5 Key Strategies for Channel Incentives

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Channel incentives are used throughout manufacturing, including the automotive sector.

Manufacturing companies routinely use incentives to motivate their channel partners. Following are some basic strategies for success in this distinct incentive arena.

Make sure the reward is desirable to the audience

According to a white paper by the Incentive Research Foundation, “Channel Incentive Travel: A Case Study,” 62 percent of participating dealers’ loyalty was based on their overall impression of incentive travel, whether destination excited them and whether they would have a chance to mingle with top leadership at the sponsoring company. If incentive travel in general or a certain destination in particular did not have appeal, the program was less likely to succeed.

Make it fair

Participants need to feel that a program’s rules are fair and don’t discriminate. Companies should review their qualifications or bring in an incentive company to advise them, so that the program has the same appeal to all potential participants.

Focus on behaviors

Shift your focus from incenting sales alone to rewarding the foundational behaviors that result in more sales, say the incentive strategists at Blackhawk Nework. Companies that consider rewarding their resellers and distributors for performing the behaviors that generate success now will see dividends in the future as well. These behaviors can be anything from hosting customer events to participating in vendor marketing programs to community engagement.

Go mobile

Program details need to be available to channel partners whenever they want them, whether that means first thing in the morning or late at night, via their phones.

Keep it simple

Various companies are competing for your channel partners’ loyalty, so the easier your program is to understand, the more user-friendly your web site and the simpler it is for them to view their progress, the better chance you have of keeping them engaged.

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Barbara Scofidio
Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.