How to Run a Channel Incentives Program

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Channel partners can help your company reach new markets, increase sales, and boost revenue—as long as they’re properly motivated. But in many cases, channel partners don’t prioritize selling your product.

Fortunately, an effective channel sales incentive program can change that. Below, we’ll cover the basics of what it takes to create an incentive program that encourages channel partners to promote your product and how we at Ovation Incentives can assist you in administering incentives to your sales network where your channel partners will be able to shop in thousands of retail and restaurant locations across the UK and globally with our reward code solution

Great sales performance is driven by data and communications. If your teams know their targets, they can see how they are performing over time and against their peers, and are given the information they need to succeed, then great results follow.

What are Channel Incentives Programs?

A channel incentive program is a program that gives incentives or rewards for sales teams or networks who complete certain requirements or milestones. These programmes usually have specific goals to increase product sales, increase brand awareness, or improve partners’ product knowledge.

Channel incentives are performance-based, and they may be given in the form of cash or gift vouchers. Many businesses also experiment with non-monetary sales channel incentives such as physical items, learning opportunities, recreations, and many more.

Importance of Channel Incentives

Channel incentives help inspire loyalty, achieve product differentiation, and provide education of your product or service to your channel partners to effectively sell your products.

Here are some reasons you need a channel incentive program.

Drive volume

Businesses who implement channel incentives usually show increased revenue and motivate their channel partners to sell more with an attractive reward waiting. 

Increase business visibility

Channel partners also help a business get discovered since incentives will activate them to promote your products more eagerly to these customers. Thus, your business will have increased visibility in the market, which is very helpful when a business is trying to penetrate a new market.

Increase engagement and loyalty

Channel incentive programs are much more than just reward schemes. They also help to engage your channel partners and make them feel appreciated and valued which in turn increase loyalty towards your business making advocates that vouch for your business which in turn helps your business achieve its sales objectives.

Track program effectiveness

With channel incentive sales programs, businesses can track their overall performance through the partner’s sales initiatives. They can tell if specific programs and rewards are working and if others need to be re-evaluated to make partners more interested in participating.

Benefits of Channel Incentives Programs

A channel incentives programme is an efficient way to reward your channel partners to boost and increase sales for desired profitable results. It is essential that your partners understand and believe in your brand and product offerings.

The benefits of having strong channel incentive programs are:

  • Increases sales and market share growth 
  • Increased brand recognition and prestige 
  • Increased customer loyalty 
  • Increased loyalty amongst your partners’ employees and sales personnel
  • Enhanced product and brand knowledge 

Types of Channel Partner Incentives Programs

Channel Sales Incentives

Sales-based channel incentives are the most popular type of channel partner incentive where your partner network sales representatives are rewarded incentives based on their sales volumes. These type of channel sales incentives can be given by way of gift vouchers 


Rebates are volume-driven promotions that encourage your channel partners to sell more of your product. As a reward, they get a percentage of the sale back. 

Market development funds (MDFs)

MDFs are resources that you grant your channel partners to help them with their sales and marketing efforts. These incentives can be funds or knowledge-based.

Some examples of how they might use MDFs include:

  • Fund webinars
  • Radio spots
  • Launch a marketing event
  • Get a booth at a trade show

Deal registration incentives

Reward partners with cash for identifying potential customers and referring them. Usually, channel partners can register online, where you can check the lead quality to either approve or reject the lead. If approved, your partner has a set time frame to close the deal before they lose their incentive.

Wholesale Product Discounts

In today’s crowded marketplace which is filled with tough competitors there are many ways to make your business stand out from all the rest, and offering product discounts is one of them.

Product discounts in the B2B sector hold significant power in your sales and marketing initiatives. The right discounts and offers can help you gain attention, drive revenue, and build customer loyalty.

The product discount offers your B2B customers an incentive in the form of a percentage reduction of a specific product’s value where the discount available is only for a limited time which creates a sense of urgency from the end consumer to buy your product now at the discounted price else miss out on the discount if they wait to buy it later

Channel Rebates

Channel rebate programs are commonly used to generate demand and influence buyer preference. For these rebates, partners are rewarded based on sales volumes for a specific product. These can be in form of price cuts for your channel partners who order in large quantities and is mostly used to improve the sales of specific under-performing products.

Sales Performance Incentives Funds (SPIFs)

A SPIFF is a short-term incentive, to drive sales in a set period of time.   They include dollar rewards, prizes, or loyalty points, but they are all aimed at one thing—driving your sales. Many vendors use SPIF’s to influence behavior with their channel partner sales teams.

A great SPIFF strategy combines the right incentives with the right product offering, delivered in a simple way directly to the salesperson.

Ovation Incentives has worked with different companies across industries to put together a bespoke sales performance program, utilising our successful reward solutions which awards your sales network with meaningful incentives.

Market Development Funds (MDFs)

Market development funds are a resource that a vendor grants to its indirect sales channel partners to help the channel with sales and marketing programs through monetary means.

Marketers within channel partner companies use market development funds to support a range of initiatives. Planning, close coordination with vendor partners and follow-through on MDF-backed programs are considered important success factors. MDF is one source of vendor funding, with another being co-op funding. 

Channel partner companies may use market development funds to increase local awareness of their brands.

Referral Incentives

A referral reward is any incentive given to customers who actively promote and refer others to a brand. Incentives modify human behavior. Choosing the right referral incentives means that your customers are motivated to make a referral. An attractive referral reward might just nudge them to make the effort to be a spokesperson for your brand. Finding the right method to acquire new, valuable customers for your business is hard work. That’s where referral marketing companies come into their own. Here at Ovation Incentives, we can assist you with our reward solutions to generate a successful referral incentive program

Loyalty Incentives

Loyalty programs, sponsored by retailers and other businesses, offer rewards, discounts, and other special incentives as a way to attract and retain customers. They are designed to encourage repeat business, offering people a reward for store/brand loyalty. A customer loyalty programme encourages customers to keep coming back to you. A loyalty incentive programme goes one step further, offering them a reward for their repeat business.

How to Start and Run a Channel Incentives Program

Making an impact and growing your market share through a channel can be difficult. Though you might have a superb product and an excellent go-to strategy, if you have no means of motivating your stakeholders buy or sell, your strategy may fall flat. Including a channel incentive program can really make the difference for a program's strategy.

Keep it simple

The real glory of a channel incentive program is its simplicity. Setting up the way your channel partners will be rewarded is a balancing act: You want to provide them with some really satisfying rewards, but you don't want to break the bank in the process. 

Communicate benefits

Channel partners are often acquired via in-person communication. But in order to scale the incentive, you'll need to start marketing the benefits of your product/service to a mass of sales personnel. It's a simple concept: The more you talk about your channel incentive program, the more people will be aware of it. However, much like setting up the rules for your program, there's a fine line between effective communication and something that's over-done.

Determine the best reward

There's an ongoing debate in the incentive world on whether or not to use cash or non-cash rewards while incentivizing your channel. We can help you determine the best reward solutions featuring a wide range of gift cards from top brands globally that you can provide to your clients.


When building a channel incentive program, knowledge is power. And the more you know about the factors that make for a successful program at the start of the process, the more powerful your program will be. It is important that the incentives that you offer to your channel partner network, and their business, can be customised to them which is why as experts in the reward industry, we at Ovations can help you grow your channel partner network by offering reward solutions featuring a wide range of gift cards from top brands globally that you can provide to your clients.

To find out how we can help you with your channel partner incentives, book a demo or contact us today.