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"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
Channel partner incentives are due for a change - in fact, they are already innovating. So what does the ‘next’ channel ecosystem look, feel and smell like? Let's explore the channel incentive picture of the future.
THE ONLY CONSTANT ABOUT 21st CENTURY SALES & DELIVERY CHANNELS IS THAT THEY CHANGE
We thought they’d stay the same forever. Some of us were counting on it. But complex product experiences, changing user expectations, and new trends in solution delivery are giving rise to new partnership ecosystems in the B2B channel universe.
We are witnessing the emergence of multi-partner ‘teams’. Each member progressively contributes a ‘bundle of outcomes’ to the end-solution, multiplying value for the buyer and elevating ‘symbiosis’ to a whole new level.
Community, co-creation, and co-delivery are the pillars of an unraveling future that’s being hastened by relentless digital transformation.
"76% of business leaders surveyed agree current business models will be unrecognizable in the next five years — ecosystems will be the main change agent." ~ Accenture study
THE NEW REALITY
Blinkered focus on homegrown research, in-house innovation, and traditional formats of essentially linear and transactional distribution partners will no longer cut it.
If you want to brainstorm, chat with a partner. If innovation is your game, get your ideas from the marketplace (they’re floating, and they’re free). If you want to storm the market, do it with storm-troopers (battle and market-ready partners) who believe in your struggle.
To win NOW, channel partners must do some - or all - of these
Evolve to a higher role
Reinvent and pivot around old role
Master altogether new roles
SO HOW WILL THE NEW CHANNELS LOOK?
How will the ‘next’ channel ecosystem look, feel and smell?
Well, it can be:
1) Sophisticated (‘complicated’ till you wrap your head around it).
2) In a state of perpetual flux (‘a bit of a blur’ if you are playing catch-up).
3) Amply rewarding for every player and stakeholder (if you know your role well and play your cards right).
4) Continually optimized (the new reality is constantly changing) and fine-tuned to actively address and influence how customers discover, decide and purchase.
Forces Shaping The New Channel-Verse
We aren’t buying neatly outlined products anymore. Configurable SaaS products and configurable solutions have scattered the sequential/linear line-ups of supply chain actors (such as partner and distributor) and elements (like logistics, order, and inventory management).
Humans are separated by computer IP addresses now. Digital transactions have escalated by 9.6% and are needling the $9.92 trillion mark, as per Digital Commerce 360. With digital sucking physical elements (like distance and interaction) out of the equation, all traditional parameters like time, logistics, and emotional semantics are in makeover mode.
Convergence of collateral technologies (IoT, cloud, AR - VR, and data analytics for instance) have added their own tier of complexity, adding multi-layered contracts, billing, and support processes to the picture.
Buy-outs (Unicorns do it every day), remodels and mergers have given rise to new decision mechanisms and influence equations.
There is a new buyer in town. The CTO or the CIO is having to make way for the LOB owner (marketing, HR, security, sales) - far too frequently.
The new buyer is highly knowledgeable and demands sophisticated solutions, extra features and a seamless, Amazon-like purchase experience (case in point : the rise and rise of D2C marketplaces).
Factors To Weigh When Choosing Your Next Partner
Before choosing your next partner, figure out whether they can add value in the following areas:
Delivery amplification (managed services, process re-engineering and adoption monitoring)
Companies are pursuing unforeseen partnerships in order to achieve better customer outcomes, as is the case with Walt Disney World Resorts and Hitachi Vantara, recently named Disney World’s “official ride and show analytics provider.” The two companies have brought together Disney’s entertainment experience and Hitachi Vantara’s intelligent data-driven solutions to increase the attractions’ operational efficiency and customer appeal. (acknowledgement : Deloitte Insights)
As business needs become more sophisticated and consumers become more discerning, the ME is giving way to the WE. Vendors and partners can’t remain isolated in their islands in the new scenario.
Here’s how they reboot their approach to ‘teamwork’ :
‘‘Let go’ of uni-dimensional controls over the delivery chain, think beyond limited-capability roles and explore alliances and integrations across dimensions like role, function, and tech - to fill solution gaps, augment capabilities and extend solutions: Right from strategy to creation to selling to delivery to adoption and support.
Google Cloud has partnered with Cisco to provide customers a well-supported integrated platform that enables them to accelerate on-premises app modernization, ease service management, and offer integrated security. ~ Deloitte Insights
The new vendor-partner relationship algebra must be designed around values, culture, and business models to ensure the best fitment. A shared sense of purpose enables spontaneous involvement of all players, scales processes easier, boost revenue, and amplifies customer loyalty.
