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Five Ways to Improve Your Channel Program for 2018

Each year, Lake Superior State University creates its list of banished words and phrases. My four favorites from the 2018 list: “unpack,” “drill down,” “onboard,” and “let me ask you this.” Let that sink in. (OK, now that’s five.)

Just as words and phrases can overstay their welcome, so can aspects of your channel program. A new year is the perfect time to examine your current program and make some changes. What should you refresh or revise? Where should you start?

Who – Look at your current participant base. Would it be beneficial to add technicians who drive parts and service volume? Or, service managers who can steer customers toward a new purchase? Are there audiences—besides salespeople—you should consider adding to the program with a different earnings structure?

What – Are you awarding the right things or have your priorities shifted? Did you start out with a complex structure and now need to simplify? Or, did you begin awarding a sales metric, but now need to also track and award activities, such as completing sales plans, conducting demos, or producing a competitive analysis?

When – Does the timing of your program best complement your sales cycle? Are you getting the big push when you need it, or does the timing need to change?

How – Are your awards given at program-end? Is there a way to provide participants with positive reinforcement along the way? Could your participants benefit from learning reinforcement to help them sell your new, more profitable products? Do your awards match the effort made or results achieved?

– Overall, does your strategy still make sense? Are you seeing the increases in activity, high margin sales, or overall sales you desire? Is your program accomplishing what you hoped it would?

A methodical review of your program can lead to some surprising but simple improvements. It’s not too late to complete a check-in and improve your program. Here’s to a happy and profitable 2018!