Trusting your channel and dealer partners to make the most of your next channel incentive program can feel a lot like sending a kid off to camp.
Camping is a big part of many happy summer memories. But sending kids to a summer camp can be a nerve-wracking experience for the grownups involved. Contemplations will be rife on whether they will have fun? Will they make friends and experience all that the camp has to offer?
Now, if you think it through a cool mind, you might reflect that sending a kid to camp can feel very much like launching an incentive program for channel or dealer partners. Applying discoveries made in the field of behavioural economics to the ecosystem of a channel can result in improved sales performance. Here,behavioural economists tell us that both experiences involve a loss of direct control making the situation challenging but a few things kept in mind could ensure happy campers and a happy and rewarding channel.
1. Get a game plan
It’s always good to prepare in advance for good experience. For example, kids need to be aware of what they should expect and how to avoid potential problems, if any. Most importantly, your expectations from them will need to be put in words. Sound familiar? Similarly, in case of incentive plans for a channel, you need to make sure that everyone knows what lies ahead – and what the best-case scenario might be to engage them in the program and qualify for rewards.
2. Good counsellors make the difference
A good guide makes a lot of difference for your kid’s trip and hence you should make sure they are adequately trained and up to all the challenges that might get thrown at them. Similar is the case for an organisation’s individual managers and franchise leads. Get to know them, let them know what’s coming, and above all, communicate with them frequently, making sure they are leading their group and not lagging behind.
To encourage feedback on your experience, campers aren’t allowed to enjoy Sunday night dinner on some camps until they show up with a letter to home, ready to mail. At work, this boils down to strong upfront reporting systems in place before you launch a channel incentive program. Otherwise, you will keep wondering how it’s all going back there at the dealership.
4. Comfort zones? Get out of them
To become camper of the year, you will have to pull up your socks and work rather than sitting and crying about how different everything seems. Similarly, strong channel performers will sometimes need to push themselves to try the new and difficult things like making a cold call, trying to generate a lead or ask for a referral. Moving outside of the comfort zone is a great way to succeed and perform better if you acknowledge that the learning curve may be steep, but definitely worth it.
Once the program is up and running (and once your kids get back home and start driving you crazy), you will be pleased you worked so hard to create a successful experience for everyone.