16 Winning Strategies to Maximize Your Rewards & Loyalty Program
 

16 Winning Strategies to Maximize Your Rewards & Loyalty Program

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2/13/2013. hawkeye Channel eBook

2/13/2013. hawkeye Channel eBook

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16 Winning Strategies to Maximize Your Rewards & Loyalty Program 16 Winning Strategies to Maximize Your Rewards & Loyalty Program Document Transcript

  • Page 1 www.hawkeyechannel.com Contents Why rewards & loyalty programs are important......................................................................................2 Best practices to enable loyalty & rewards success. ................................................................................3 1. Provide incentives across the partner life-cycle and throughout the sales cycle.............................3 2. Shift incentives from post- to pre-sales. ...........................................................................................4 3. Reward your partners based on Life Time Value (LTV) of the deal...................................................4 4. Deliver a consumer-like experience. .................................................................................................5 5. Design your incentive strategy around Tier 2 and Tier 3 partners....................................................5 6. Understand what drives behavior.....................................................................................................5 7. Harmonize value and volume partner rewards.................................................................................7 8. Target rewards to the point of impact. .............................................................................................7 9. Rethink rebates. ................................................................................................................................8 10. Ease of doing business.......................................................................................................................8 11. Measure performance and provide feedback...................................................................................8 12. Find and appoint a champion............................................................................................................9 13. Effective communication.................................................................................................................10 14. Organizational commitment............................................................................................................11 15. Consolidate platforms. ....................................................................................................................11 16. Ensure the right budget...................................................................................................................12 Success now and in the future – a data driven approach.......................................................................13 Reward program benchmarking. ............................................................................................................13 Communication is key for loyalty (and everything else…)......................................................................14 How to reach your partners – social media........................................................................................15 Don’t tell your partners, show them...................................................................................................15 Keep them updated. ...........................................................................................................................15 In-platform communication................................................................................................................16 Who owns social media initiatives?....................................................................................................16 Summary.................................................................................................................................................16 Meet the A-team authors and contributors. ..........................................................................................18
  • Page 2 www.hawkeyechannel.com Why rewards & loyalty programs are important. Your channel performance is important to you – and we know why. A large portion of your company’s revenue is driven by your indirect sales channel so it’s imperative it’s operating at peak effectiveness. Getting your partners to engage in the right behaviors is essential but can present challenges. This is where incentive and loyalty programs come in. This eBook explores best practices to help you maximize the impact of your loyalty program. At first glance some best practices may seem obvious – yes, we all want our rewards program to be “easy to use!” – but since partner surveys reveal many of the same requests year-over-year, it’s clear that vendors have yet to deliver some of the features partners seek. Others, like structuring your incentives around the Lifetime Value of the deal, are new and have come as a result of the channel moving to a recurring revenue model. In 2013 the channel will continue to adapt and progress as we begin to consider the long-term impact of a cloud-computing model. Vendors and partners are modifying their business models, which is driving change within core programs such as incentives that support indirect sales. Vendors need to focus on earning partner loyalty, while they continue to define cloud strategies for their business. Loyalty and reward programs remain top-of-mind for vendors and their partners because they drive channel revenue, encourage new solution adoption and establish a competitive differentiation for your channel program. Whether a vendor is selling traditional software or hardware, or is expanding their solution set with more service offerings, incentives remain a key to their overall strategy. Top-performing loyalty and reward programs share certain channel relationship characteristics that contribute to their success, including: • High levels of segmentation and personalization to each partner group and partner tier • Clear rule structures built around two or three behaviors that consistently produce one specific performance improvement result • Alignment to the partner group business model • Mutual benefit for the vendor and the partner Successful vendors realize the need for an integrated approach to engagement, education, measurement and rewards. These vendors balance short-term benefits with long-term structural changes in partner behavior and attitudes. Now let’s jump into the loyalty & rewards best practices for 2013 and beyond!
