Archives for June 2014

Global Channel Incentive Programs: Plan Global, Execute Local.


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There are a handful of channel incentive companies that think they have the resources in place to run a global incentive program, but only a few who have actually executed these types of programs successfully. The reality is global incentive programs are hard.  God knows I have a ton of scar tissue from years of trying to iron out the many wrinkles that my programs have had to adjust to.

This past week I was in meetings with some of the brightest, most experienced and accomplished global channel incentive thought leaders in the country. These people are the brains behind 4 of the 6 leading global incentive programs in operation today. While I definitely learned a lot from these meetings, there was one concept in particular that stood out: “Plan global, execute local.” I love this motto. Not many years ago, the main factors for global programs—as opposed to regional independent programs—were that manufacturers wanted “the 3 C’s”: consistency in quality, controls (single pane of glass reports & audits), and continuity in best practices. So, back then we would roll out a centralized program that scaled across the globe with local delivery and customer service. This was a success!

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In the short term, we achieved the 3 C’s. However, over time we realized that our solution was not flawless. For example, the various regions and countries didn’t want to be told how to engage and motivate their local partners. “The Americans don’t know my partners,” they would say—and they were right. We don’t always know what participants in one country want versus another. So how do we still share the technology investment and best practices without force-feeding a one-size-fits-all strategy into APAC solutions? One thing you can do provide them with local program management resources that can allow them to design and communicate their own programs that are unique to their regions, their partners, and their business objectives.  HMI-MMI is built for this type of support and program management.

True, this model comes with an increased cost; but the incremental mindshare and market share gains make this “plan global, execute local” strategy a no-brainer!

Is your global channel incentive program giving localized flexibility to multinational sales teams? Are you considering extending your program across the globe?

As always, reach out to me with idea, questions, and comments.

Move the Channel,


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Channel Marketing: Is there really such a thing as a “good” problem?

Travis Good Problem QuoteLast week I was talking to a Channel Chief about her business, and she offered the following: “We are very excited that we met on our quota of new partner recruits last quarter. But now we’re struggling to give them the attention and training they need. I guess it’s a good problem.”

Here’s the rub. Most of the time, these “good problems” have to do with an increase in new business or new channel partners. However, I personally don’t believe there is such a thing as a good problem. You are either managing your business properly by anticipating the challenges that accompany success, or you’re not. If you’re a channel organization, one of your goals is to bring new partners into the fold who can help drive new business. But, if you aren’t able to support those new partners, then it’s liable to be bad for business, and anything that is bad for business can’t be good. I think that in order to be successful, you need to expect success. You need to be prepared for growth that might put a strain on your business, for new partners who will need your help closing and delivering on your solutions. When you anticipate these challenges, you can develop the tools that are required to solve them, such as a channel sales support team, a channel training team, and a scalable channel program that makes it easier for your partner to become more self-sufficient.

The thing about a “good problem” is that it sounds, well, good.  I call it what it is, a “bad problem”, because bad is something you want to avoid.  

We all have talked about our “good problems”.   Next time you catch yourself saying those words,  let it be an alarm for you to assess your business.  Let’s be honest and call them what they are, BAD Problems.   If we aren’t honest, we will always be OK with “Good” problems.  When we admit there are no good problems,  we can avoid bad problems in the future and start focusing on good opportunities to grow the business.


Move the Channel,


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

smartphone-kill-switch2#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.  This morning, the Pew Internet & American Life Project released new survey data (n=2,252 US adults) on smartphone adoption. The organization says that 56 percent of all US adults now have smartphones. However, among the population of mobile phone owners (91 percent of US adults), the smartphone penetration number is now 61 percent, up from 35% three 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.

If the #1 on the list isn’t enough reason alone, read on…

#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!o-SMARTPHONE-facebook

#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?  I don’t encourage you to start from scratch.  Make sure you are working with a platform that already supports mobile technology.  If you are working on a partner platform it is a much smaller investment for Mobile Apps features.  For example HMI Performance Incentives 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?

Move the Channel,



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