Channel Marketer Report


Segmentation (Instead Of Tiers) Allows for Personalized Channel Programs

By Ellen Linkenhoker, Channel Partner Solutions Lead, ITA Group

If you checked out my previous article on evaluating your current programs and mapping them against your business goals, you’ll inevitably have lot of information (and ideas) about how to change your programs for the better.

Let’s get a little more tactical and cover how to revamp tiering and levels to account for all the variety in your current and future programs.

The big idea? Kick tiers to the curb in favor of segmentation!

Simplifying Programs For Partners

Advanced segmentation can account for all the variation in a single program. In a consolidated partner program, segmentation flips complexity on its head. It makes the program simpler for partners to use and internalizes the rest of the details.

For example, compare these images (figure 1 and 2). In figure 1, many independent programs force partners to track and earn in several areas and direct their participation efforts.

In figure 2, partners have increased flexibility, relevance and scalability across multiple roles. Your team will cover some of the complexity in favor of making the partner experience simple and customizable to specific focus areas.

Tackle the variety of partner roles by focusing on segmentation vs. tiers.

Letting partners join the program and choose their focus areas gives your brand powerful insight into partners’ go-to-market strategies and alignment to corporate vendor goals.

Segmentation Allows for Personalized Channel Programs

Collecting partner information (either upfront or over time) can help deliver relevant benefits, enablement and promotions by allowing for personalization. With more personalized channel programs, partners are more inclined to increase sales and influence the purchase of your brand’s products and services.

As partners continue to grow their business to add new products, services and capabilities, segmentation gives you flexibility to grow with them (or even help them grow into the competencies you need) without an entirely new program.

We recently asked channel program leaders and sales reps, “How would personalized marketing and incentives based on the factors below impact the amount our organization influences/sells that vendor’s products and services?”

  • My company’s industry 83%
  • The services, products and solutions my company sells 77%
  • Routes to market (e.g., direct, e-commerce, subagents) 78%

There are a lot of other really cool benefits to shifting from tiers to segmentation across things like rewards, benefits, and balancing multiple programs.

You can check out the rest of that research here, but the moral of the story is that any level of personalization is going to increase the amount of influence you have with your partners.

Ellen Linkenhoker is the Channel Partner Solutions Lead for ITA Group. She drives the insights, strategy, and evolution of their channel solutions while offering advisement for client engagement and incentive programs. She’s worked as a practitioner in technology, software and service companies both as part of the channel and as a vendor. She is an award-winning marketer and navigates all things channel, marketing, incentives and engagement in her role with ITA Group including pioneering thought leadership on channel partner ecosystems and the partner experience.

Editor’s Note: This ChannelView is the second in a series of three articles by Ellen Linkenhoker.