If you've ever found yourself in a position where the sales figures are down compared to forecast, then you'll know that feeling of trying everything to make up the shortfall. Discounts, freebies, shorter contract terms - you name it, it's probably been on the list of things to try. But there is another way you can achieve sales without compromising the value of your product and your margins. Sales incentives.
Channel sales incentives work a treat for breathing new life into the sales pipeline. But they need to be well constructed to pay off. Here's our mini guide to nailing an incentive.
1. What's your channel sales goal?
It's always best to work back from what it is you need to achieve. What is the minimum sale value you need, what's a stretch and what's bordering impossible? You can then structure an incentive with your partner around the 'must do' so it's achievable and then a 'would love to do' to give people extra incentive to over achieve.
2. What's the target worth to you and your channel partner?
How much can you afford to invest in making the 'must do' target a reality? There is no point putting aside a sum if it won't be made back in sales. Consider the long term effect on customer loyalty too. Sales are great, repeat sales are even better.
3. Understand your channel sales team
What is it that makes your channel sales team tick? What would set their world on fire? Is it skiing in the alps, a track day at Silverstone or hospitality and a live show at the O2? You have to tap into this otherwise the incentive won't get off the ground.
4. Make it competitive
That said, some sales people just like to win so you may find you don't have to spend thousands to galvanise their enthusiasm - an all expenses paid night at the Ice Bar may be right up their street. But, if it's not competitive and offering enough of a challenge it will fall flat. Sometimes it can be a good idea to have stages with prizes of different values which unlock qualification for a grand prize.
5. Make it a fair contest
People won't take part if they see anyone has an unfair advantage. We tend to find incentives work when there is a way for everyone to earn points, such as by completing online training modules, and then ways to get extra points by taking part in quizzes based on the training they have completed or selling a certain product combination, in addition to the total sales value achieved over the incentive period.
6. Make it interactive
There are some great apps you can use to turn your incentive into a game. It can ping participants with surprise bonus activities, host the leaderboard and unlock new information about what's up for grabs.
7. Make it worthwhile
If you've never done a sales incentive before then you need to make sure there will be a buzz among the winners. If you can create the sense that incentives are money can't buy prizes, then you will galvanise people to try harder next time.
8. Get the communications perfect
There can be no ambiguity when it comes to a channel sales incentive. You need to know everyone understands why they are doing it, the rules of the game and what's at stake. Clear communications including emails to kick off the incentive, a well designed webpage with more info, easy to use apps, and regular updates will help you land the messages and get results.
9. Make sure it has a lasting impact
There is no point in doing an incentive if people will sell the product intensively and then forget all about it afterwards. A great incentive will improve product knowledge and create evangelists, and ensure the sales made create loyal, happy customers.
If you'd like help devising a winning channel sales incentive, give us a shout!