Distributor Prospective: Out of Control SPIFFS!

Distributor Prospective:  Out of Control SPIFFS!

As many of you may know, I spent 7 wonderful years at a North American Distributor where I oversaw the business, sales force, and partner relationships in the Mountain and Pacific Time zones.  In the IT space (and many others) SPIFFS are part of the sales channel culture. I considered these vendor spiffs to be a great sales tool, and successfully leveraged them to motivate my sales team and grab the attention of the VAR dealer channel.  It was a win-win-win all the way down the channel.  The Vendor obviously got the mindshare of the distributor sales, which led to increased engagement with the VAR dealers.  As the distributor in channel I was pleased with the success of the SPIFFS, (although our CEO never cared for them), because I was ultimately able to leverage vendor monies and incentives to achieve the goals of our sales team.  All was in balance.Wild West

Yes, that worked for a medium sized distributor that was laser focused in Document Management and Enterprise Content Management (ECM).  We had a minimal number of vendors to manage and that was by design. What works for small- and medium-sized distributors, however, does not always translate into success for Larger Distributors.
Today I work with businesses that distribute hundreds or even thousands of vendor brands. With SPIFFS coming from every direction, how on Earth, as the distributor, am I supposed keep my sales team focused on MY company’s goals?  And how do I benefit or build goodwill with the SPIFFS that target my personal VAR partners?
One option is to adopt the Wild West attitude of SPIFF management and allocate an army of marketing managers each with their own vendor focused on communication and goals. More often than not, this is how the system is managed.

Option number two is to build a SMART brand Reward Zone that you, the distributor, own and can invite the vendors to participate in and fund.

But don’t worry vendors!   You can have your own promotion and rule structure under the distributor Reward Zone umbrella. Ahhhh…..Can you feel the channel universe falling back into balance?

Distributors Only beyond this point:

Here’s the best part.  You now have a Distributor-branded Incentive Platform where YOU control the messaging to your sales team and channel partners.  Vendors will be excited to help fund the program and make sure they are getting the mindshare of YOUR channel!

I would love to see your thoughts and comments below, or contact me directly here:  http://movethechannel.com/?page_id=70.

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