  • Page 3 www.hawkeyechannel.com Best practices to enable loyalty & rewards success. Constructing your program upon the latest proven insights will allow you to increase sales, create new markets, boost mindshare, capture market share, and stimulate greater partner loyalty. Apply the following 16 best practices to set your program apart by truly motivating partner behavior. 1. Provide incentives across the partner life-cycle and throughout the sales cycle. Incentives in the cloud need to support more than deals won and quarterly revenue goals. This is especially important given the speed at which transformation is happening – incentivizing things like marketing, lead generation activities, education, training and certification will help motivate partners to evolve their business. Below are key areas you must incent to support your business model during transformation: • Marketing and lead generation activities are more important than ever before. It seems every vendor has a Marketing Automation tool designed for vendor-led and/or partner- led marketing – yet partners use them sporadically. If you reward marketing associates at the partner level for using your automation tool, as well as for the leads generated by the campaign, you’ll increase utilization and accelerate results. • Vendors are also providing catalogs of pre-packaged, integrated marketing plays. These plays are more than Marketing Automation – they integrate a number of elements into a cohesive campaign instead of a single DM piece or EM piece, and they include social media and SEO optimization. Vendors should incent individual channel marketers at the partner level for executing campaigns and providing proof of performance data. • Provide incentives for sales training and accreditation. Partners are able to more easily sell products and services when they’re knowledgeable, demonstrate expertise and provide exemplary customer service, so these behaviors must be encouraged through incentives. Results should be measured against pre-determined customer satisfaction scores, using mystery shoppers or other KPI’s. • Incent technical training and certification of your cloud solutions. Keep it simple. Make sure there’s something in it for them and you will help accelerate business process transformation at the partner level.
  • Page 4 www.hawkeyechannel.com 2. Shift incentives from post- to pre-sales. Rewarding partners for closing deals is no longer enough – and rewarding partners equally through the sales cycle may not work if a vendor has a broad (and/or shifting) portfolio of services. In a recurring revenue model, focus moves from deal closing to each step prior to closing – from lead generation to opportunity registration. Incenting these behaviors keeps the funnel full, especially when individual deal value is lower in a recurring revenue services-focused business. • Discussions with Forrester have revealed two leading trends in deal registration – extending your program from deal registration to opportunity registration and rewarding partner’s sales teams earlier in the sales cycle. • Connect your deal/opportunity registration program with your lead and sales funnels to track your sales pipeline effectively. This will help you reward partners for more than closing deals. Instead, require partners to generate a specific number of qualified leads to maintain top tier status. • Incent lead generation, lead management, opportunity registration, opportunity qualification, but only pay the benefit on deal closing to keep your partner’s salespeople honest. 3. Reward your partners based on Life Time Value (LTV) of the deal. Cloud computing offerings are disrupting existing channel business and financial models. In a subscription business with a recurring revenue stream, the value of the deal is not as clear cut as the price of a software license – that’s why cloud incentives should be paid based on the LTV of the deal instead of the unit price of the product. • During the transition period from licensing to cloud, vendors need to reward their partner’s sales teams on the total LTV of the contract (or at least for the first year’s value). Once vendors transition to a recurring revenue model, they will be able to use
  • Page 5 www.hawkeyechannel.com ANY measure of recurring revenue that is proportionate to lifetime deal value – monthly, quarterly or even annually. 4. Deliver a consumer-like experience. Successful rewards programs mimic online consumer experiences by delivering ease of use, an attractive look-and-feel and anytime/anywhere access from laptops, tablets and smartphones. Partners expect to engage with vendor-provided tools as easily as they do with online retailers or social applications, and are looking for similar features like shopping carts and reviews. Providing a consumer-like experience and choosing the right rewards technology will substantially improve partner engagement and increase loyalty. • Forrester reports that today 45% of employees feel their personal computing devices and applications are better than what their IT departments provide. • Contrast that with the much smaller 27% of executives who have a clear strategic vision for employee adoption of consumer technologies (Accenture). • This is an industry-wide trend that sets the landscape for the future of the channel. 5. Design your incentive strategy around Tier 2 and Tier 3 partners. Target individual, team and company level incentives to ensure all stakeholders receive tangible benefits through earning and redemption opportunities aligning to the partner’s business model and generating an incremental shift in the desired partner behavior. • In the New Channel your successful partners of the future may not be sitting in your top tier today. This means you must focus on more than just your Tier 1 partners. You should pay attention to your Tier 2 and 3 – these are the partners that may be most agile in adapting to business transformation. • Rewards are typically skewed toward Tier 1 partners, but they are often already at business capacity, while Tier 2 and 3 partners are more apt to be “cloud focused” and centered on SMB business. • In order to maintain current revenue opportunities, while positioning your business for opportunities in the New Channel world, you must focus your rewards on partners across tiers. • The time is now to refocus your thinking about partner tiering and incentives – consolidate existing partner rebate programs with individual rewards built around solution selling. This practice builds deeper relationships with target partners, improving the effectiveness of complex solution selling. 