In an increasingly complex marketplace, it can be argued that channel partnerships are the most crucial to a business’s success. In fact, more than 90 percent of today’s manufacturers rely on multiple channels of distribution to sell and move their products.
Of course, simply engaging in a channel-partner relationship doesn’t automatically guarantee business success. Realizing that channel reps most likely have the ability to sell competitors’ products, many organizations look to incentive programs as a way to maintain channel loyalty. But how effective are these programs?
To address this question, Maritz Motivation Solutions surveyed more than 1,000 sales professionals from a variety of industries. Here are the findings:
Sixty-seven percent say that rewards and incentives are extremely important to job satisfaction.
Seventy-seven percent are more willing to sell a manufacturer’s products and services if they offer a reward and incentive program.
Eighty-one percent agree that the opportunity to earn rewards and incentives from manufacturers strengthens their ongoing relationship with them.
But aside from increasing interest and loyalty to a brand, channel-incentive programs have a positive effect on sales results. According to the survey respondents, more than one-third of sales were attributed to the effort to compete for and earn rewards. Imagine losing a third of your business for failing to meaningfully incentivize your channel reps!
So channel-rep incentives do work, and they have a powerful effect on reps’ performance; however, there are a lot of incentives. Seventy percent of survey participants were offered two or more incentive programs from manufacturers, channel-loyalty partners, and employers. On average, channel reps had the opportunity to participate in 3.9 incentive programs!
To get salespeople’s attention and stand out from an influx of competitive offers, you need to develop a compelling program that focuses on the individual. Almost 7 in 10 channel reps believe manufacturer-provided incentive opportunities should be based on personal performance, as opposed to team performance. Incentive programs that take into account individual motivations, individual communication preferences, and an ongoing awareness of an individual’s performance offer the best chance for driving true loyalty in the channel.
If you’re still on the fence about implementing a channel-loyalty program, it’s time to rethink your approach. Channel-rep incentives, when strategically designed and implemented, do work.