The Power of Recognition: How to Boost Channel Partner Performance

By: Jasmyne Green
channel partner receiving recognition

Employees want more than just good compensation and benefits. They want to make a significant impact on the company through their job, and they want to be recognized and rewarded for their hard work. Channel partners are no different.

And yet, while many employers create ongoing recognition programs to reward employees for a range of accomplishments as a common retention strategy, the concept is often overlooked for channel partners.  

Recognition can be just as effective at boosting channel partner performance and channel partner retention. When channel partners feel valued and appreciated, they’re more likely to stay loyal to your brand by continuing to promote your products and services. How you build those relationships and add recognition to your channel incentive program starts with authenticity and intentionality. 

Improve Channel Partner Retention With Relationships 

In a recent discussion with ITA Group, Larry Walsh, CEO of Channelnomics, revealed 52% of surveyed partners reported they have infrequent contact with their suppliers. If you’re not effectively communicating to partners, you and your brand won’t be top of mind. Using a recognition strategy is one way to increase contact and strengthen those relationships.  

In our experience, channel incentive programs tend to be hyper-focused on getting partners to complete a desired behavior, whether that’s making a purchase, completing a certification or fulfilling another business objective. But the real magic happens when you go beyond a transactional relationship and build authentic human connections with your brand through recognition. When you excel at channel partner engagement, the results and enthusiasm can be surprising.

For example, ITA Group recently added recognition to a program that we operate for an automotive partner. Within 48 hours of going live, 20% of the audience issued a recognition, proving partners crave this type of engagement.

How to Add Recognition to Channel Incentive Programs

The number of metrics to monitor for channel partner performance can feel overwhelming. By implementing a recognition strategy, you can easily pinpoint successes and increase your number of interactions with channel partners.

These tips will help you successfully implement a recognition strategy as part of your channel incentive programs.  

manager holding recognition card

1. Celebrate Milestones & Achievements

Recognizing important occasions is one of the easiest ways to recognize channel partners. These milestones could include anniversaries, sales goals or customer satisfaction awards. Send celebratory emails on a service anniversary with a printable eCard and award points to emphasize the milestone’s importance.

2. Empower Managers & Peers

Recognize positive behavior as it happens and create a connection between brand values and individual contributions. This is a great way for sales reps and field team members to recognize and reward partners at key moments throughout the sales cycle.

3. Connect recognition to brand values. 

Tie recognitions to core brand values to promote a strong, aligned culture. Participants will notice if there isn’t a connection between what’s important and what’s rewarded. 

For example, we practice what we preach. One of our recognition categories is tied to the core value of serving others. We encourage team members to use this recognition to acknowledge colleagues for giving back, supporting each other and providing superior service to our clients.

4. Be Personal & Timely

Tailor your recognition to the individual channel partner. This could involve recognizing their specific accomplishments or simply personalizing your message of appreciation. Be sure to recognize channel partners as soon as possible when they achieve a milestone or show positive behavior. This shows that you’re paying attention and that you value their contributions.

recognition feed on mobile device

5. Make It Public

Public recognition is often more meaningful than private kudos. Share recognition stories with the entire channel partner network or consider posting them on social media. Copy direct leadership on milestone communications to further the recognition’s impact. This helps create a culture of recognition and appreciation while motivating other channel partners to strive for excellence.

6. Allow Partners to Share Recognition Externally

Encourage individuals to share greetings and recognitions they receive on social media, letting their connections know of their accomplishments. 

7. Communicate the Program Creatively

A recognition program relies on strong engagement from its participants. Motivate channel partners to interact with the platform through creative communications early in their journey, cultivating feelings of belonging with the brand’s community and leading to the best performance and loyalty.

Prioritizing Channel Partner Performance

By implementing a well-designed recognition strategy, you show channel partners how you value their contributions and are committed to their success. This not only leads to increased loyalty and engagement but can also increase channel performance. By offering attractive incentives, awards and recognitions, brands can create a compelling value proposition for partners to choose them over their competitors.

Ready to dive even deeper? Discover how to elevate your channel partner engagement strategy, then connect with ITA Group to incorporate recognition into your channel partner program. 

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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.