“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” - Benjamin Franklin
Creating and initiating an effective channel strategy is one of the hardest challenges channel program strategists face today. Due to rapid changes in the industry, vendors are more deliberate and outcome-focused, and it’s not as simple as pivoting to a one-size-fits-all approach. They need a flexible, step-by-step model on how to build the best channel incentive strategy and program.
We’ve broken those Channel Strategy best practices down into eight key steps:
Create a clear business objective
Align the business unit strategy with the overall channel strategy, define the ROI and KPIs, and decide which partner set or tier(s) to focus on.
Understand your channel partner ecosystems
Understanding what drives your channel partners, what they want and what they like about other programs will help you determine the right mix of behaviors that you’ll need to influence and programs and incentives you’ll need to create.
Determine the right mix of channel incentives
When you influence the right behaviors, you can deliver positive results.
To run an incentive program there are many internal and external resources you’ll need to bring on board, from global executive leadership and analytics to regional support and training.
Create clear program guidelines
By making sure that a strategy has detailed descriptions updated regularly, simple incentive rules, necessary supporting documentation, and educated and trained partners, programs are naturally easier to understand and adopt.
Optimize channel incentive engagement
Deploy, track and measure multiple programs globally, providing partners with the ability to view rebates, claims and incentives – all in a single location.
Market your channel incentive program
Continually market throughout the entire lifecycle of your program by including a variety of touchpoints (emails, participation awards and marketing calendars) to guarantee partner awareness.
Evaluate your program and elevate your engagement
To maximize from a program’s insights, vendors must be constantly assessing and adjusting strategies, providing program partners a bird’s eye view of their growing partner network successes.
When completing your channel strategy, make sure that key people are engaged, include your partner’s feedback when creating and modifying your program, embrace the uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty and be sure to finetune parts of your program as needed.