Incentives Fight for Sales Channel Attention

By: Ariana Walicke
Person reviewing awards catalog on a tablet

It’s tough for distributors and OEMs to launch new incentives and gain full engagement from resellers.

Not only are distributors and OEMs battling the “noise” of everyday life—family demands, work deadlines, social media, consumer propaganda—they’re also facing off against the barrage of channel incentives already out there for resellers.

With an increasing number of loyalty programs, each clamoring for attention, it can be hard to make yours stand out.

Inside the Mind of a Reseller

Resellers ask themselves questions like these almost daily:

  • Do I attend this OEM’s event or wait and register for their competitor’s event?
  • How do I stay aware of product launches and new technology?
  • Should I attend this webinar? What will I gain from it?
  • Do I earn awards with this program?
  • Should I get certified with this vendor or distributor, so I can sell more of their products?

So many choices. And that’s a good thing.

We all want to feel empowered to decide what matters most to us. However, on a busy day, with all that noise, signing up for another incentive program may not top the list.

So how can you help resellers cut through the noise? How do you position your program as the one that matters most—the one to help them increase sales, get certified and get substantial rewards for their efforts?

Try these six best practices to put your incentive program at the front of your audiences’ minds. And keep it there.

Make sure your next incentive program is easy to implement, user friendly, well communicated, globally engaging, has a common currency, and includes relevant awards (things they really want).

1. Easy to implement

Channel salespeople are moving very quickly, with numerous initiatives and numbers to hit. Put a solution in their hands that’s easy to set up and offers a smooth transition.

Think “plug and play”—take the burden of signing up, filling out forms and making claims off of the reseller.

2. User friendly 

The easier a program or product is to use, the more likely you’ll see ongoing engagement. If channel salespeople are used to driving an automatic, don’t give them a stick shift.

Make participation simple, and design your program to be fast, easy and accessible to the masses. Don’t sacrifice clarity for the sake of trying to stand out.

3. Well-communicated

If you’re like me, you roll out of bed and start checking your phone for the latest texts and emails, which requires sorting through tons of fluff to get to the important stuff.

Same goes with your program. It can be tough to know what to take action on sometimes.

To alleviate this, put your program message where your resellers live—know the mediums that matter to them. If you don’t know, find out. As you build a relationship with your resellers, you can continue to perfect incentive communications. Use clear, descriptive subject lines to help participants get to the point quickly and keep messages organized.

4. Globally engaging  

Thousands of resellers are outside of the country. Time for your incentive to be as global as they are. Know their markets. Think about translation, award offerings and shipping efficiencies, taxation and borders. Put in the time to research and plan for the complexities of a global audience.

5. Common currency 

With common currency, resellers have the power to combine their earnings (i.e. points) across multiple programs, so their “point banks” grow over time.

Rather than feeling pressured to redeem quickly for items of smaller value, resellers can pool earnings and redeem for awards or travel experiences with bigger price tags. Greater trophy value. Greater loyalty.

6. Relevant awards

Did you know participants in India tend to lean toward lifestyle awards, pampering experiences and top brand names? Europeans appreciate popular, high-profile brands and impressive incentive travel awards. With a five-generation workforce, ever-changing demographics and a global community, defining relevant awards gets tricky.

The best way to set your incentive up for success is to give resellers the power of choice. Don’t make this harder than it needs to be. You can outsource and partner with an expert to manage the awards—sourcing, suppliers and customer service. That keeps you free to focus on your core business.

Keep your program simple to use and implement. Communicate clearly and often. Think globally. Let resellers bank points and spend them on non-monetary incentives that matter to them, wherever they are in the world. Show you’ve kept resellers top-of-mind while putting together your solution. When resellers can see the careful consideration of their reality in your program, all that other noise will fade.

Ariana Walicke
Ariana Walicke

Ariana has been in the performance improvement industry for nearly 15 years. She thrives on creating and delivering solutions for global clients that help them achieve their corporate initiatives, produce measurable results, and engage the people who impact their success (including employees, channel partners and customers). Never one to subscribe to one-size-fits-all, Ariana is passionate about finding the right strategic blend of products and services within recognition, incentives and events to fit each organization’s unique needs. She is also a fan of Orange Theory, hot yoga, traveling, spa time, and being with family and friends where she resides in Arizona. And, yes, we see the irony of her enjoyment for hot yoga while living in triple digit temps in Arizona.