In today's fast-paced business environment, managing partnerships and incentivizing partners effectively can be a major challenge. One way to streamline the process is by using automation for advanced partner incentive management across the customer lifecycle. The customer lifecycle is the journey that a customer goes through when interacting with a business. By providing incentives to partners during different stages of the customer lifecycle, companies can encourage partners to focus on specific activities that align with their goals and objectives. One of the key benefits of automation in partner incentive management is that it can help to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the incentives program.
There are five key areas where traditional partner funds and incentives management solutions need capabilities to answer today’s challenges:
To understand the diversity of the type of incentives, let’s look at some common incentives types below:
Sales-based incentives: These incentives are tied to a partner's sales performance and are typically paid out as a percentage of sales revenue or as a flat fee per sale.
Market development funds (MDF): These are funds provided by the company to partners to help them market and promote the company's products or services.
Co-marketing funds: These are funds provided by the company to partners to help them create and execute joint marketing campaigns.
Training and development funds: These are funds provided by the company to partners to help them acquire the knowledge and skills needed to effectively sell and support the company's products or services.
Lead generation funds: These are funds provided by the company to partners to help them generate leads for the company's products or services.
SPIFF: This is a one-time payment or bonus paid to a partner for achieving a specific goal or milestone.
Rebates: A rebate is a partial refund to the partner of the cost of a product or service, usually based on the volume of sales.
Profit-sharing: This is a program where the company shares a percentage of its profits with partners based on their sales performance.
Stock options: Stock options allow partners to purchase company stock at a discounted price.
Recognition and awards: Partners may be recognized and rewarded for their achievements and contributions to the company through programs such as awards, trophies, certificates, and other non-monetary incentives.
Most modern incentive programs today are extensively experimenting with non-monetary rewards, micropayments, and gamification. Automating tasks such as tracking partners' performance, calculating rewards and bonuses, and distributing those rewards to partners can help to reduce the administrative burden on both the company and its partners. Additionally, automation can provide partners with real-time visibility into their performance, allowing them to adjust their activities to maximize their rewards.
Many partnering organizations underuse their partner funds, by up to 40 percent as per some estimates. As a result partners miss opportunities to win more business. In addition, performance and ROI is tough to measure and program owners rely on a patchwork of disparate systems consisting of spreadsheets and various finance and marketing tools. Businesses are therefore turning to advanced software solutions to streamline their processes and increase the ROI from their incentive programs.
WorkSpan's Co-Invest is one such solution that stands out from the rest. Co-Invest is the most advanced partner funds management solution available on the market. It's designed to help businesses more effectively manage and track their partner funds, ensuring that they are being used to drive sales and promote their products or services. Let’s look at what path breaking capabilities Co-Invest offers to partnering organizations.
With WorkSpan's Co-Invest, the entire funds' lifecycle can be personalized and orchestrated seamlessly, and funds can be shared between partners in either direction. A streamlined process ensures that partners are aware of and will take advantage of available funds without the burden of long reimbursement processes. WorkSpan not only shortens the life cycle, but also amplifies the efficiency and return on your funds investment.
Personalize Incentive Programs
As per Forrester, nonlinear ecosystem programs that offer extensive personalization by partner type and customer opportunity are replacing traditional tiered partner programs, and it is difficult to run incentives in an increasingly diverse, highly fragmented environment.
With WorkSpan Co-Invest businesses can design and manage incentive programs that cover the entire customer lifecycle such as business planning, training, certifications, demand generation, deal registration, deal closing, customer adoption, product usage, customer support and other outcome based incentives. Co-Invest offers flexibility in defining these programs, sub-programs, plans by fund type, activities, allocation requests and deals. This allows businesses to align partners to their critical business events and outcomes like acquiring, onboarding, adoption, activation, ongoing support, retention, loyalty, and upsell and cross-sell of joint offerings. With WorkSpan Co-Invest, the entire funds' lifecycle can be personalized and orchestrated seamlessly with:
A single platform to manage multiple fund types across many partner programs.
Flexibility of defining programs, sub-programs, plans by fund type, activities, allocation request and deals.
Define KPIs across partnering teams.
Create logic with rules, variables, and conditions.
Set periodic targets (Daily/Weekly/Monthly/Yearly).
Co-Invest has the ability to automate key processes, such as fund disbursement and reconciliation. This can help businesses save time and reduce the risk of errors, allowing them to focus on more strategic tasks. Automation also allows for a multi-level hierarchy management that allows companies to manage different levels of partners with different incentives, based on the level of partnership, and track the progress of the entire network. With advanced automation features, Co-Invest can:
Automate complex commission structures.
Calculate thousands of records in seconds.
Prevent payment errors and delayed disbursals.
Create enhanced workflows for business processes.
Automate communication, routine tasks, and alerts.
Integrate with Tools and Data Sources
Co-Invest also integrates with existing tools and databases to automate the process and bring more accuracy to the entire incentive process. Integration allows Co-Invest to have seamless flow of data between multiple systems, eliminating the need for manual data entry and reducing the potential for errors. It also allows for more effective targeting of incentives, by leveraging data from other systems to get a deeper understanding of the partners' behavior, performance, and preferences and personalize the incentives accordingly. Co-Invest can be programmed to connect with:
CRM, DMS, ERP, Telemetry, spreadsheets, and other data sources.
Databases like partner, bookings, telemetry, product SKUs, and targets & milestones.
Legacy incentive management solutions.
