3 Strategies to Motivate Sales from Channel Partners

Motivating sales from channel partners is challenging because you are trying to motivate salespeople you have no direct influence over. Unlike managing a traditional sales team, channel partners who don’t meet the quota can’t simply be “mentored.” If a regular sales person under-performs, you can work with them and closely monitor their performance. But if a partner is not selling, there is not much you can do, apart from removing them from the program. That is not usually the best option.

To motivate channel partners to sell, here are three strategies:

  1. Arm them with excellent resources.

The saying “content is king” does not only apply to marketing your product, but to increasing sales from your channel partners as well. You should invest twice as much in content for your channel partners as you do for your direct sales reps. After all, your channel partners are less familiar with your product.

Make sure your channel partners have product literature handy, with clear and comprehensive product specs that they can hand out to prospects as needed. Arm them with essential knowledge like your company history and use cases, customer examples and success stories, and competitive comparisons with your top competitors in the industry. Take it up a notch and provide e-mail templates, call scripts, meeting agenda, and other sales-related cheat sheets to make their prospecting and active selling a breeze.

Having all these resources will make your channel partners feel more confident, which will boost their desire to sell.

  1. Talk to them, and talk to them often.

If your channel partners don’t hear from you, they will feel excluded and won’t be as invested in your channel partner program. They also won’t be privy to the latest news about your company or about product announcements and updates. Usually, the ramifications of this isn’t felt right away – it will take time but once you do realize what is going on, it will be too late.

The solution? Talk to them, and talk to them often. Send out periodic e-mails, like monthly newsletters, create a Facebook group or a Slack room for your channel partners, invite them for regular meetings at your office – whatever you need to do to stay in touch and cultivate that relationship.

  1. Throw in a little competition.

Earning sales commission on deals is a good motivator in itself, but some companies up the competition and throw in an additional incentive system to their channel partners.

Throwing in a little competition among your channel partners lets you create “super partners” and drive specific desired behaviors. For example, create a tiered system for your partners: one tier for basic partners, a higher tier for channel partners who sell over a certain dollar amount or sell a certain number of units over a period of time, and a third tier for partners who sells the most in terms of dollars and units sold over a period of time.

Depending on their achievements, offer an additional reward – tickets to exclusive events, meetings with your executives, strategic consulting or advanced marketing support, features and shout outs on your website and social media channels, an exclusive badge on their LinkedIn company page, and so on. 


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