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Successful incentive programs can help cut through today’s cluttered channel ecosystem, helping to drive engagement and increase sales. Utilizing channel incentive management (CIM) software will help you find new ways to motivate employees and communicate with partners and sales representatives.

Below are our tips to look for when evaluating a software platform.

Your Partner Incentives in a Shiny Package
CIM software reflects the value and investment a manufacturer places in its partner ecosystem. Your incentive software platform impacts your presence in the channel space. When managed properly, it serves as a hub for professional graphics, strong security, fast claim calculations, and simple award redemption.

Let Your Incentive Platform Do the Talking
Program communications cannot be overlooked. We live in an “Amazon Prime” environment and have grown to expect even faster-paced communication. Exceptional CIM platforms like Brightspot’s incentive software Ignite, have automated communication modules and real-time updates. Channels tend to be fragmented; capitalize on multiple touchpoints to keep the program and its benefits significant.

Consider Flexibility & Future State
Incentive management via spreadsheet is a thing of the past. Channel incentive software should come with ‘out of the box’ business logic and scoring mechanisms. Accenture reported that manual incentives add 5-10% more cost for errors and invalid claims. Traditionally, there are a few ways to track sales data: API, import(s), and sales or activity claim forms. Choose software with flexibility in achievement tracking to ensure it is ready to grow with your channel. It should also be able to adapt to any changes to internal systems in the future.

A Platform Without an Award Module is Boring
Don’t be boring! Recent studies show that the “power of choice” increases motivation, engagement, and personalization. Your platform serves as a redemption engine for users to shop and choose their awards quickly. Consider psychographics and demographics when deciding on an award. Options include a virtual eGift card from a favorite retailer, merchandise, a Visa prepaid card, or experiential travel. Last, but certainly not least, your platform should be able to communicate award status until it reaches your participants. Award modules with API integration offer real-time updates that we’ve come to expect in a “track your shipment” world.

Graphic describing the flow of channel incentives awards.

Beyond the Bare Minimum
It’s not enough to simply capture numbers and letters. At a bare minimum, online forms and fields should be conditional and dynamic, and sales data importers should have robust filtering and calculations.

Another requirement is security – you want end-to-end encryption and RESTful APIs. Gauge how the incentive software’s provider reacts to receive personally identifiable information (PII) – if they don’t at least pause, run! And the last of the basics: GDPR compliance, especially in a global channel ecosystem.

Fancy Footwork, at Your Service
We always recommend that clients start simple. However, today’s partner ecosystem is evolved; rarely is just one person responsible for the sale. Having a platform can recognize the entire team involved. CIM software should allow sales reps to add other sales reps and sales engineers to earn rewards or split the incentive. It should also allow the administrator to define tiers and add multipliers based on tier progress and achievement. Multipliers and tiers may sound counterintuitive to “simple,” but they help a tenured program stay fresh and engaging, resulting in long-term, loyal participants.

Expect Metrics and Insights
Easy-to-consume, executive-level stats should be in an appealing package – a program dashboard. Your dashboard will answer the quick questions: How many people are enrolled? How many are active? How much have we paid out to date? This quarter? This year? How many points have been earned and redeemed – and what’s that percent change month over month? Quarter over quarter? A dashboard does quickly what reports take time to analyze. Expect those metrics “off the shelf” and a partner that strives to provide insight and ways to continuously improve your program.

Let Us Help You With Your Performance Solutions
At Brightspot, we want to help you make the most of your channel program. We provide quality advice to make sure you stay ahead of industry trends and changes. Contact us so we can help you with engagement strategies, and incentive reward options that inspire and encourage sales.

Kelly Kunz

Author Kelly Kunz

Account Executive | Expertise in sales channel enablement, incentive design, employee engagement, product awareness, large-scale campaigns, and creative strategy.

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