6. Understand what drives behavior. Understanding what motivates the right partner behavior will help you recognize and reward not only achievements, but the actions and activities that accelerate the desired result. Without visibility into the behavior of successful partners, programs can only be judged by tactical
  • Page 6 www.hawkeyechannel.com measurements, instead of how well they support the real goal of increasing partner performance. • Start by Identifying best practices from within your New Channel organization, and define two or three behaviors that consistently provide one specific result (improvement). • Decide on the length of your program cycles by determining the frequency of that behavior. • Attach a consequence to those behaviors (rewards) with the result of driving performance improvement consistently and successfully across your channel. • Make your expectations clear – driving behavior requires participants to understand exactly what is expected of them. • Track both behaviors and results so you can provide feedback to your partner’s sales representatives. Measuring the results and providing a response (individual and team performance metrics) will encourage the desired behavior and improve performance. • Once partners understand which behaviors will make them successful, it’s time to introduce them to your program currency. This should motivate their salespeople and management, compelling action throughout your program’s lifecycle. • A business owner is motivated by financial incentives directly impacting the bottom line but this isn’t true for a partner’s sales teams. They are motivated by an award selection of name brands, experiences and “Lifestyle Reward” options. • Trophy value rewards, as opposed to cash awards, offer a lasting impact and produce fantastic results. Participants are already receiving cash as a reward in the form of commissions. Besides, you want to stay away from rewards that may later be considered an entitlement.
  • Page 7 www.hawkeyechannel.com 7. Harmonize value and volume partner rewards. Balancing your incentive program between value and volume partners will do a number of things – it will promote mindshare and revenue with partners, close more complex sales and reduce your channel spend with partners who simply take orders. • “Balancing” means shifting your incentives focus from “volume partners” to “value partners” to maximize your channel investment. Essentially, you will increase value partner rewards and decrease rewards for volume partners who simply take orders. 8. Target rewards to the point of impact. Recognize and reward individual sales reps and sales engineers at the partner level. In order to engage effectively you must segment and personalize incentives at every level. Salespeople are the ones who ultimately drive performance so personalizing their incentive is paramount. • Start by assigning rewarded activities (or desired behaviors) to the individual sales representatives and sales engineers – dedicate 55% of your overall budget to this. • Dedicate 25% of your budget to team incentives (ex: sales, marketing, services) for lead generation, lead management and opportunity registration.
  • Page 8 www.hawkeyechannel.com • Direct the last 20% of your budget back to the partner based on the performance of their sales team. Reward for new and target accounts, as well as focused products. • Stack incentives with your alliance vendor partners to be successful in the solution- based New Channel model. Stack incentives by adding funding from other vendor alliances when solution selling. • Don’t structure your incentive programs to reward existing and recurring business at the individual level – ensure your rewards encourage behavior that grows new business. 9. Rethink rebates. Combine company-level (rebates) and individual/team level (rewards) into a single incentives program built around solution selling to reduce operational costs and improves overall program effectiveness. A unified approach to incentives builds deeper relationships with target partners, improving the effectiveness of complex solution selling. • Create quotas around revenue growth, not attainment. You must position your company-level rebates to drive new business, not existing or recurring business. • Employ an on-demand rewards technology solution so you can model an unlimited number of rebate and reward scenarios. These scenarios will be based on POS data, segmentations and activities to drive partner, team and individual performance. • Consolidate rebate and rewards programs to ensure all stakeholders are aligned and on the same page. 10. Ease of doing business. Keeping your program simple by minimizing complexity does wonders for getting partners to use it. “Ease of business” has long been important to partners, but with competition for partners heating up, vendors have taken notice. Appease your partners, and attract new ones, by offering an intuitive, easy-to-use program without complicated menus and processes. • Simplify the registration/activation process. Make accessing and signing up for rewards programs as easy as logging into the partner portal and clicking once (no separate sign- on!). • Ensure your terms and conditions are clear and meet all local, legal, and tax requirements. • Provide a straight forward rules structure and a simple claims process. • Design a user friendly claims process with fast, data-driven validation. Swift validation requires consolidated, cleansed and staged POS data. 11. Measure performance and provide feedback. Channel transformation has made measuring performance more critical than ever before. It’s vital because performance data indicates whether or not your rewards program is driving the desired behavior and partner performance. Dashboards make viewing this information easy and should be available for both vendors and partners. Providing channel partners the ability to see