One of the most powerful capabilities of Co-Invest is its ability to roll out globally. Organizations can upload their different incentive program designs and allow them to segment the geos/regions, partners, industry, and sectors they plan to roll out to. This allows businesses to create segments of partner incentives and funds management as defined in their program and customize programs based on local/regional requirements. Co-Invest’s global roll-out capabilities includes the following:
Multi-language support to accommodate partners in different regions and countries.
Multi-currency support to handle different currencies and automatically convert them to the appropriate currency for each partner.
Auditability compliance for managing internal and partner audit requirements.
Global program management to track different partner incentive programs in different regions and countries.
Global reporting and analytics to provide ability to drill down by region or country.
Global portal that partners can access from anywhere in the world to view their performance, rewards, and other program details.
Global communication capabilities, allowing the company to communicate with partners in different regions, and countries in real-time.
Global security and data governance to protect sensitive data and ensure compliance with global data protection regulations.
Manage Disbursal of Payouts
With WorkSpan Co-Invest, organizations can define sales and customer lifecycle targets and automate incentive disbursals based on achievements, either one-time or recurring, without any errors or delays. It is an important aspect of partner incentive management because it is the final step in the process of rewarding and motivating partners and is essential for maintaining partner engagement and performance, and for ensuring compliance with program rules and regulations. With Co-Invest organizations can:
Define parameters and incentives based on targets.
Set multi-level approvals.
Create a library of no-code metrics.
Support multi-currency transactions.
Bring invoices and support multi-payment options through third-party payment platforms.
Gamify Incentive Programs
With WorkSpan Co-Invest, organizations can Ignite the competitive spirit of your partner teams and make it more engaging for the businesses to work with you by enabling them to see how they fare against their peers through leaderboards, level maps, live scores, and earnings. Various features and capabilities within Co-Invest can we leveraged to:
Remind partners reps of their performance with timely nudges.
Highlight achievements with badges.
Launch inter-team competitions across organizations.
Convert monthly goals into smaller achievable chunks of targets.
WorkSpan Co-Invest also offers real-time reporting and tracking capabilities that helps businesses easily monitor the performance of their partner funds and track how they are being used. This can help businesses identify any issues or challenges in their partner funds programs and take corrective action as needed. WorkSpan Co-Invest can:,
Turn data into graphical representations and smart dashboards.
Simulate business metrics based on historical data.
Use intelligence from past programs to help you optimize targets and incentive payouts.
Security and Access Controls
WorkSpan’s Co-Invest provides complete flexibility to company admins to configure policies to grant automatic access to users. They can manage access at scale for any number of users in their organization and for partner users added to any object. WorkSpan Co-Invest enforces rigorous safeguards to ensure that your confidential data stays that way through:
Attribute-Based Access Control that gives users access based on defined parameters automatically. Configure-once. Apply anywhere.
Bringing security and access attributes from your own CRM.
Controlling access and visibility to sensitive partner incentives and funds data across different user types.
Distinguish permissible actions for partners from those for internal company users.
Prohibit modifications to data after it has been submitted or approved.
Robust Communication Suite
Effective communication is crucial for the success of any partner incentive program. It helps ensure that everyone understands the program's goals and requirements, and prevents misunderstandings and confusion, which can lead to frustration and disengagement. WorkSpan Co-Invest’s robust communication suite helps partners become more open to sharing feedback, suggestions, issues and challenges that they may be facing. With Co-Invest, partners can:
Create custom email templates to report program performance and other key metrics
Schedule automated emails to select user groups, individuals and people with specific roles
Add comments, tag individuals and communicate in real-time
Enhance Ease of Doing Business
WorkSpan Co-Invest streamlines the proposal and approval process for partner incentive programs, allowing partners to easily submit and track proposals, minimizing the need for back and forth communication. This helps to maximize program spend and increase efficiency. The platform also makes it easy for partners to understand and participate in the incentive program by providing user-friendly payment processes, workflows, and performance reporting. The platform allows for:
Submitting and getting approval of proposals within the same platform.
Quickly and easily converting proposals into incentive programs.
Ensuring that all necessary approvals are in place for auditing purposes.
WorkSpan Co-Invest is a powerful tool for businesses looking to streamline, automate their partner funds programs, improve ROI and grow their ecosystem revenue. To learn how leading partner ecosystems are leveraging WorkSpan to efficiently manage their partner funds and incentive programs book a demo today!
Nitin Mathur is a marketing maverick with an extensive experience in the tech, telecom, and consumer electronics industry. As Director of Product Marketing at WorkSpan, Nitin is on a mission to revolutionize the way businesses manage their multi-partner ecosystems with WorkSpan's cutting-edge product capabilities. Prior to his stint at WorkSpan, Nitin worked at various marketing positions at some of the biggest names in the industry, including IBM, Motorola, and Philips. He is also a tech enthusiast passionate about harnessing technology's power to solve real-world problems.
How to Drive Partner Incentives and Market Development Funds For Your Business
We’ve developed a 35-page eBook on planning to design and launch a partner co-investment program (also known as Partner Incentive Funds) with your channel partners.
Shape the way your company influences partner behavior to drive the best overall customer experience, exceed customer expectations, get the next renewal, and grow overall revenue with your channel partners.
According to Accenture, 86% of their surveyed partners agreed with the statement that as the world moves to solutions, partner-to-partner collaboration is more important than ever.
Accenture says, "To win partner mindshare and for future growth, companies must co-innovate, co-invest and collaborate across the ecosystem.
Learn the ins and outs of co-investment, partner incentives and market development funds.