What makes a good deal reg incentive?
Deal registration is a common process of a vendor’s Channel Partner Programme, in which the channel partner informs the vendor about a sales lead. This process is usually as simple as the partner entering information into a portal or system, which is hosted by the vendor.
If approved by the vendor, the partner is given priority for the lead. This wards off competition for that sale from other partner organisations.
The process benefits not only vendors and partners but customers too!
What are the benefits of a Deal Registration Programme?
The benefits of the deal reg process are numerous, however, here are a few:
- It increases the visibility of revenue much sooner. Particularly if the vendor has deployed a system in which partners can register deals themselves. With this, vendors can identify pipeline and forecasting much earlier in the process.
- It reduces conflict in the channel and increases partner satisfaction, once a deal has been registered only that partner can pursue the deal. This also means that the vendor’s direct sales teams cannot take the lead away from the partner. Protecting deals shows partners that vendors value their contribution towards sales and ensures they are rewarded for their efforts.
- It allows better resource allocation. With increased visibility, the vendor can deploy resources to support the partners, particularly the higher priority deals.
- It improves the customer experience. Protecting a lead shifts a partner’s focus away from getting a deal signed as quickly as possible (to ensure no one else beats them to it!), giving a bit of breathing room where a partner can focus on ensuring they have provided the best solution to the customer's problem, not just the quickest one.
So, isn't a Deal Registration Programme an incentive in its own right?
Deal registration programmes are now commonplace in the tech industry. So much so, that vendors’ partners in the channel expect them to be in place. Whilst it’s a system that benefits all parties, it does have one major flaw.
As mentioned above, the reduction of conflict means that partners can take their time over a sale to ensure the customer has the perfect solution. This is a good thing apart from the fact it will slow sales down the sales cycle.
So how do we speed it back up without impacting the customer experience?
Deal Registration Incentives to boost and enable sales
Deal Reg programmes normally include incentives to drive sales through the channel. It is common to see that these incentives often have one or more of the following objectives:
- Generating and recording new leads. The disconnect between sales and marketing is well documented. Incentives focused on lead generation, will encourage sales and marketing teams to work together. Vendors will encourage partners to run off-the-shelf marketing campaigns from their portals to generate pipeline that the partner sales team follows up resulting in new deal registrations.
- Bringing forward deals and closing them. Deals have several forecast categories which both indicate their position in the sales funnel and the likelihood of closing. The forecast closed date and revenue value enables reasonably accurate sales forecasting. With deals registered in Salesforce, for example, you’ll see the following forecast categories:
- Omitted – these are generally deals which have been lost or qualified out
- Pipeline – deals in the early stages of the buying process that need developing further (usually only around 25% of these will close)
- Best Case – deals that have been fully qualified and where there is a clear closing plan (typically 30-50% of these will close)
- Commit – deals which the sales reps are very confident will close on or by the forecast close date (typically 90% of these will close)
- Closed (Won) – deals that have been won
A sales incentive focused on just closing deals, many of which would have closed anyway, doesn’t have as much of an impact as one which focuses on rewarding salespeople who manage to bring forward and close a deal the vendor wasn’t expecting i.e., closing a non-committed deal on or before the close date.
- Selling certain products or solutions. A vendor will have several reasons to push the sale of certain products or solutions over others. Products with renewing service revenue for example or where there is excess stock or simply just to get the products out there i.e., a new product.
- Upselling. An upselling goal could be to uplift the current deal estimate by working with the customer to take on additional products or services to the deal. A deal may start at value X but end up as Y. For this, you would need to capture the starting deal value and closing deal values and calculate the difference.
- New logos. Another common focus for many vendors is securing new customers, often referred to as new logos. These are key to the vendor growing its market share and revenues.
So, what does a good Deal Reg Incentive look like?
Whilst a Deal Reg Incentive relies on the ability of sales partners to register deal information, an incentive programme has many components. A good one has:
- Appealing prizes. You need a big enough carrot to draw people in. Tech items, experiences (e.g., wine tasting, track days) and simple Amazon vouchers work well. Prize fulfilment can be quite challenging, particularly if you have participants in different countries, but since Amazon operates in most countries, they are often a go-to choice. There are also prize fulfilment services you can use to help you manage this if required.
- An incentive registration process (with terms and conditions). You need to know who is taking part in your incentive plus have the reassurance that they understand what is involved and what they are signing up to. Registration is an essential component of every incentive programme, and you can’t successfully run one without it. Also important is that participants also acknowledge they have accepted the incentive terms and conditions (you’ll need those too), this is invaluable in resolving any issues further down the line.
- Achievable goals. For participants, it’s not good making the incentive too challenging (they won’t bother taking part) or too easy. There needs to be a balance that both encourages sales teams to get the work done and contributes to the fulfilment of the incentive SMART goals.
So don't incentivise the closure of deals which were going to close anyway (too easy) or set some impossible sales target that can never be reached by anybody (too hard).
Instead, as an example, incentivise the closure of deals not in the immediate forecast (e.g., Pipeline, Best Case). These are deals that weren’t forecast to close, but when they do, they bring in revenue that is over and beyond expectation and therefore definitely worth a reward!
