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What Makes a Good Deal Reg Incentive?

Posted 6th October 2022
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What makes a good deal reg incentive?

Deal registration (deal reg) is a common process of a vendor’s Channel Partner Programme whereby a channel partner informs the vendor about a sales opportunity. This process is usually as simple as the partner submitting a deal reg request via a portal or system, which is hosted by the vendor.

If the deal reg is approved by the vendor the partner is given priority for the lead. This can also include additional benefits such as price exceptions which wards off competition from other partners.

What are the benefits of deal registration?

The benefits of the deal reg process are numerous, however, here are a few:

It increases the visibility of revenue much sooner

Particularly if the vendor has deployed a system in which partners can register deals themselves. With this, vendors can identify pipeline and forecast much earlier in the process.

It reduces conflict in the channel and increases partner satisfaction

Once a deal has been registered only that partner can pursue the deal. This also means that the vendor’s direct sales teams cannot take the lead away from the partner. Protecting deals shows partners that vendors value their contribution towards sales and ensures they are rewarded for their efforts.

It allows better resource allocation

With increased visibility, the vendor can deploy resources to support the partners, particularly the higher priority deals.

Isn’t deal registration an incentive in its own right?

Deal registration is now commonplace in the tech industry. So much so, that vendors’ partners in the channel expect this to be in place. Whilst it’s a system that benefits all parties, it does have one potential flaw.

The reduction of conflict means that partners can take their time over a sale. The benefit is that this helps to ensure the customer has the perfect solution but it also benefits the competitive vendor who will also be trying to win the deal. Combined, this can slow down the sales cycle.

So how do we speed it back up without impacting the customer experience?

Deal registration incentives BENEFITS

Vendors often run deal reg incentives with their channel to help them to build pipeline. They typically have one or more of the following objectives:

Generating and recording new leads

The disconnect between sales and marketing is well documented. Incentives focused on lead generation will encourage sales and marketing teams to work together. Vendors will encourage partners to run off-the-shelf marketing campaigns from their portals to generate pipeline that the partner sales team follows up resulting in new deal registrations.

Bringing forward deals and closing them

Deals have several forecast categories which both indicate their position in the sales funnel and the likelihood of closing. The forecast closed date and revenue value enable reasonably accurate sales forecasting.

With deals registered in Salesforce, for example, you’ll see the following forecast categories:

  • Omitted – these are generally deals which have been lost or qualified out 
  • Pipeline – deals in the early stages of the buying process that need developing further (usually only around 25% of these will close)
  • Best Case – deals that have been fully qualified and where there is a clear closing plan (typically 30-50% of these will close) 
  • Commit – deals which the sales reps are very confident will close on or by the forecast close date (typically 90% of these will close)
  • Closed (Won) – deals that have been won 

A sales incentive solely centred on closing deals, especially those that would likely close regardless, may not yield a significant impact. On the other hand, an incentive programme that prioritises rewarding salespeople for successfully advancing and closing unexpected deals can be more impactful. This involves closing a deal on or before the existing estimated close date.

  • Selling certain products or solutions. A vendor will have several reasons to push the sale of certain products or solutions over others. Products with renewing service revenue for example or where there is excess stock or simply just to get the products out there i.e. a new product.
  • Upselling. An upselling goal could be to uplift the current deal estimate by working with the customer to take on additional products or services to the deal. A deal may start at value X but end up as Y. For this, you would need to capture the starting deal value and closing deal values and calculate the difference.
  • New logos. Another common focus for many vendors is securing new customers, often referred to as new logos. These are key to the vendor growing its market share and revenues. 

What does a good deal reg incentive look like?

An incentive programme has many components and a good one has the following:

Appealing Prizes

You need a big enough carrot to draw people in. Tech items, experiences (e.g., wine tasting, track days) and simple Amazon vouchers work well. Prize fulfilment can be quite challenging, particularly if you have participants in different countries, but since Amazon operates in most countries, they are often a go-to choice. There are also prize fulfilment services you can use to help you manage this if required. 

An Incentive Registration Process

You need to know who is taking part in your incentive. Plus, have the reassurance that they understand what is involved and what they are signing up for. Registration is an essential component of every incentive programme, and you can’t successfully run one without it. Also important is that participants also acknowledge they have accepted the incentive terms and conditions (you’ll need those too), this is invaluable in resolving any issues further down the line.

Achievable Goals

For participants, it’s not good to make the incentive too challenging (they won’t bother taking part) or too easy. There needs to be a balance that both encourages sales teams to get the work done and contributes to the fulfilment of the incentive SMART goals.

So, don’t incentivise the closure of deals which were going to close anyway (too easy) or set some impossible sales target that can never be reached by anybody (too hard).

Instead, as an example, incentivise the closure of deals not in the immediate forecast. These are deals that weren’t forecast to close, but when they do, they bring in revenue that is over and beyond expectation and therefore definitely worth a reward!

