Loyalty, Value and Spend

Channel Incentive Programs are based on rewarding B2B relationships with incentives or rewards based on loyalty, value, and/or spend. Whether your business needs a large scale channel incentive program, or an add-on to an existing one, Online Rewards can build a solution for you with any combination of features and functions, including (but not limited to):

  • Partner targets (units or dollars)
  • Sales performance dashboards
  • Customized award catalogs
  • Automated notifications and program updates
  • Comprehensive reporting tools
  • Configurable business logic for complex incentive designs

[A Thesis On] Channel Incentive Programs

One will never be exactly like the other. The specific needs and wants of one company and their channel business allies, while perhaps similar to another, will cause a program to take on different form and functions based on the industry’s and company’s parameters. Therein, people and markets are influenced by and react to (positively and negatively) various stimuli, in vast array of manners.

An effective Channel Incentive Program (CIP) begins with the understanding that they all will require at least some degree of customization – if not a great deal. This understanding will be accounted for it in content and execution, following a specific path that rewards incremental mindshare and successes at both the team and individual level.


No matter the industry, complicated programs are all but doomed to fail (at least when first implemented). The “buy-in cost” of becoming a participant plus understanding the rules and guidelines must be as inexpensive and simple in initial thought and action as possible. To put it bluntly, we are talking about work, not a person’s free time or something a person might prefer to be doing or thinking about. Even for the individual who says they “love their job,” if that person won the lottery, would they still be doing it? (Hint: No.)

An effective Channel Incentive Program will itself be a realization of the idea that, if we want our people, or even more difficult, another company’s people to focus on and work harder for us, we have to make that path simple AND consistently rewarding and valuable–not just monetarily.

Everyone For Something and Something For Everyone.

When it comes to the success of a Channel Incentive Program (and a company’s overall sales initiatives), groups working for a common goal will all but unanimously outperform individuals. Creating a team atmosphere and goals where there is a “greater good”–including incremental and milestone achievements to work for–while recognizing and rewarding (monetarily and non-monetarily) individuals for their efforts along the way, are important program characteristics.

While the actual sale of a service or product is the end goal of a given business, each and every action along the way is an opportunity for recognition, showing appreciation, confidence boosting, encouragement, etc. Whatever the task–writing a business or product review, participating in a sales call, leading an entire or small portion of a meeting or presentation, consistent performance (or internally, attendance), earning an additional certification from your company related to a product or service, and more–should be considered for accommodation, point accumulation, and/or outright monetarily valuable reward.

An effective Channel Incentive Program will establish two categories in need of motivation: the team and the individual, and from there, the multiplicity of what is a recognizable action, the ways incentives can take shape, and how groups and individuals react to them.

  • Recognition and reward for non-sales actions
  • Simple and clear, specific sales directive (for individuals and teams): Sell this, get this amount of points. Sell that, get another amount of points. Hit this benchmark for the month, get these bonus points, etc.
  • Milestone achievements established at both the individual and team levels (and subsequent monetary and non-monetary rewards)
  • Points Accumulation System + Points Redeemable for Monetarily Valuable Rewards + Diverse Catalog of Items (debit cards, gift cards, and merchandise, for example)

Transparency and Transmission -> Trust and Teamwork.

Openness and honesty begets easier, more fluid communication and information sharing, and is a key patience and confidence builder. Moreover, when two companies are attempting to work together–the greater understanding of how the other works and clarity of needs, wants, and goals the higher likelihood of potential gain and success there is for both the program creator and program implementer.

The company who the CIP was created for must be willing and able to efficiently and consistently share (not limited to):

  • ROI expectations
  • Budget (what they can spend on their CIP)
  • Timeline (implementation start date, program life, etc.)
  • Engagement and participation percentage desires and expectations

Once implemented, success of a program is directly tied to effective communication of:

  • How the program is being reacted to (internally and with their channel partners)
  • Results (by channel location and region; by week, month, quarter, year, etc.)
  • Where communication breakdown is or has occurred
  • Clerical and technical errors

Communication being a two-way street, it is of course up to the CIP creator must be able to:

  • Be extremely detailed and specific when information gathering, in both program development and implementation and program maintenance and support phases
  • Listen and react quickly and determine the appropriate and best reaction to a given query or issue
  • Send regularly and upon request, and easily accessible reports and reporting tools
  • Push and notify about program updates

An effective Channel Incentive Program begins and ends with excellent communication. The short- and long-term effectiveness of a platform hinges upon the understanding of clearly stated goals, budgetary limits, and timeline (among others). These things must be heard accurately and developed into a tangible, accessible, interactive platform by the CIP builder, who must also be rapid and agile in response to reporting, support, concerns, and technical issues.

Wherever you are in the Channel Incentive Program world–considering and researching, implementing anew, updating, or replacing–Online Rewards’ expertise and proven success is unsurpassed:

  • 16+ years in the internet and technology-based rewards program industry
  • 450+ concurrent client programs
  • Over 12,000,000 active users
  • 95% client retention rate
  • 98% customer satisfaction

Reach out to our Channel Incentive Program Development Team online (via live chat or the form at the bottom of this page) or by phone (888-826-0783) and we’ll be glad to walk you through it all, step by step.

What is a channel incentive program?

A channel incentive program is a series of loyalty strategies designed to improve the outcomes of sales from every type of channel partner (resellers, distributors, agencies, independent retailers, affiliates, or industry influencers). Typically performance-based, they aim to improve the profitability, reach, or mix of a pool of partners.

What are the different types of channel partner incentives?

Typical mix of incentives for channel partners include two or more points from this list: Channel sales incentives Channel SPIFFs (sales performance incentive funding formula) Market development funds (MDFs) Channel rebates Discounts on wholesale products Referral incentives Loyalty Incentives for partner retention Training incentives Fees & activity-based incentives Incentives for warranty registrations Incentives for product and service bundling Incentives for deal registration Incentives for value-added resellers Staffing costs offset

Do non-monetary incentives work for channel partners?

Although typical channel partners often respond to direct cash or cash equivalents, it doesn’t mean that there’s no room for non-monetary rewards. Experiential or “hedonic” incentives enhance positive emotional bonds with your brand and can impact further partner’s decisions. The share of non-monetary rewards in the overall mix is typically determined by the positions of decision-makers within channel companies. Here are a few examples of non-monetary rewards: Merchandise rewards Experiential and travel awards Gift cards Entertainment tickets