Nearly 7 out of 10 resellers and distributors seek better relationships with vendors.
56% of resellers feel isolated if they hear nothing from their vendors.
65% distributors are finding it increasingly difficult to build relationships with vendors.
Vendors and partners must co-create the journey - with leaders and decision-makers on either side involving each other at every critical step of the strategy, product development, and implementation.
The vice president of global alliances and sales at Amazon Web Services (AWS) has witnessed a 3.5x increase in opportunity size when working with partners at the front end of the sales cycle.~ Deloitte Insights
The value proposition of engagement (for both vendor and partner) must be unambiguous. The rules should be simple, making it easy for stakeholders to stay flexible and accommodative.
Vendors must educate, train and arm partners with information and resources - both around the bigger organizational journey and product benefit suite - to generate a sense of brand pride and to enable sales behavior, respectively.Accessible dashboards, quick claim approval processes, effortless nudging & coaching tools, freewheeling, two-way communication mechanisms, and instant, analytical feedback must be encouraged to make engagement breezy and pivoting easy.
Make influencers, advisors, affiliates, advocates, referral partners, system integrators (SIs), and subject matter experts an integral part of the journey - thereby enhancing value at critical stages like the point of experience & consumption, customer conversion, and ease of adoption.
Build knowledge, expertise, and value around the customer’s business and mandates.
Look to pivot around next-in-class technologies, innovate complementary specializations and acquire distributors, agents, and partners to consolidate presence across the channel landscape.
Be open to adopting best practices from the B2C universe, such as the dynamics of D2C marketplaces and customer experiences.
Stay alert and agile to signals, flags, and indicators released by partners.
“Leaders in this environment must understand the roles they and each partner can play, and work on developing the engagement models to fit the growing complexity and agility in the partner ecosystem.”
Igniting Your New Channels With The Power Of Rewards
The new collaborative reality drives significant benefits for both vendor (brand) and channel partners – be it via building more user-oriented solutions, ensuring greater speed to market, or relieving ‘sales target pressure’ on each player by redistributing responsibility more evenly. No wonder 39% of B2B marketing decision-makers are looking to improve their partner experience. Rewards offer a simple, quick, and memorable way to do that.
Areas and behaviors you can guide and incentivize with rewards
Awareness of changing customer habits.
Knowledge of products and technologies involved.
Alignment with the brand - positioning, culture, and purpose: Partner’s (A) Awareness of vendor brand, and (B) Ability to build own brand.
Always-On coaching: Exchanging knowledge and sharing experience in real-time.
Agile communication: Alerting ecosystem collaborators on disruptions and opportunities.
Gamify these targets by co-creating fun rules, tracking progress on leader-boards, and rewarding achievers with personalized, commensurate, and instant incentives with Xoxoday PLUM, the gold standard in rewards and experience automation.
When it comes to incentivizing your users and buyers to share feedback and opinions consistently and spontaneously, PLUM ticks each of the Big 5 zones…
Trending and desirable incentives that feature on top of your users’ and survey participants’ wish-lists.
Match the incentive to the spirit of the occasion and the personality of the receiver.
Cut out delays and instantly confirm user participation in polls and surveys by sharing incentives on the spot. You can also schedule pre-paid incentives which, as per studies, are the most effective in increasing response rates (promised incentives, by contrast, have been found not to affect response rates).
Xoxoday Plum can be easily integrated with your organizational tech processes and feedback infrastructure, and deployed from Day One over a Plug-and-Play format.
Give your survey or poll respondents the freedom to choose from Xoxoday’s vast global catalog of perks, discounts, merchandise, gifts, and experiences - all of which are redeemable in 100+ countries.
Apart from breezy customizability and deep personalization, Xoxoday’s omnichannel nature makes it compatible with any delivery medium your systems are comfortable with, such as On-Screen, SMS, Email, Whatsapp, QR Codes, Notifications, and several others.
Finally, Xoxoday’s data-rich reports and analytics bring you never-before visibility and insights into every aspect of your survey eco-system so that you can keep optimizing and improving it.
At Xoxoday, we deeply understand the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and engagement drivers of people, be it an employee, supplier, contract staff, gig, or consumer. We bring simplicity and continuity to a complex everyday problem.