Motivating Channel Reps

By WorkStride

A channel incentives program can either hit or miss the mark when it comes to motivating channel reps. With the right components in place, you can have a very successful promotion, bringing in increased revenue and a better relationship with your channel reps. On the other hand, if your promotion is lacking, it will cause disinterest, a poor name for your brand, and you might even lose money in the process. No matter how great the reward, if your sales reps aren’t being appropriately motivated, your incentives promotions simply won’t be successful.
Here are a few reasons why your channel incentive program might not be motivating your sales reps.

It’s too hard to register

Are you having a difficult time getting channel sales reps to even register for your program? How many steps do your participants have to go through to be approved for participation? If at any point you are requiring sales reps to send you a registration form in the mail and wait for someone at your company to get back to them, you might be missing out on potential participants.

Today, you should have the process streamlined so there is minimal delay in signup and participation. With an online channel incentives program, users can sign up right on your program’s homepage. The system will verify information to make sure the person is a real channel sales rep and they can begin looking at promotions they qualify for. 

This eliminates the potential that a channel sales rep forgot they even signed up for the program, and they can receive email reminders of open promotions.

Submitting a claim is a pain

Channel sales reps will also have a difficult time participating if the submission/approval process is confusing. Make sure they can easily submit claims and be verified in a timely manner. If a rep submits a claim and receives no indication they did so, they might get discouraged and not submit future claims, or even participate. This is especially true if the instructions on how to submit a claim are non-existent or difficult to understand. Make your instructions and expectations clear so everyone is on the same page.

The goals are unrealistic

If you set your goals for reward payout too high, channel sales reps might be discouraged and think, “If I can’t reach the goal, why even bother?” Make the goals attainable, without being too easy. If the carrot is always out of reach, your reps will eventually lose interest.

Try aiming for goals that encourage a little bit of a stretch, without being impossible. Also, you can target goals to certain areas or position titles to maximize growth for appropriate groups. For example, if your West Coast reps regularly sell twice the amount that your East Coast reps sell, you might set a higher baseline goal for the West Coast than you do for the East Coast. This will encourage and reward better selling behavior for both groups.

The rewards are uninteresting

Rewards for channel incentive programs can vary from merchandise to experiences, and branded items to gift cards. The best incentive programs are the ones with rewards that actually motivate sales reps. If your channel reps are not motivated by watches and toaster ovens, they will not take the time to participate in your promotion. On the other hand, if you offer useful, worthwhile rewards that include no markup price for participants, they will be more inclined to participate! Gift cards are a great way to offer hundreds or thousands of reward options at retailers, restaurants, and other name-brand businesses. The choices are endless, and you give your participants the chance to choose what motivates them. Do they want a romantic dinner, or new clothes for the kids? What about a shiny new TV or flowers for their partner? With gift cards, the choice is theirs!

There is a delay when receiving a reward

When channel sales reps submit a claim, they are excited to receive their reward. They saw the details and they performed their end of the bargain, and now they expect the reward. However, if it takes weeks or months to get approved, they become disinterested. Why should they participate in a promotion when they don’t know when they’ll see the return on their efforts? If they submit sale after sale and don’t hear back, they will become demotivated and perhaps stop submitting claims in the first place.

Online channel incentives programs take claims and can automate the approval process, with automatic validation processes to minimize fraud and make sure your reps get paid on time. Whether your reps get paid immediately or at the end of the promotion is up to you. Just make sure the details of the promotion are clear before setting a delayed payout time.