  • Page 9 www.hawkeyechannel.com where they stand, and all the rewards for which they’re eligible, will motivate them to hit their goals. • Measure program performance at many levels, including aggregate, promotion and partner tier. • Provide graphical representations of progress to the partner and sales teams via performance dashboards. • Performance measurement should take into account not only “product transaction” revenue, but also deals that are focused on solutions or services, and won by partners where the product portion is transacted elsewhere (i.e. through Distribution, DMR’s). • Make sure that at a minimum your rewards technology can provide reports with the following metrics to drive key performance indicators (KPIs): - Participant summary and details – registered versus active by tier - Summary and detail of all earning activities (behaviors) by tier - Summary and detail of all training activities by tier - Transaction summary and details – top earners by tier and company - Points balance summary and detail by tier and company - Redemptions summary and details by tier, and company - Redemptions summary and detail by tier and reward product - Wish list summary and detail by tier and rewards product - Referrals summary and details by tier and company - Like and comments (moderator reports) made by tier and company 12. Find and appoint a champion. All of the strategies in this eBook will help your company meet its loyalty objectives but you won’t experience amazing results until someone in your organization takes charge of the initiative. Finding a manager who really “gets it” – someone who understands and believes in the value of the program – will ensure that all aspects of the program are accomplished. • The individual driving your incentive strategy must be invested in its performance and accountable for successes or failures. • This individual is typically an articulate “change agent,” who takes risks and has the authority to make changes. He/she has access to the executive team, understands how to drive buy-in and speaks the language. • This champion will lead research to identify the partner groups that will ultimately drive the desired outcomes. They will also pinpoint the desired behaviors by reviewing the metrics and interviewing the top performing partners. • He/she will also work closely with the chosen agency to support your incentive program as the driver behind the advertising of internal successes such as market-share gains, increases in sales of specific products or services, testimonials and more.
  • Page 10 www.hawkeyechannel.com 13. Effective communication. E-mail is still an effective form of communication but you should impart information to your rewards participants using all of the tools at your disposal – like social media. Marketing experts agree that social media has come of age, but more importantly, so have business people. Professionals from all sectors but especially small to mid-size businesses have taken great strides and often make key decisions based upon social media posts and user generated content. We’re starting to see vendors move beyond standalone pilot projects and they’re beginning to embed social media into their channels to engage with partners and help them grow their businesses. It’s positive to see, in these times when budgets and headcount are still tight, social media being recognized as an area for investment, with 95% of companies planning to invest more in social media. Implementing social media into your channel program won’t guarantee you a 5-star program but it can make you a better vendor by allowing you to listen, react and build faster and more efficiently than ever before. It will ensure your rewards program is evolving and can give you a competitive edge. In 2013 vendors will take a more holistic approach to managing activities, starting with listening and monitoring. At present, a lot of social media effort is centered on vendor-sponsored initiatives such as LinkedIn, blogs and Facebook. We are seeing a shift, as companies step outside of their social environment to find out what social channels their partners and partner’s customers are using. These new lines of communication are providing them with more unbiased information they can use alongside other sources to glean real insight. These insights can now be used to drive your channel strategy, programs and tactics. We haven’t seen social media play such an integral role until now, but this is changing. A word of caution before we continue – it is important to remember what is talked about in the online world needs to be considered in the wider context of the business. Sentiment can vary from day-to-day, from user-to-user and from country-to-country. So, only after assessing user comments in relation to your business can you embark on making adjustments to your programs. • Social media – is an effective method of communicating weekly top performers, uploading brief video interviews of collaboration and teamwork wins and broadcasting achievements. • Video messages – when aligned to a lifecycle, these messages will be far more motivating and thereby more likely to compel action. • Online postings – make frequent postings of participants’ performance to encourage competition and the right attitude! • Webcasts – can be used to provide executive reports that highlight best practices and showcase early indicators of success.
