Channel Conduit of the Week: The Altruism of Sharing: It’s “like” a Pat on the Back

  • Small gestures that make big impacts on channel behavior
  • Commonsense reminders that make the difference b/t you and your competition
  • Elements that should be considered in a Channel Incentive Programs

Pat on the backWhy do we “Share” ideas, video, blogs, articles, and press releases with our network? Usually, when we press the “Share” button on any of our social media sites, its because we’ve come across information that we think might be valuable to our network. But that’s not all. It also acts as a digital “Pat on the Back” to the original poster. So in this sense, “sharing” an item is doubly altruistic, and this is one of the most important components of these social networks. Pat on the BackWhile past studies have shown that the most effective kind of recognition is public recognition, we still have yet to see substantial research regarding the impact of Social Network recognition. But whether or not we have the data to back it up, I think we can all agree that “sharing” information is becoming an essential part of the way we do business online.

If you are a channel account manager and you see that your channel partner is in the news or has recently disseminated a press release, why not give it a tweet linking to the article or that person’s twitter account? Or if mange the entire channel marketing program and have access to your companies LinkedIn Company Page, give it a share & a tweet!

But the power of sharing can go even further. Are you rewarding or incentivizing when you partner tweets about you and your company? You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to track what people are saying about you on LinkedIn and Twitter. So, go ahead and retweet, share, or better yet, include these altruistic gestures in your next Channel Incentive Program.

Happy Sharing!


It’s a Good Time to be a Channel Pro!

Its good to be channel Pro

We have heard some positive news about the economy although the outlook is still a lil muddy.  However it is crystal clear that Channel Chiefs are making aggressive moves.   Companies have made the decision to grow their business through their channel partners because most industries know the best way to deliver their solutions is through loyal, vested, and well-trained business partners that are local to the end-user. Thanks to social media, LMS (Learning Management Systems), PRM technology (Partner Relationship Management), and enhanced ways to motivate the partner sales team through Channel Incentive Programs, companies are finally realizing that channel strategy & channel programs are the most profitable model.

Top Three Indicators of a Channel Economic Rebound:

1.)     Channel Hiring Spree!  Although companies aren’t ready to build up their direct sales forces yet, they are investing in channel pros. We continue to hear about companies like MSFT, Red Hat, Oracle, CISCO, EMC, and NetApp, just to name a few, are hiring for Sr. Channel Leadership positions.

2.)    The leading global channel companies are bulking up their programs.  MSFT says it best in one of their job descriptions: “Microsoft is rapidly developing its incentive programs to support growth across all business segments in SMSG by improving alignment of multi-billion dollar incentive programs with new customer segmentation and sales models.”

3.)    Channel Ecosystems are on the rise – Companies aren’t just saying they are committed to the channel but they creating environments that make their channel partners part of their biology.   Lincoln Smith of HMI Performance Incentives says, “It used to be that companies incentive programs would reward for only behaviors determined by the manufacturer (sales goals, training modules, STTS, etc.), but now our program are rewarding for collaboration or sharing of ideas and best practices through surveys.  These actions are made exciting through incentives and gamification.”.

If you are a Channel Pro it is time to take action and take advantage of these exciting times.  Chances are that your company’s C-Level folks are strategizing on how to creatively capture more mind and market share of the channel partners.  Don’t wait for the increased budget or positions to come to you, make bold recommendations on where and how to invest and create channel loyalty.  If you’re not seeing increased attention or channel priority you might be with the wrong organization.  The good news is that proven channel pros are in high demand!

Check your Channel Marketing Program against the Move the Channel Marketing Guide and RIMES Chart and make some exciting adjustments today.

Enter your name and email address to download Move the Channel Guide and RIMES Chart

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RIMES Chart – Origin Story

Since last week’s release of Move The Channel’s Channel Marketing & Sales Guide 1.0, I’ve been inundated with emails and phone calls asking me, “Travis, what is RIMES and how did you come up with it?”

RIMES PicSo here’s the short story: In collaboration with the Move The Channel community (LinkedIn Group and, we discussed what the most important components of a successful channel marketing campaign might be. While organizing all of the ideas and best practices, different categories started to become clear, and we determined that in fact the most effective way to present each would be together, as a five-pronged holistic methodology which we’d refer to as “RIMES.” We deemed these to be the 5 major “pillars” of any successful channel marketing program, and our goal was to highlight each as it relates to the greater whole. For those who don’t know, RIMES stands for:

  •  Relationships
  •   Information Technology (As in the channel professionals have access to and can use to better support their goals)
  •   Marketing & Communications (although sometimes we also refer to this pillar as “Management” – as in Channel Management)
  •  Enablement and Education
  •   Selling   – pushing product/solutions THROUGH the channel

In addition to RIMES being the pillars of a channel marking program, it is also the foundation of this living, breathing eBook, which we have called 1.0. It has been designed and structured from an outside-in perspective, so that in future versions we may start to drill down and examine all of the various sub-categories. Each pillar is a potential gold mine of information and insight regarding channel best practices, and it will be our job at Move The Channel to harvest these nuggets one step at a time. So in this way, you might even think of 1.0 as the origins of a future Channel Wiki…

Please send me your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions on where to go during the next stage of Move the Channel’s Marketing Guide.