INCENTIVE Collateral (Assets)

The following collateral helps communicate and promote the incentive with both internal teams and participating partners:

Incentive creative: an engaging name supported by some eye catching design will help you attract attention to your incentive. This should be used consistently throughout all communications assets to help build awareness and create excitement.

Internal/external promotion slides: a punchy PowerPoint deck helps your BDMs and sales team to promote and communicate the incentive to partners with a clear call to action to get them to register.

Incentive landing page and registration form: dual purpose, this page tells partners everything they need to know about the incentive and allows them to accept the terms and conditions and register.

Email template and email signature banner: to be used for incentive-related communications to partners including the invitation and update communications.

Good Communication and Engagement

Communication is key at all stages of the incentive, both internally to ensure the partner sales team are onboard and encouraging their partners to sign up, and externally with the partners themselves. If you sell via distribution, don’t forget your distributors as they will help to promote the incentive as well. 

Making use of the assets described above, communications will come in three stages:

Before: Often takes the form of an internal webinar to internal stakeholders, email promotions and as webinar content to the partner base.

During: Progress updates and reminders to encourage continued participation.

After: Internal reporting on the success of the incentive and external communications to thank participants and announce the winners.

Deal registration incentives need A Project Manager

Running an incentive isn’t easy with so many components and people involved. A good Deal Reg Incentive has a good team behind it. With a project manager at the centre, you typically see the following additional roles as part of the team:

  • the Strategist
  • the Data Guru
  • the Creative Expert
  • the Comms Manager

Deal Registration incentives need accurate Progress Tracking

What makes a Deal Reg Incentive more engaging, is the provision of progress updates to participants. Even better is allowing them to make deal reg claims and track their own activity whenever they like. This can be done through tech channel specific incentive platforms. At the base level, the participant simply logs in, submits a claim, and can review approved claims and their current reward total. Seeing their current progress on-screen helps to motivate them to do more.

Good Deal Registration Sales Data

Data is the one element a Deal Reg Incentive cannot do without. You need to capture the state of play at the start of the incentive i.e., deal detail and their current status. The basic information you need is:

  • Deal reg ID number
  • End user customer name
  • Deal value
  • Partner name
  • Partner salesperson (name, email)
  • Location (city/country/region)
  • Forecast close date
  • Forecast stage
  • Product information
  • New logo or existing business

Good Deal Registration Incentives Need Good Reporting

Good sales data makes reporting easier. By building reporting dashboards, you can gain insights during the incentive and potentially act where there is an opportunity to improve. Insights and reporting derived at the incentive close can be fed back to budget holders to enable decision-making for future endeavours and motivate all internal stakeholders.

Efficient Reward Fulfilment

Global prize fulfilment is time-consuming and can be problematic unless well-planned in advance. Physical prizes are more difficult to distribute than virtual ones (e.g., e-vouchers). Delivering prizes to different countries is also a challenge to consider, along with the different tax implications that may apply. Using a fulfilment company that is used to these challenges is advisable if you haven’t done this before or don’t have the time.

The important thing is to be able to distribute prizes accurately and timely (don’t leave it too long after the incentive or your participants will be chasing you!) and with minimal distribution costs.

Doing something different

Over time partners get used to the incentives vendors run. And from vendor to vendor, incentives can often be very similar. Therefore ‘doing something a bit different’ is a tactic to generate a bit more interest from the partner base than you’d otherwise get. It’s worth testing because in some instances it’s the familiarity that works too. Partners have done it before and will do it again if they valued it the first time.

What to Change?

It could be as simple as rebranding the incentive. Alternatively, it could be rewards that have not been tried before or a change to what is being incentivised. It may even need an upgrade to the whole process or something really new and exciting to better engage the participants.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Sales Buzz Days: pre-pandemic in 2019, Essential developed a new concept which we called ‘Buzz Days’, dedicated sales call-out days designed to build pipeline, generate engagement and competition, build momentum, have fun and get results. During the pandemic, these were all done online using a ‘buzz social wall’. The buzz wall is the hub of the day, where results are posted, banter shared and the team’s progress tracked to determine who will be awarded prizes such as ‘Most meetings booked’, ‘Most deals registered’, ‘Most emails sent’ and ‘Socialite of the day’. These were, and still are in this hybrid world, very successful and vendors continue to run these as we approach 2023.
  • Online Sales Leaderboards: These are online platforms where partners can log activity targeted by the vendor (e.g. meetings booked, registered deals, sales training attended and more) gaining points to try and get to the top of the leaderboard and win prizes.

Good deal registration incentives CAN grow your channel

There is no doubt that successful Deal Reg Incentives contribute to the growth of your business and your sales channel. It’s not just about generating new pipeline and closing more deals. A successful incentive builds trust and buy-in internally, increases brand image in the channel and motivates teams going forward.

Essential has more than 20 years of experience working in the channel and running incentives for our tech clients. Take a look at our channel incentive portfolio and see how we can do the heavy lifting for you and make your next incentive a resounding success!

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