  • Page 11 www.hawkeyechannel.com • Make it fun and lively! – keeping your messages fresh and engaging will ensure your program remains top-of-mind for participants. • Don’t forget – traditional print communications and trophy-style communication pieces can still be effective. 14. Organizational commitment. Company buy-in is essential for a successful channel rewards program. Successful programs need both internal buy-in (from their CEOs on down) as well as from channel partners. • Start at the top – when a CEO’s confidence in a loyalty strategy is outwardly apparent, partners will be more likely to buy-in. • Approach applicable departments – it is essential to align sales and marketing and win the hearts of internal operations, finance and IT. Getting these teams on board can make your program a core component of your company’s winning strategy for the future. • Include your partners – Gain commitment by consulting your partners when determining how the program will work. After all, they will be the ones using it, making their input vital to delivering a successful program. 15. Consolidate platforms. Consolidate incentive programs to fewer platforms and leverage them on a global basis with a single incentives currency (we suggest points). Deploying a core incentive and reporting platform across different territories, regions and countries delivers stability and scalability, driving incentives in a uniform manner globally. You can then allow for region-specific functionality, which in turn will empower your local country/region/territory managers to manage their own individual promotions and initiatives. • Recent economic challenges make it necessary to run programs as “lean and mean” as possible. Aside from increasing operational efficiency, this will also make it easier to run your program globally. Employing a global approach is easier said than done, as local channel managers will almost certainly experience the “not-invented-here syndrome.” • Avoid this by providing local managers with controls that give them the flexibility to drive the program in their regions. After all, they are the experts in their regions? • Achieve global and local control with a rewards platform that is 60% managed by your worldwide organization, and gives 40% local control through different mechanisms and configurations. • Empower local managers through communication, participating services/products selection, participating activities and benefit values. • A single platform offers advantages for both vendors and partners because it provides centralized data and a single source of the truth to understand your programs.
  • Page 12 www.hawkeyechannel.com • You will experience reduced administrative burden, reduced head count to run the program, and centralized program information, providing easy access for headquarters, regional offices and the field team. • A single platform delivers easy global scaling and offers flexibility to tailor programs to regional needs. • Centralized reporting gives partners a quick view of all their incentives activities. Seeing where they stand can help motivate them to reach sales goals. • A single incentives portal integrated with your PRM platform can help you manage the needs of many different partner types – and many different types of programs. • When you combine a data-driven rewards strategy with a sound platform you will be empowered to Engage – Acquire – Grow – Retain & Foster Loyal Partners. 16. Ensure the right budget. Proper program budgeting can impact the success of a loyalty program. Interestingly, our experience contradicts the assumption that a greater the incentive payout, the better the performance. Rather, we’ve found that other factors, like the ones in this eBook have much more impact on success. When companies are unsure what drives success, they often waste money because they have trouble targeting their investment. • Budget for platform setup and configuration. The best practice is to allocate up to 25% of your total budget for services, and invest the balance for rewards the first year. • For the second year and beyond, you should budget at least 5% of your annual spend for changes, and another 10% for ongoing program management and support. • Most vendors typically allocate between 0.5% and 2.25% of captured revenue to incentives and from 2% – 5% to rebates. • The rule of thumb is to fund your rewards budget on a contra revenue basis, and your services spend against your marketing opex budget. This is another reason why aligning sales and marketing is critical. • It is important to ensure timely flow of monetary resources, since reward delivery requires funds to be available on or ahead of time if you are considering cash equivalents. • Vendors should agree on a process when buying goods and services in different currencies, as exchange rates tend to be more flexible than budgets. Account for variances in the Value Added Tax (VAT) rates and acknowledge that in some countries it may be difficult or impossible to reclaim the VAT.