- Collateral (assets). The following collateral helps communicate and promote the incentive with both internal teams and participating partners:
Incentive theme banner: a banner graphic/image to act as the creative theme for the incentive which all communications elements can utilise.
Internal/external promotion slides: a PowerPoint deck designed to promote and communicate the incentive to internal colleagues and stakeholders and to be used when communicating to partners say via a webinar.
Incentive landing page and registration form: dual purpose, this page tells partners everything they need to know about the incentive and allows them to accept the terms and conditions and register.
Email template: an HTML email template containing the theme banner to be used for incentive-related communications to partners including the invitation and update communications.
- Good communications and engagement. Communication is key at all stages of the incentive, both internally to ensure thee partner sales team are onboard and encouraging their partners to sign up, and externally with the partners themselves and don't forget your distributors as they will help to promote the incentive as well.
Making use of the assets described above, communications will come in three stages:
Before: Often takes the form of an internal webinar to internal stakeholders, email promotions and as webinar content to the partner base.
During: Progress updates and reminders to encourage continued participation.
After: Internal reporting on the success of the incentive and external communications to thank participants and in the fulfilment of prizes.
- A project manager. Running an incentive isn’t easy with so many components and people involved. A good Deal Reg Incentive has a good team behind it. With a project manager at the centre, you typically see the following additional roles as part of the team:
With this expertise onboard you will cover all aspects to make the sales incentive successful.
- the Strategist
- the Data Guru
- the Creative Expert
- the Comms Manager
- Progress tracking. What makes a Deal Reg Incentive more engaging, is the provision of progress updates to participants. Even better is allowing them to make deal reg claims and track their own activity whenever they like. This can be done through dedicated incentive portals. At the base level, the participant simply logs in, submits a claim, and can review approved claims and their current reward total. Seeing their current progress on-screen helps to motivate them to do more.
- Good sales data. Data is the one element a Deal Reg Incentive cannot do without. You need to capture the state of play at the start of the incentive i.e., deal detail and their current status. The basic information you need is:
- Deal Reg ID number
- End user customer name
- Deal value
- Partner name
- Partner salesperson (name, email)
- Location (city/country/region)
- Forecast close date
- Forecast category (e.g., Omitted, Pipeline, Best Case, Commit, Closed or your own variation of these)
- Product information
- New logo or existing business
By capturing a ‘snapshot’ of all this information you can map and reward the deals the partners close/claim during the incentive, according to the rules you set in the T&Cs.
- Good reporting. Good sales data makes reporting easier. By building reporting dashboards, you can gain insights during the incentive and potentially act where there is an opportunity to improve. Insights and reporting derived at the incentive close can be fed back to budget holders to enable decision-making for future endeavours and motivate all internal stakeholders.
- Efficient reward fulfilment. Prize fulfilment is time consuming and can be problematic unless well-planned in advance. Physical prizes are more difficult to distribute than virtual ones (e.g., e-vouchers). Delivering prizes to different countries is also a challenge to consider, along with the different tax implications that may apply. Using a fulfilment company that is used to these challenges is advisable if you haven't done this before or don't have the time.
The important thing is to be able to distribute prizes accurately and timely (don’t leave it too long after the incentive or your participants will be chasing you!) and with minimal distribution costs.
Doing something different
Over time partners get used to the incentives vendors run. And from vendor to vendor, incentives can often be very similar. Therefore ‘doing something a bit different is a tactic to generate a bit more interest from the partner base than you’d otherwise get. It’s worth testing because in some instances it’s the familiarity that works too. Partners have done it before and will do it again if they valued it the first time.
What to change? It could be as simple as rebranding the incentive with a different incentive banner or a new name. Alternatively, it could be rewards that have not been tried before or a change to what is being incentivised. It may even need an upgrade to the whole process or something really new and exciting to better engage the participants. Here are a couple of examples:
- Sales Buzz Days: pre-pandemic in 2019, Essential developed a new concept which we called ‘Buzz Days’, dedicated sales call-out days designed to build pipeline, generate engagement and competition, build momentum, have fun and get results. During the pandemic, these were all done online using a ‘buzz social wall’. The buzz wall is the hub of the day, where results are posted, banter shared and the team's progress tracked to determine who will be awarded prizes such as ‘Most meetings booked’, ‘Most deals registered’, ‘Most emails sent' and ‘Socialite of the day’. These were, and still are in this hybrid world, very successful and vendors continue to run these as we approach 2023.
- Online Sales Leaderboards: These are online portals where partners can log activity targeted by the vendor (e.g. meetings booked, registered deals, sales training attended and more) gaining points to try and get to the top of the leaderboard and win prizes.
Good Deal Registration Incentives to grow your channel
There is no doubt that successful Deal Reg Incentives contribute to the growth of your business and your sales channel. It’s not just about generating new pipeline and closing more deals. A successful incentive builds trust and buy-in internally, increases brand image in the channel and motivates teams going forward.
Essential has more than 20 years of experience working in the channel and running incentives for our tech clients. Take a look at our channel incentive portfolio and see how we can do the heavy lifting for you and make your next incentive a resounding success!