2.0 awaits . . .

LinkedIn Group collaborates to deliver a very unique Channel Marketing Guides& RIMES Chart.

It wasn’t easy to organize hundreds of ideas from a network of thousands of people from all over the world. But we did it. Move The Channel’s unique Channel Marketing & Sales 1.0 eBook is now available for you to download exclusively on

MTC 1.0 CoverWhat makes 1.0 the first of its kind? As most of you know, this project started over a year ago as a simple discussion in the Move The Channel LinkedIn group. It grew from there to an all-out deluge of ideas from all across the Move The Channel community.

As we began organizing all of the different ideas and channel best practices that were coming our way, distinct categories started to become clear.  These categories are what we now refer to as “RIMES” — Relationships, IT, Marketing & Communications, Enablement, and Sales — and they are what we at Move The Channel consider to be the pillars of any successful channel marketing campaign.

Our goal is to begin to create a line of literature that can be referenced as a valuable tool in the planning and implementation of any channel marketing program. We hope you find this guide to be useful and informative. You can download it right here at

Enter your name and email address to download Move the Channel Guide and RIMES Chart

Name: Email:

Please provide feedback so we can continue to enhance the Guide & Chart. MoveTheChannel 1.0 is the first step in an ongoing line of literature about channel marketing and sales. Our plan with 1.0 is to throw a net around a wide range of industries and promote the basic tools that have been proven to generate success across multiple access points within the channel. Enjoy!
Move the Channel,

Mobile Up! Top 5 reasons why it’s time for Channel Marketing Mobile Apps

The iPhone 4#1:  Everyone has a smartphone today.  Almost all of your channel partners, channel partner sales, and their sales engineers—basically EVERYONE you want to engage—have a smartphone.  According to a report by NBC News last week, 56% of US adults are using smartphones, up from 35% two years ago.  What’s more, when we segment high-earning professionals like our channel partner’s sales and sales engineers, that number goes even higher.

#2:  Access to your Audience:  Much of our audience is in the field—right where we want them to be. Because of this, Mobile allows us unprecedented access to our partners. In fact, most don’t even need to come back to the office to check their emails anymore. That probably also means they aren’t going back to the office to browse what’s new on your partner portal, either.

#3:  Communication:  Your partner program lives where your audience lives, and nowadays that life is mobile, on their smartphone. Your channel marketing logo ( can now sit next door to their Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn apps, like one big happy community. Making your channel program mobile enables your audience to quickly access key information that can help them sell more, determine what to sell, and close more frequently.  In addition to giving them access to these tools, we can also push communications and text messages to them, which comes in handy with promotions and channel reward programs.

#4:  Motivate and Engage:  We’re all familiar with the maxim “out of site, is out of mind.”  With a channel program app, we’re never out of sight. Talk about mindshare! Also, a mobile app means we don’t have to wait for the participant to come to us; now we can come to them.  For example, we can now push notifications about incentive promotions for certain products, offer leaderboard updates, let participants know their percent to goal, and send them an alert when they have enough points to redeem for that family vacation on their program Wish List!

#5: Capture Key Insight:  With mobile apps you can also capture key data that is critical to your business.  One challenge of a channel go-to-market strategy is that you lose a little bit of direct access to the end-user. But now, you can reward your channel partners for uploading pictures of the solution or the competitive product that needs replaced. Do people still talk about conversions as a KPI?  You can also have a claims process on the app so helps ensure you are giving credit to the right sales person or SE at the right partner.


The biggest question in terms of going mobile: Where do I get started?  To develop a simple iPhone or Android App starts at around $45,000 and goes up from there. If you are working on a partner platform it is a much smaller investment for Mobile Apps features.  For example we will soon be offering a “Starter App” for our client’s channel incentive reward program that starts at around $10,000.

Looking for some mobile ideas? Shoot me an email with any questions.

Do you have a Mobile App for your Channel Marketing & Channel Incentive Program?


