Maybe sales amongst your distributors and other partners have been in a rut. Perhaps your products and services have been around long enough that they’re no longer generating a buzz, or maybe they’re being overshadowed by a newer, flashier line from a competitor. Perhaps you’re operating under a less-than-stellar network marketing strategy.

Or maybe you’re doing everything else right, but forgetting to incentivize your partner organizations to target their persuasive skills toward moving your product. After all, if you’re unable to light a fire under your network of salespeople, they’re unlikely to turn around and devote their energy toward getting customers enthused about your product lines. Research by Bain & Company concludes, in fact, that when sales professionals feel demotivated, their productivity can diminish by 25 to 50%.

“Every day, sales reps are bombarded by outside factors that are affecting their motivation,” notes business executive Sujan Patel in Entrepreneur. “To sell well, salespeople need to be hyped up and ready to go at any time. The motivation of your sales reps will affect productivity, culture and the bottom line. If you want to improve the success of your sales department, it’s time to make motivation a priority.”

That’s where a well-conceived channel incentives campaign that features strong rewards can move mountains when it comes to re-energizing your partners. By optimizing data about your teams as part of your strategy, you can choose incentives that reflect the amounts, rules, and conditions most likely to appeal to their needs and wants.

Here are some tips on spurring your partners’ sales performances in your next campaign.

  • Know your audience. Before setting the key parameters of your program, study data and anecdotal evidence to understand as much as you can about your partners’ salespeople. A Harvard Business Review article outlines how different performers require different kinds of attention. “Stars seem to knock down any target that stands in their way — but may stop working if a ceiling is imposed,” notes author Thomas Steenburgh. “Laggards need more guidance and prodding to make their numbers. Core performers … get the least attention, even though they’re the group most likely to move the needle if they’re given the proper incentives.”
  • Set reasonable goals. “Every goal-setter knows goals should be specific, time limited, achievable and measurable,” reads a recent article. “(But) choosing the wrong metrics and wrong goals creates a culture of inspection, and if goals, especially the wrong goals, are focused on too intently, an atmosphere of compliance and anxiety results.”
  • Provide ample support. While no one likes to be micromanaged, your partners want to know they’re not tackling sales challenges on their own. Consider hosting a pre-campaign training session or conference call; offering detailed product information that includes FAQs; compiling tips for selling your specific product; and/or arranging for frequent email or SMS messaging that includes updates and words of support.
  • Bestow rewards immediately. Keep your campaign structure as transparent as possible, and give credit where credit is due by turning over rewards as soon as they’re earned. “When employees feel they’re being cheated, that motivation can turn to resentment instantly,” notes Emily Murray on

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