  • Page 13 www.hawkeyechannel.com Success now and in the future – a data driven approach. In order to gain a fundamental understanding of ROI you must have the cleanest sales data possible and top-performing vendors are investing resources to ensure that data is in a good place – especially when sales to partners go through distribution. However, it’s surprising to see that most vendors aren’t undertaking analytics exercises to drive smarter incentives targeting and design. Many vendors have the basic reporting in place to make simple associations between programs and the sales they appear to drive, but that’s as far as they go. Reporting isn’t analytics and cannot give you the most important aspect of true measurement which is the INCREMENTALITY in performance that incentives either do – or do not drive. Top-performing vendors are engaging in proper offline analytics exercises, and understanding that even within a given program, incentives have different levels of impact on different groups of partners. They have all of this down and can see in some instances how simple ratcheting up or down of incentives levels can impact performance. The intelligence derived through this analytics activity is taking people towards the often inevitable conclusion that some programs work and some don’t and that reducing the number of programs makes it easier for a partner to engage and drive better performance. From our work last year, we are confident improvements can be made to rewards programs through simply targeting changes that place incentives where they truly drive value. Research suggests around 38% of companies claim to measure ROI, but we would guess that about 3% of vendors are really getting the job done holistically. A data driven approach to ROI through analytics is what is needed to truly measure reward program incrementally. Reward program benchmarking. Benchmarking and assessing the success of your rewards campaign can be difficult. What should you look for? Which aspects of your program have the most impact on success? This is where a program scorecard becomes useful. hawkeye Channel has identified 10 key contributing factors to successful reward programs and compiled them into a handy, easy-to-use scorecard. The scorecard is included below, but first, this is how it works. It is built upon a three-point scale. • 1 = Does not meet expectations • 2 = Meets expectations • 3 = Exceeds expectations The ratings should be examined in aggregate as well as individually, and used to measure and compare how the program ranks in each area. This will allow you to identify which benchmarks make programs perform better than others. Performing a true assessment of your program will provide you with the actionable knowledge you need to make changes that promote greater program success. With insight into the aspects you’re strong in, and the ones that need additional attention, you will be prepared to steer your program in the right direction – even in this ever-changing channel landscape.
  • Page 14 www.hawkeyechannel.com Communication is key for loyalty (and everything else…). As loyalty and rewards programs evolve, so should the communication around them. Some vendors are beginning to move away from simply sending periodic emails announcing monthly point balances or quarterly top performers, to employing a more comprehensive approach that incorporates social media. Social media has become an effective method of communicating with your target audience. The vast majority of loyalty and rewards programs currently include some aspect of social media. We are not talking about building a social media strategy, but rather using social media to successfully communicate with participants. For example, tweeting weekly top performers, uploading brief video interviews of collaboration and teamwork wins and broadcasting milestone achievements are better executed via social media.
  • Page 15 www.hawkeyechannel.com Some B2B companies have resisted the surge of social media, claiming their target audience doesn’t use it, but we all know that isn’t true. 55% of respondents to a recent B2B survey said they search for information on social media. Who are those people? They’re your partners! With more than 1.5 billion total users of the big three social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) you can be assured most of your partners are spending their spare time checking their social media profiles. How to reach your partners – social media. Partner’s sales, marketing and services teams are bombarded by dozens if not hundreds of emails daily, leading them to “tune out” the messages in their inboxes. Email overload leads to low open rates and click-through. The preferred method of communication for many B2B and B2C professionals is now social media. • Facebook 1 billion users • Twitter 500 million users • LinkedIn 187 million users If your channel partners are already there, shouldn’t you be too? Today, you have the opportunity to engage partners using their preferred mediums, like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and can take advantage of other great media-sharing tools like YouTube and Instagram. Don’t tell your partners, show them. Social media messages that arrive in the appropriate context and are aligned to a program lifecycle will be motivating for partners. Launching an integrated communication strategy around your loyalty program can encourage greater engagement and promote best behaviors. Instead of sending out an email with a list of winners, think about recording a video of an awards ceremony and posting it on YouTube or sharing photos showing top performers (rewards at hand) on Instagram – the links can be tweeted to partners, giving them the option to view the multimedia instantaneously. You should also highlight specific examples of best practices or behaviors which consistently produce improved performance (via written, video, photo) and resulted in sales, marketing and services teams earning a trip to trips or other rewards. Distributing positive examples via social media lets your partner base digest the information quickly and easily while learning behaviors they can engage in to drive leads and sales. Vendors should ensure that launch and ongoing communications initiatives reach the entire participant base. They should also include frequent online postings of participants’ performance to encourage competition and the right attitude! Media-sharing tools are great in this regard because the photos and videos you upload will stay there until you take them down, thus creating a catalog of positive reinforcement for partners. By scrolling through pictures and videos, partners will see the most successful partners and better understand the behaviors that made them successful. Keep them updated. Aside from motivating through recognition, social media like Twitter can also be used as a notification system for program changes or developments. Imagine your partner’s team waiting for sales claim
