Dealers, resellers, wholesalers, and distributors are more dispersed than ever - engaging and motivating your channel partners has taken on a whole new dimension. Every day, this group is being pulled in many directions, while capturing their attention has become even more difficult. I assume none of this is news to you, and you are here exploring new actionable ideas and strategies that can help you thrive in this digital-first environment.
Engagement Through the Power of Gamification
We’re starting off with a topic that can be controversial with some, but we’ve seen huge success implementing unique games and believe you should, at the very least, experiment with gamifying your channel engagement strategies. By turning tasks or goals into challenges with direct or variable ratio rewards, we've witnessed a surge in engagement, participation, and enthusiasm. Here are some game mechanics that can help you create a fun and competitive environment for your channel partners:
- Streaks are a powerful motivator for continued success. One way to implement this is by rewarding consecutive sales goal achievements with a grand prize.
- Contests are a fundamental way of achieving incremental outcomes and aligning objectives. Running contests on a relatively short-term basis is encouraged and aligns with our best practices. For best results, get specific about the objective of the contest (keep it simple) and then design so you only pay(reward) for achieving that objective. Within the Core Rewards platform, we have the ability to give each participant a unique goal and payout.
- No gamification list is complete without mention of – Leaderboards. Displaying names, along with positions and points payouts, creates strong competition amongst individuals and teams alike.
Virtual Recognition + Personalized Rewards
Social recognition can motivate and build trust, loyalty, and advocacy among your channel partners, who will feel more valued and connected to your brand. Virtually recognize and reward partners for reaching milestones, exceeding expectations, demonstrating values, or providing feedback. Accompany your recognition with non-monetary rewards such as company branded gear, brand-name merchandise, or experiences.
Workshops & Webinars & eLearning courses – oh my!
Let’s talk channel partner training. Expanding knowledge and skills – necessary. Especially, in the ever-evolving selling landscape. Most companies understand this and many offer courses already. BUT, do you have an hour to sit through a text-heavy presentation, that may or may not have real-world application. Yeah, me neither.
To encourage learning that actually sticks, try presenting information in smaller, bite-sized chunks – AKA The Mini-course. By designing easy-to-digest learning, that is accessible at any time, on any device, learners can develop domain-specific expertise in a way that aligns with human cognitive architecture. Present content in small steps, make it easy-to-access(mobile-friendly), AND to get the gold star - follow Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction.
By investing in channel partner training, you are ensuring your partners know the value your product brings to end-users, why your product/service is best and letting them know you’re committed to their growth. #InItTogether
Data-Driven Segmentation & Communication
Across a diverse buying network, the need to consciously employ rigorous audience data collection and segmentation has never been greater. Data-driven segmentation helps to better understand target audiences and determine how to best serve their needs. This also allows for personalized messaging to each segment, maximizing the value of every interaction with your channel partners. Here are some examples of communicating the right message, to the right person, wherever they are in their journey.
- Analyze insights from extensive channel partner preference survey to help define segmentation and select ideal sales channels to serve each segment.
- Develop a unified outreach campaign, consisting of targeted sms text messages and emails.
- Run custom promotions across audience segments to drive channel partner sales initiatives.
Leverage Technology for Connectivity
Ultimately, to bridge distances and create meaningful connections with your channel partners, you will need an innovative digital platform for collaboration and communication. This will serve as a central hub to put your virtual channel engagement strategy into play. If you’re looking for a solution that can do all of this and more, consider the Core Rewards Channel Engagement Platform – where you can spark motivation (Gamification), express appreciation and gratitude (Recognition), expand knowledge base (eLearning), and reward excellence.
What's your take on virtual channel engagement? Have you encountered challenges or discovered effective strategies? Share your thoughts with us at email@example.com.