Identifying and Engaging Your Channel’s Point of Influence
Devin Ferreira | January 7, 2016
How can you influence the behavior of channel partners, reach end-users, and capture critical information?
Effecting change in your channel takes knowing who’s driving its most important sales behaviors.
The best channel incentive programs target the point of influence. Setting up strategies that collect data while they reward can allow you to more easily identify these channel members and motivate them to move product more frequently.
Turn Up the Volume
When it comes to navigating the channel, you need partners you count on to help you move your products effectively and efficiently. But how do you get them to buy in?
One of the best ways to do this is to set up a comprehensive channel incentive program. Through this program, you can start to collect data on your partners, as many companies are starting to do with their customers. With enough data, you should be able to pin point the most influential people throughout your channel, whether that’s a manager or a top-seller of your products.
You can collect this data in a number of ways, including upon registration into the program, as a follow up in exchange for points or merchandise rewards, and many more.
Once you have this data, you can more easily market to you these points of influence. This relationship should be seamless, as you’ve already established that they’re a fan of your products/services. In your marketing, you can cut through the noise more easily by focusing on a value that’s more than just what you can bring to their sales calls: the rewards and the training.
A Better Way to Engage Your Point of Influence
Many successful channel incentive programs will not just target the end result: sales of the product. Instead, these programs utilize a steps-to-the-sale strategy.
A steps-to-the-sale strategy involves understanding opportunities within your channel and the behavior of your partners. You probably have a good idea of what your sales cycle looks like, in theory at the very least. But like many sales cycles, your funnel probably has some leaks here and there. Where are they? Could something like inserting a direct sales rep at a certain point in the funnel help prospects from falling out of contact.
Thinking of this example, what are some actions that your channel partners can take to increase their chances of closing? Maybe if they loop in your sales rep after the third call, it will give them just the right amount of support they need to close. Success channel incentive programs reward for these steps. It’s one way to better engage your point of influence as well.
Change the Channel
Here are some other fun and dynamic channel incentive strategies to add to your program. Implement these strategies to help you capture market share more effectively and drive discretionary purchases toward your business.
- Friendly competition through gamification and leaderboards
- Spin-to-Win contests
- Integrating your program with your partner portal