Is data sexy?
Channel marketing has never been so complex as it is today. The bits and bytes of accessible information are as innumerable as there are stars in the sky. To navigate your way through the digital information storm, you have to have the right instrument. That tool is called business intelligence.
Simply put, business intelligence takes your own internal raw data and refocuses it to your specific business analysis needs. The keyword here is “refocus”. What data makes sense for your company, for your products, and your channel and partner sales and marketing strategy may not be applicable for another.
Let’s use reseller incentive programs as an example. You’ve got a great product portfolio and well-placed channel partners. The only hiccough here is that your resellers are not going to be as single-minded in promoting your products as you are. They can’t be. They represent other manufacturers and have a different agenda. In its most basic form, a channel rewarding and loyalty portal offers a systematic approach to keeping your partners motivated and focused on your products.
But partner incentives are not a one-size-fits-all enticement. What excites one reseller may be not work with another. In addition, your partner’s business is likely to change over time and your loyalty program has to be nimble enough to adapt. You could use trial by error to find out which rewards work best or have your channel marketing operation write reports, but that not only costs time and money, it doesn’t have a competitive impact. Not in the 21st century.
Another traditional way to use internal data collected from a loyalty program is to acquire insight into a reseller’s buying behavior and preferences, and encourage him to increase purchases of your products. For instance, how long has it been since he placed an order? He bought a server, but did he buy storage?
These are just some simple examples and only scratch the surface of what a well-developed data-driven channel growth program can do for your company. The deeper objective of channel incentives is to analyze the buying habits of existing partners, and create very targeted marketing and sales programs generated according to individual focus groups (e.g. dormant, cross-seller, up-seller, incremental).
Successful channel incentive programs can facilitate business communication with customers and provide special, differentiated service. It can yield insights into the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. By tracking data, you can determine how resellers responded to targeted advertising, what they bought and what they might buy in the future – and how they might be influenced to make additional purchases in the future.
Think you’re company is too small to offer incentives? A loyalty program has particular impact for SMEs because it helps them stand out from the crowd. It could even make the difference between whether a reseller buys from you or from the competition. Best of all, incentive programs don’t cost a fortune and put you in a league with the big players.
Whether you are a SME or Fortune 100 company, the right channel incentives software program will help you fully engage your channel partners with your brand products and services, while helping you optimize your business strategy.