Timing is Everything: How to Prompt Action from Channel Partners
To all of us, time is valuable. It’s how we plan, manage our schedules, and live our day-to-day — but it’s also more than that. Time often acts as a measuring stick of value, and we use it to weigh efforts versus outcomes and let it guide where we contribute more.
The same is true for your channel partners.
To drive results for your business over your competitors, partners need to feel that time in your program is the most worthwhile investment. Better yet, you need to know how to enhance that investment and their perception of it as they interact with you and your brand.
The good news is there are multiple ways that time can be used to your advantage to make your program more actionable and influence key partner behaviors. Consider implementing these techniques — starting with your communications.
Create Urgency to Compel Action
Creating a sense of urgency isn’t just a tried-and-true sales tactic. Within your channel program, it’s also a useful method for getting partners to act in your favor, and act quickly to avoid missing out on lucrative opportunities or benefits.
Usually, the aim is to prompt certain behaviors within a designated timeframe to reach a goal, such as a sales quota by the end of the quarter, completing training by a set date, or even redeeming points in your system.
If partners know that receiving these rewards or opportunities depends solely on their willingness to act, they will be more likely to engage on your terms to reap their benefits.
Try these methods to prompt timely action from partners:
Limited Time Opportunities
Apply positive pressure by communicating a limited window to take advantage of promotions and discounts or demonstrate certain behaviors to meet set goals.
Visual Clocks or Countdowns
Provide a visual representation of the time partners have left to complete certain tasks in exchange for their reward. If there’s a deadline or end date to obtain it, include a countdown on partners’ portals to keep them on track.
Convey limited availability to increase value. When a highly desirable benefit, reward, or status advancement is guaranteed only to those who complete a task first or deliver the best results, partners will aim to outperform their peers to improve their chances of receiving it.
Discounts, Deals, or Promotions
Motivate swift action from partners with temporary, money-saving opportunities on purchases that support their role in your program — like showroom costs, product samples, inventory, and more.
Drive Participation with Anticipation
What if we’re overestimating the power of receiving the rewards, and underestimating the value of anticipating them?
Research suggests that emotions leading up to an experience can be just as impactful as the experience itself, which offers a unique opportunity to achieve more engagement with your program: Building anticipation.
When partners are aware of their proximity to a desirable outcome, their excitement grows knowing it’s within reach, and so do their efforts.
Studies also show that excitement makes time feel like it’s passing more quickly, meaning you can shrink your partners’ perceived amount of time spent investing in your program just by tapping into these emotions. Plus, when partners sense shorter durations between their dutiful actions and eagerly awaited outcomes, it reinforces your program’s value and draws them to you over your competitors.
Try these methods to build anticipation and excitement in your program:
Powerful Value Propositions
Showcase your program’s value with a compelling incentive rule structure and a rewards marketplace bursting with experiential, tangible, and financial redemption options. The more valuable your offerings, the more anticipation you spark.
“Almost There” Updates
Consider setting up automated or triggered messages that notify partners of the remaining steps between them and their reward when approaching a milestone, anniversary, sales quota, or other goal.
Visual Progress Trackers
Make it convenient for partners to track their efforts, check their status or current tiers, and stay updated on important milestones with visual progress trackers within their partner portal.
Use Experiences & Enablement to Reinforce Value
If you want partners to respect and support your business, you need to show them you respect their time and seek ways to maximize it. The best way to do that is by providing your partners with a clear path to success and lining it with enabling resources and experiences that foster growth.
Your participants need ways to deepen their knowledge, advance their skills, and deliver more impactful results for your program. And when given the chance to thrive as partners and as professionals, working with you becomes that much more valuable, and you build even more loyalty with your brand’s strongest advocates.
Use these best practices to empower partners and maximize your connections:
Product & Program Enablement
Equip partners with learning and training opportunities related to your brand and products so they can more tactfully represent, promote, and market them.
Help partners evolve their professional skillsets beyond your products and services, and provide ongoing training related to sales, relationship management, pricing models, entrepreneurship, developing soft skills, and more.
When we think of time through the lens of channel programs, there’s a clear connection to motivation: VALUE. Partners want to experience outcomes and benefits that are proportionate to their invested time and effort.
While you can’t control time, you can impact how partners perceive it and help them recognize the value of it being spent within your program. Seek opportunities to compel action with urgency, anticipation, and enabling experiences. When you maximize partners’ efforts, reaching your program’s potential is only a matter of time.