Part 2 of Structuring a Partner Program

 

A poorly designed incentive program can create some pretty counterproductive behaviors in your channel partners. See last week’s blog post for some of those pitfalls, and below are some ideas for preventing them.

 

1. First, make sure your incentive programs are strategically planned and integrated to support customer needs, vendor goals and partner goals. Clarity on exactly what you want partners to do to support these goals is the critical foundation of successful incentive programs. Take the necessary time to create a plan built on this clarity and to implement it.

2. Train new partners on servicing and selling your solution as part of the onboarding process.  The way to drive partners to repeat the behavior patterns you want is to train them to do it. Good training can help ensure repeated success, and the easiest time to conduct your partner training program is during onboarding —it’s easier at this point in the relationship because you have a better ability to explain and create the right behaviors before the wrong ones can develop.

Incentive programs usually have their flaws, but that doesn’t mean rewards don’t have their place.  Partner incentive programs can be a great means of promoting a new product, for example.  Just make sure you’re not encouraging partners to engage in behavior that won’t serve the customer – or you.

Help your partners understand when’s the right time for customers to be offered your solution, and your sales will increase. In the long run, you’re better off investing in training than in a spiff program that encourages partners to sell your solution the wrong way.