Channel Conduit #11 of the Week: Reward a Good Showing with a Big Show

  • Small gestures that make big impacts on channel behavior
  • Commonsense reminders that make the difference b/t you and your competition
  • Elements that should be considered in a Channel Incentive Programs

Reward a Good Showing with a Big Show

Rock ShowIf your channel partner achieves a set goal or went above and beyond the partnership obligations, think about sending them to a sporting event, concert, or theater.  The key here is to let them choose the event, venue, and even their tickets.

There are turnkey event ticket solutions out there that make this easy to do.   The memory of the event will set you apart from the rest.

Have you made event tickets part of your channel incentive solution?  What are the most common events redeemed?

5 Simple & Shocking Ways to Increase Loyalty with Your Channel

These five simple yet shocking tips will help to increase loyalty and better engage your channel partners.

shocked!  Home Alone1.)     Don’t ask them what they want…  or need!   By being the manufacture or distributor you have the insight and best practices of your most successful partners.  Share with the Silver partners how Platinum Partners became platinum.

2.)    Reward them more for non-revenue activities.  This may not make much sense on the surface, but it works.  Remember those best practices of your platinum partner from the first point?  If you know that the partners with the most training sell more and are less maintenance, reward everyone in the channel for training completions.  If X number of deal registrations or demos equal an increase of Y in sales, reward for registration or demo goal achievement.   Almost all of my clients’ Reward Programs include STTS (Steps to the Sale) components.

3.)    Share their competitive advantages with their peers.  In certain cases, this is not always appropriate, but hear me out…  Instead of just giving an award at the partner conference for most revenue, announce that “this partner also has the most certified engineers of any other VAR”  or  “this partner has engaged our sales team for demonstration more than any other partner.”  Not only will they appreciate the honor, they will also get other Channel Partners thinking about the ways they can be better leaders.  Pat these standouts on the back by putting them on pedestal.

4.)    What are you going to do this year? Sell more!  It amazes me how many companies don’t set goals for their channel partners to achieve.  What an amazing opportunity to have a business meeting with your partner. Tell them why you value them and why you are counting on them to grow their business.  Once you do, let them set the goal… chances are it is much more ambitious than you would have suggested.

5.)    Go fly a kite.  Or maybe a plane. Once your channel partners have achieved their goal (which you decided with them), take them and their spouse on a President’s Club or Group Trip (no, conferences don’t count!).  You asked them to achieve a goal and they worked on it all year, so put your money where your mouth is and reward them for a job well done. These high quality group trips can range from $2000-$5000 per person, but they couldn’t be a better use of funds, and if your channel partners hit the high goals you set for them, the extra revenue from the higher sales will more than pay for the trip.  Think about enjoying a mai tai with your best partners and see how appreciative they will be while mingling with your upper management and executives.  Nothing creates more loyalty than recognition and appreciation through an incentive trip.

The Business of Harmony: Getting Your Sales and Marketing Teams Onto The Same Page

The divide exists in every company.  Marketing thinks Sales is here to execute their strategy.  Sales thinks Marketing exists to support their sales efforts.  You have probably heard thing like “Sales people don’t get big picture” and “Marketing people have no clue about the end-user’s unique needs.” In a way, they’re both right.  But don’t worry—the occasional dissonance between the two branches of your organization is to be expected.  That’s because the sales team is tasked with closing the business right in front of their noses, and the marketing team is challenged with casting a vision that creates future opportunities down the road. Spending time in both departments, I have been on both sides of this dissonance, and what it really is is a matter of long-term planning versus short-term action. Both approaches ultimately work toward the same goals, but they each go about it in very different ways.

Business Harmony

Business Harmony

Today you can see various attempts by organizations to foster better internal harmony.  For example we see both department rolling up to on Sr VP of Sale & Marketing or Channel Chief.    One proven solution I have come across that closes this loop between sales and marketing has to do with your channel incentive or reward program. First off, it should absolutely be designed and communicated by a marketing leader.  A program that casts a wide net throughout the channel ecosystem needs the continuity and foresight of a well-crafted, long-term approach.

But there also needs to be an olive branch. Why not allow the sales leadership to determine what behaviors are rewarded for in the program? The salespeople are clearly the most qualified to identify these behaviors, things like Steps-To-The-Sale (STTS) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI).  Chances are your salespeople have been examining and fine-tuning these behaviors over years of an evolving sales process.  They are how management measures the success of individual salespeople outside of a closed deal.

In addition to encouraging synergy within your organization, this approach achieves one of the 5 most important components of a successful incentive program:  the “Sales Buy-in”. Without Sales buy-in your incentive program is dead in the water.  Salespeople are the front line of marketing’s message, and also the most penetrative.  When the sales team has a hand in developing the program rules, the program becomes a sales tool that can help them close more effectively.

I call it the Business of Harmony.

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