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5 ways to get the attention of your channel partners

Written by: Marie Hilliard
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How do you cut through the clutter to capture more than your fair share of your channel partners’ discretionary focus and effort?

Your uncontrolled distribution channel has a lot of places to focus their attention. Reward and recognition programs have long been used to engage channel partners and align their activities with manufacturers’ goals. The problem occurs when retailers are overwhelmed with promotions from multiple brands. What gets noticed is what’s best for the principal while your message is lost on the very people you wanted to reach – the ones in front of your customers.

Here are five best practices that use behavioural economics principles to design the most effective channel sales reward and recognition programs.

1. Keep it simple

It’s tempting to add qualifiers and caveats to program rules as a way to focus your channel sales reps on all the things that are important to you. Be careful. Overly complicated rules get ignored and you can end up wasting your budget on participants that don’t understand why they’re being rewarded. A good rule of thumb is whether your field organization can explain the highlights of the program in less than one minute.

2. Home-field advantage

Studies show that when your field organization is informed and involved, your distribution channel is more highly engaged and outperforms those without involved field reps. Give your field organization a preview of what’s to come and tools to make it easy for them to share your vision with their channel partner.

3. Give ‘em a chance

Recognizing channel sales top performers is important but shouldn’t be your only focus. Recent studies prove that building rules structures to engage all levels of performers generate better results. Create competitive groups that segment your participants based on similar performance levels. When people believe the reward is within their grasp, they are more likely to be engaged and strive to achieve it.

4. Mix it up

Even the best solution doesn’t work all the time. Build a calendar and introduce new channel sales promotions every few months to keep things fresh and channel partner participants engaged.

5. It’s all about me

People will do amazing things to earn the right to brag. It’s called the spotlight effect. Social media has created an imaginary currency of bragging rights. Using gamification, badges, public recognition, and non-cash rewards allow channel sales participants to boast about their accomplishments.

By deploying these five tactics you’ll cut through the clutter and capture the attention of your distribution channel — the people closest to your customers — and most importantly, achieve results.

Marie Hilliard

Division Vice President Automotive Group, BI WORLDWIDE

As Division Vice President of BI WORLDWIDE’s Automotive Group, Marie Hilliard’s primary focus is to develop engagement strategies and solutions that change the behaviours of automotive employees, consumers, and the dealer network to drive positive business results. An expert in applying behavioural economics to program design, Marie coaches professionals throughout North America on how to best engage people to drive desired results.

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