Is Your Channel Incentive Technology Investment Producing?
If you’re searching to learn about channel incentive technology investment, there’s a good chance you know a little bit about it. For example, you probably already know channel incentives are a cornerstone of your strategy to maintain the loyalty of your channel partners. And as the space continues to evolve, you’ll face challenges to meet new market demands.
The good news? As the landscape changes, new and better technology becomes available. Companies innovate to fill the gap and bring new benefits along with them.
But how can you tell if it’s worth the channel technology incentive investment to make a change?
Before You Buy Channel Incentive Technology Investment: 4 Key Considerations
What we discuss below assumes you’ve already clearly defined the objectives for your incentives program, as well as understand the metrics you need to measure success. View any future investment through those lenses first, so your strategy is crystal clear.
Once you know your goals, here are four additional items to consider when evaluating a new channel technology incentive investment:
1. Integration. The dog-and-pony show providers put on at sales meetings are very pretty. Their shiny slides highlight their product to maximum effect. But where they tend to fall short is when it comes to realistic analysis of the challenges associated with systemic integration.
While most vendors will talk about off-the-shelf plug-ins and “easy” integration, the reality is that your system infrastructure may not be as compatible as they claim. For example, key pieces of data may reside in a variety of different network locations. While certainly not a deal-breaker, it may require additional development work on your end to create a single data warehouse where they can “plug in.”
Just be sure you’re reviewing all solutions with an understanding of your objectives, a view of the data needed to realize them, and a clear view of any gaps between the two.
2. Data access. Closely related to the integration points we just discussed, data access can make or break your success. To both monitor performance and identify areas for improvement, you must have access to the raw data. This includes basics like the number of contacts, proposals and quotes, as well as more detailed behavioral and performance activity.
With access comes the ability to analyze. And your analysis allows you to strategically adjust your overall plan, tweaking it here and there to improve performance. Think more customer insights, improved vendor performance, and higher growth.
Bottom line? Any investment you make should provide the data you need to show results.
3. Reporting. Once you’ve got the data, it’s time to focus on regular monitoring. You should receive clear, concise reports containing the relevant metrics you need to monitor. This might include overall sales, year-to-date roll up, quarter over quarter growth, ROI, tax liability, and so on.
These reports form the basis of your program oversight and act as a health check on overall performance. And, in the event of anomalies, you can always pull the raw data and perform a deeper dive (going back to our previous point).
4. Communication. This is Channel Incentives 101: your users must be aware of an opportunity before they can seize it. And to do so, you need a robust communications strategy to break through the noise and strengthen your partner relationships.
You need to build knowledge, highlight benefits, and drive action. So, any new systems purchased must also be able to create scalable, personalized communication in a way that aligns with your brand. Otherwise, you’re just throwing away money.
Wrap Up: Evaluating Your Channel Incentive Technology Investment
Before you spend, it’s important to understand how the tool is going to work for you. Start by answering these four questions:
● Can you integrate it with your systems immediately, or will it require additional time and development?
● Does it track and monitor the data you need to manage your programs effectively?
● Will it provide timely reporting with accurate assessments of overall program health?
● Does it allow you to communicate with your channel partners in personalized, scalable, and consistent way that fits with your brand identity?
If you answered “Yes” to each of the questions above, chances are good you found a technology solution worth the money. You’ll be able to both prove the value of the channel incentive technology investment and drive greater partner loyalty: the perfect combination!
Let Loyaltyworks Help Boost Your Channel Strategy
Our team has over four decades of experience in the area. We offer revolutionary technology built specifically to address all pain points associated with channel sales. Let us help you craft the strategy that’s right for your business, and deliver the technology you need to support it.
Give us a call at 1-800-844-5000 to learn more about how we can help you with your channel incentive technology investment.