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How Reward Programs Incentivize Partners To Sell More

A partner rewards program tackles the compensation side of a channel partner program. It is is vital to running a successful partner program.
Learn How to Incentivize Partners with Rewards Programs
Published on
May 21, 2021


A partner rewards program is a great option when looking to grow your marketing and sales efforts indirectly. Finding effective partners can help establish brand credibility and expand your reach without blowing up your budget and it's a great way to build a network outside of your own circles.

Also, implementing a rewards plan is vital to running a successful partner program, and creating "tiers" is key to attracting the right partners while maintaining a good working relationship.

What Is a Partner Rewards Program?

A partner rewards programtackles the compensation side of a channel partner program. The rewards offered will depend on the type of program you choose and design. For a referral program, companies will often offer simple bonuses or perks for referring new customers to the store, sometimes non-monetary.

However, any partner program will need to include a monetary aspect to be effective in the long term. You can't expect somebody to do the work of sending you new customers for nothing in return… Here's a breakdown of the 3 major programs and the monetary rewards model that represents them best:

  1. Referral programs offer a commission (or "kickback"), usually as a fixed percentage of the sales amount (e.g. 20% of selling X service to an end-user, making the referrer a net amount of $500).
  2. Affiliate programs also offer a commission but—due to their additional involvement—can turn into full-on revenue share if an affiliate goes on to achieve higher partner status.
  3. For reseller programs, organizations that want to generate revenue through your product or service can be given the advantage to sell at a discount (e.g. 20% off public price).
Kiflo allows you to add rewards to your partner programs easily

Most referral and affiliate programs offer a commission-based setup that rewards partners on complete sales of a product or service. So if you’re looking for high-quality partners, then you will need to make sure your commission offering is competitive.

Without an attractive rewards program, it will be difficult to find and maintain high-quality partners, and you might end up with less reputable sources representing you and your brand.

"Without an attractive rewards program, it will be difficult to find and maintain high quality partners, and you might end up with less reputable sources representing you and your brand."

Investing in the right partners can significantly benefit your business.

Rather than investing money in marketing or hiring salesmen, partners provide an indirect way to sell your products to customers that already trust them.

A good partner rewards program will focus on empowering and incentivizing third parties such as affiliates, referrers, and resellers so that they can promote or sell your products for you.

Creating a reward program means investing in your partners so that they re-invest in you

These programs provide several unique benefits over direct marketing depending on the one you choose to pursue: lower cost of marketing, higher brand authority, and bigger reach without the extra effort.

These are all great ways to save money on sales and marketing overheads, but they also put a lot of responsibility in the hands of your partners, so you have to be careful not to overwhelm them with tasks.

Listening to the feedback coming from your partners will help fine-tune the plan so that it incentivizes the right kind of partners to help promote and expand your company and brand.

Designing an Attractive Rewards Program

The first step in any rewards program is to design it in a way that's beneficial to both parties: the partner and the business. Partners will often have more of a short-term incentive to recommend your product or service in their daily operations whereas the business will see more long-term benefits.

Google nails how they present reward tiers to their partners

Using Offers & Rewards to Appeal to the Right Partners

Finding the right partners for your rewards program will significantly increase your chances of long-term success. But, unfortunately, it’s not as simple as advertising large referral commissions.

That might actually hinder the process because it will simply attract all manner of individuals (money!!). To appeal to your ideal partner, you first need to understand who they are and what they're looking for.

Platforms like Fiverr offer significant rewards as part of their affiliate partner program

If you're looking for a partner that provides a lot of value and authenticity to their audience, building a rewards program that provides their audience with additional value through bonuses or other unique incentives would uniquely appeal to them. These would go on to become affiliates of your brand.

Similarly, if you are looking for a partner that provides in-depth analysis and reviews to their audience, providing them with free services or products will help them create great content on your behalf.

"Making sure you are providing a competitive compensation package will ensure you keep your partners interested and delivering the high-quality service you expect as a brand."

Money will always be a part of the equation, but also the value that a partner can deliver to the end customer. Making sure you are providing a competitive compensation package will ensure you keep your partners interested, and that they deliver the high-quality service you expect as a brand. When establishing your program, do some research into similar companies within your field and see what they offer. This will give you a good idea of what potential partners will be looking for.

Create a Reward Structure that Incentivizes Action

With a structured plan that continues to encourage participation, you'll be much more likely to achieve long-term success with your partner program. Since channel programs are getting more popular than ever, competition can get fierce, and partners are always on the lookout for new and lucrative deals.

Kiflo shows partners exactly what they can expect from their program front-and-center

Designing unique reward tiers is one way to incentivize long-term participation. These tiers should be designed based on criteria you establish, but popular systems incorporate sales revenue thresholds or customer counts as ways to reward partners who take real action towards your growth.

Once a tier is reached, offering rewards such as increased commission, bonuses, and even just recognition through an award or badge can encourage continued cooperation.

This type of progressive system helps to incentivize and keep quality partners engaged in the program without them leaving for more profitable or interesting opportunities.

"Tiers are uniquely designed based on criteria you establish to serve your needs as a business and those of your partners."

While the monetary side of the reward system helps to encourage partners, it also provides a way for you to acknowledge the success of your partners and make them feel like they are a part of your brand. This can help in keeping partners more open to promoting your products and business.

Build a Rewards Program that Delivers ROI

Kiflo PRM platform

With so many competing programs, it’s important that the rewards you set up help make your brand stand out. Establishing reward tiers is one way to help keep partners engaged and interested in your brand.

When partners feel like they are a part of something, they are more motivated to help and continue supporting it and this can establish strong relationships.

Managing a partner reward program without an established system can be a lot of heavy work and stress: calculating rewards in spreadsheets, generating payouts, getting invoices from partners...

With a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software tool like Kiflo, you can design and present your rewards tiers in a way that's easy to market while managing all of the tedious operational tasks.

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