsourcing your channel partner incentive program.  

  1. Struggling with unsatisfied partners and you’re not sure why
  2. Overspending on program administrative costs
  3. Competing with marketing, sales and product department priorities
  4. Finding only a small percentage of partners are meeting program requirements
  5. Needing to modernize a partner program that hasn’t been updated in the last 3 years
  6. Lagging behind competitor partner programs
  7. Lacking access to meaningful program data and performance metrics

Working with a trusted vendor can alleviate these pain points and turn a stagnant program into a successful channel partner program. 

Bringing in support allows organizations to stop spinning their wheels. Channel partner solution specialists have a focus on delivering results. Countless companies realize that, as essential as their channel ecosystems are, the best investment they can make involves hiring trusted experts. A third-party vendor frees up you and your team’s time so they can do more of what they do best.

The right channel partner should deliver the following business benefits that make working with them an obvious choice.

Access to Channel Partner Program Expertise 

One of the most significant advantages of outsourcing your channel partner program is gaining access to experienced channel experts. Look for a team of professionals that understand the complexities of managing a channel partner program. The right partner will know how to help you navigate: 

  • The ins-and-outs of channel program design and strategy
  • Channel sales claims processing and management
  • Partner marketing
  • Awards and incentives
  • Channel platform performance

When it’s time to choose a partner, remember the best vendors are those familiar with industry best practices and have the expertise to help you develop a program that aligns with your business goals. They’ll help you differentiate externally and show program impact, ROI and provide actionable insights through data.

Channel Partner Programs Cost Savings

A common misconception around outsourcing is that working with an outside vendor will compromise your budget. But the expenses that come with managing a program in-house can also add up. Outsourcing your channel partner program can save you the cost of hiring and training a team of professionals. Vendors can divert your attention from in-the-weeds tactics to program strategy, partner relationships and enablement materials. By outsourcing, your limited resources can work on the business instead of in the business and you pay for only the services you need.

Even though outsourcing can often save you money, be careful of hiring a vendor based on the budget factor alone. Brands with the best channel partner programs recognize working with channel solution experts is an investment. An effectively managed channel partner program will grow numbers, make progress and hit goals. Think of it as “what can I gain?” versus “what can I save right now?” And, of course, evaluate RFPs accordingly. 

channel partner program assessment

Improved Channel Partner Performance

It’s difficult to measure a program’s impact on partner performance without the right information. A good vendor will help you establish key performance metrics that can be measured, monitored and optimized to help you achieve your core business goals. With effective tools in place and analysis applied to each situation, you can prove program worth, generate business growth and confidently decide where to act.

Beyond making an impact on your performance, using data in your partner program can differentiate your brand with partners. Giving them a more tailored and relevant partner experience will inspire loyalty.

Related: Best Channel Partner Performance Metrics to Monitor

Freedom to Focus 

There are so many tasks that can distract organizations from their core business functions. Leading brands don’t let maintaining a channel partner program get in the way of what they do best. They strategize and check-in with a channel incentives vendor, but delegate program management. Vendors should be able to handle claims submission, validation and processing; reward fulfillment; portal platform engagement; program communication; data analysis. 

By outsourcing to a third-party vendor, your team can concentrate on other business areas that demand attention. The freedom to focus where your time matters most can help grow your business and increase profitability. Exceptional channel partner solution providers make it their mission to make your job easier. 

Customizable Program Solutions 

You might be concerned that you’ll get an off-the-shelf solution when outsourcing your channel partner incentive program. However, successful channel partner programs stand out by offering solutions and workflows that uniquely align with your business needs and channel partners. 

On the technology front, ask about options that integrate seamlessly with other systems and tools that your business uses. This can include CRMs, ERPs, marketing automation tools, etc. Streamlining those functions allows your organization to shift the focus from managing spreadsheets to driving strategies. 

Customization improves channel partner engagement by providing a more personalized participant experience. Designing a solution that meets the needs of your partners creates a more engaging and rewarding experience while well-tailored opportunities encourage them to work more closely with your business. 

Lastly, customization is about finding the right relationship fit when it comes to making sure your objectives are met. Throughout the RFP process, you should feel comfortable working with your vendor team. They should guide you through a clear discovery process and show up prepared to offer evidence-based ideas. Here’s what one ITA Group client said following about our team’s client-centered approach.  

“Our two favorite phrases are ‘value added’ and ‘configurable.’ ITA Group came through and continues to come through with creative ways to improve processes with consideration for budget costs.”

—Manager, Sales Effectiveness, Telecommunications

Want to figure out where you could go next with your partner program? Or see how advanced your current program is? Take the Channel Partner Program Assessment!
jasmyne green
Jasmyne Green

Jasmyne Green is a results-driven marketing manager who never settles for mediocrity. With over a decade of experience, she’s a marketing expert in everything from design to digital strategy that breaks through the noise and drives business growth. When she's not brainstorming brilliant ideas, you can find Jasmyne walking the nature trails with her dogs, perfecting her mixology skills or plotting her next adventure.