  • Page 16 www.hawkeyechannel.com validations to be loaded and converted to points in their accounts. But they aren’t sure when this will happen. You can really make a difference by tweeting when this occurs or exactly when they should expect to receive their points. It’s important to keep your partners engaged, and this is definitely a step in that direction. In-platform communication. In addition to the social media communication suggestions above, we submit that including social communication features within the actual rewards platform is critical today. Providing a system that fosters social engagement within the partner environment, and widespread messaging within the rewards technology, will improve engagement and accelerate desired results. In this day and age, on- demand reward technology must include the social media components within the loyalty rewards program to socially engage participants within their own partner, business group, region or country. Do not accept anything less! Who owns social media initiatives? As social media matures and channel professionals gain more experience and proficiency with it, we are seeing a shift in who owns and contributes to social media efforts. Here’s a hint – it’s not just the responsibility of your marketing team anymore. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your social media initiatives. • Make sure you have enough resources to participate in real-time/near time conversations. As social media becomes a part of everyone’s daily life, users are now more demanding and critical than they were even 12 months ago. Ignoring time-critical discussions can create more damage to your brand than you might imagine. Good news though, it’s no longer the sole responsibility of marketing to participate. • Ownership of social media is becoming decentralized, with more people from other departments and from outside of channel being involved in discussions and posting content. This may fill some with trepidation but the demands of social media require an enthusiastic group of professionals with specific expertise (and don’t forget personality). It’s important that whoever is communicating to your partners does so in a professional but personal tone that doesn’t feel like it’s been written by Corporate Communications! • Think of creative ways to integrate the content and tools you have at your disposal into all of the platforms you’re already participating in. This will make you an invaluable contributor to the group and raise your company’s profile and your profile at the same time. • You will need C-level ownership to evangelize and share your vision, align business units, define policy and implement processes, provide training and make resource available. Summary. The shift to the cloud and a recurring revenue model is driving business transformation in the channel. Change is inevitable, and as such, we need to adapt how we conduct business. But don’t think you have to abandon your existing rewards infrastructure. Following the best practices in this eBook will allow you to adjust your existing loyalty & rewards program to fit the demands of the New Channel.
  • Page 17 www.hawkeyechannel.com With the channel changing so rapidly, you probably find yourself wondering how all the new trends will impact the way your channel programs function. Performance is dependent upon knowing how to adapt your programs to meet the changes around you, how those changes impact your partner ecosystem and how to incorporate these changes into your existing programs. The best practices and strategies shared in this eBook can enable you to adjust your programs in accordance with the advancement of the channel. If you find you need help with making changes to your partner program, remember you’re not on your own, we can help. Feel free to contact us at any time for a free consultation or to set up time to review your loyalty or rewards program. Contact us today at team@hawkeyechannel.com. Here’s to a productive 2013!
  • Page 18 www.hawkeyechannel.com Meet the A-team authors and contributors. Claudio Ayub Known as a thought leader in channel loyalty and rewards programs, Claudio has more than 20 years of experience in strategy development, market management and channel sales planning. He has developed and executed major incentive and loyalty programs for a variety of global vendors, including AMD, BlackBerry, Cisco, EMC, IBM, Kaspersky, Microsoft, Motorola, Symantec, VMware, Bing, Chrysler, FedEx, Snickers, Western Union. Claudio is also an expert in loyalty consulting, customer acquisition, engagement and retention strategies, customer loyalty and strategic marketing. He is an avid social media user, early adopter of social CRM and is passionate about the business implications of new technology. He is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese – so you have several ways to talk to him about another one of his passions – wine! Follow Claudio on Twitter @chanstrategist Harte Onewein Harte is a skilled marketing and communications professional with expertise in the technology industry and channel marketing. His approach is built upon creating compelling written content and clear, succinct marketing messages for a variety of marketing vehicles. Having developed and implemented successful integrated marketing campaigns, he knows a thing or two about industry best practices. Away from the office, he enjoys staying in shape, cooking, traveling and spending time with his wife. Follow Harte on Twitter @harteo Tina Lauzon Tina is an entrepreneurial results-driven professional with over 20-years’ experience developing marketing, sales and business development strategies for early-stage to Fortune 100 businesses. She actually has more years but doesn’t want to show her age! Tina has created proven methodologies used to help organizations achieve their business objectives through creating and executing innovative programs with cutting edge marketing integration tactics. She is an advocate for the humane society and mentoring young professionals. Follow Tina on Twitter @tinalauzon For more information on rebates and incentives, increasing partner adoption or a simple question for us to answer you can either visit us at www.hawkeyechannel.com or email us at team@hawkeyechannel.com.