To take the 50,000-foot perspective, most companies see an indirect sales incentive program as a way to keep their partners engaged, motivated and informed about the products they manufacture.

Sounds relatively straightforward, but come down a little closer to the minute details and things start to look more complicated. It’s not just a matter of what kind of programs and incentives you should offer your channel partners, but how to manage the various aspects of your program.

There are the logistical questions about how you are to build, roll out and manage multiple promotions for a number of different target groups. Or how to track how participants interact with and use your marketing and sales content.

Channel incentive programs can be complicated. And while you might know how to effectively design an incentive program, efficiently managing such a program can overwhelm even the most organized company.

Watch Out For These Red Flags

Properly managing multiple relationships and rewards programs requires the right kind of software to streamline this otherwise complicated process. Nonetheless, you’ve probably been in a situation where you’ve experienced the following:

  • The spreadsheets you’ve created for each task have multiplied to the point where you need spreadsheets…to keep track of spreadsheets
  • You have a mountain of gift cards in your desk that you need to manually send out
  • You need to reach individual sales reps but can only communicate with those in charge of the distribution channel
  • You blindly send out marketing and sales material
  • Each year you face the nightmare of compiling rewards information for tax purposes
  • You have no idea how effective your contests or promotions are until they are over
  • You regularly take on the task of manual data entry

If you’ve been in these situations, your indirect channel incentive program could benefit — and benefit tremendously — from a better platform.

A Better Distribution Strategy

Switching to a cloud-based platform can drastically change how you manage your incentive programs. Most importantly, it can help you untangle some of those organizational and logistical complications that seem to bog down even the most diligent managers.

That’s a huge help for you, but what about for your sales? Ultimately, that’s where you want to see your money work. Here are a few areas where you can see some serious ROI:

  • Close more deals. The most difficult part of the sales process is the final part, the last three feet as many have called it. The right software allows you to easily set up targeted communications (including incentive-based contests) with reps so that product details stay at the top of their mind at this pivotal juncture.
  • Build mindshare. A centralized, cloud-based platform allows you to host all marketing and sales assets in one location. From here you can communicate with reps and easily send them pertinent information they need. With tools that allow you to measure engagement, you can offer incentives to reps who complete educational modules and learn more about your product.
  • Target specific areas. Segment your contests and promotions so that only the reps in a region or channel have access to them. This allows you to give precise attention to specific markets.

There are many different moving parts that go into a channel incentive program. Managing all this in an efficient and effective manner can be daunting. So much so that it’s easy to see why many companies have incentive programs that are little more than handing out cash and gift cards based on performance. This grossly undercuts the potential of such programs.

Don’t let this happen to you. The right software does more than just easing the management of your programs. It can lead to increased sales, build relationships and allow you to get the most out of your incentive program.