Incentives Automation Outperform, Don’t Outspend Competition

Claudio Ayub

If you work in the channel, you are sure to have heard the phrase channel incentives automation, but just what is it and how does it help you achieve your goals? Channel incentives automation technology automates and scales channel growth by motivating the appropriate sales actions across a broad set of partner types on a global scale. Just like customer relationship management (CRM) took direct sales from an art to a science and marketing automation took direct marketing and added the levers and dials to demonstrate return on investment (ROI) for the first time, incentives automation (IA) today is taking incentive programs from intuition to a science, ensuring brands deploy the right mix, level, and cadence of incentives to improve revenue and profit from the channel.

IA is a unique cloud-based software solution preferred by top brands that deploy hyper-targeted incentives at the partner company level (Rebates, MDF), and partner individuals’ level (Rewards, Spiff) across a variety of partner types—who may have different go-to-market (GTM) models—on a global basis. IA combines multiple incentive modules into a single behavior-based incentive strategy designed to accelerate your partner’s time to revenue and increase partner loyalty.

IA platforms today include an artificial intelligence-based feature that uses a learning algorithm to decide whether a partner requires an incentive and if so, what level of incentive. In other words, instead of launching the same incentive to your entire partner ecosystem, or grouping partners in broad categories, you simply define and design the range of incentive promotions and programs you want, and IA decides which promotion will be most effective by each partner type, GTM, tier, and more based on the partner profile and behavior history of each partner.

Channel marketers often struggle to find the right level of investment between programs to optimize the sales and marketing performance of their indirect partners (effectiveness) without overspending (efficiency). Incentives automation takes the guesswork out of incentive program design by analyzing your target audience and identifying which partners are more likely to push your products when offered a specific incentive. IA then uses behavior data to predict your partners’ responses based on the behavior history and taking into account the additional settings you apply to smart incentives. It then decides which incentive to display to each partner.

Learning algorithms power incentives automation, which means results will become better and better over time. The algorithms need 10 to 15 promotions per partner before it can recommend with confidence.  IA then combines the predicted resale probability with a transaction value prediction for each individual partner, to calculate the expected revenue and cost of each potential incentive. You can weight revenue and cost according to the strategy set by the partner so that you can choose the best incentive for each contact.

Another way IA simplifies and accelerates partner enablement incentives, is by using a separate learning algorithm to review campaign funding requests and the associated claim history by partner. Looking into the approval/rejection history, ROI of campaign funding request and overall sales actions associated to each request, IA then recommends to first- and second-line approvers on the approval/rejection action. After 2 or 3 quarters IA can approve/reject campaign funding requests and claims on its own!

Let’s face it, anything your partner must perform manually is going to slow them down. There is plenty of research that confirms this. Plus, your partners are most likely managing upwards of ten brands. This can be overwhelming at best, overwhelming and expensive at worst if they must take on new hires to manage the partnership and see a return on their investment.

Onboarding a quantity of new partners inside a developing ecosystem puts additional strain on automation—especially if many of the partners are non-resellers or non-transacting. This is why it is so important to implement IA to future-proof your front- and back-end systems, even before accelerating your channel program. 

An automated cloud-based IA platform will enrich and simplify the management of your program and help you outperform your competition without outspending them.

Perks WW Channel is an incentives management company that brings brands and channel partners together. Our Enterprise Engagement Engine® (E3) is a single codebase channel incentives automation platform, with unparalleled user experience, ROI insights, and configurable programs that influence the entire demand chain.

Want to see E3 in action? Request a demo here.

About the Author

Claudio Ayub

Chief Strategy Officer Claudio Ayub brings over 20 years of global channel marketing experience to Perks.He has executed major go-to-market programs for a variety of vendors, including Bing, Cisco, Dell, EMC, IBM, Kaspersky, Lenovo, Microsoft, Motorola, Seagate, Symantec, and VMware among others.

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