Motivating Partner Salespeople: Why You Might Need Games

Sales for Life Admin
Sales for Life Admin

motivating-partner-reps-games.jpgSalespeople are motivated by rewards. This should be no surprise. Motivation can manifest itself in many ways across partner sales: Sometimes, it’s intrinsic (pride and confidence); other times, it’s extrinsic (sales incentives or periodic special recognition).

If you haven’t thought about it already, using games to motivate your partner sales reps can be a powerful way to increase sales. You might be saying, “But using games to motivate a sales team isn’t technically a new idea.” And you’re right. In fact, direct reps and sales teams have been promoting positive competition and rewards for years.

However, the way that managers motivate their partner sales reps differs from the way they do so with in-house teams.

Traditionally, in-house reps are rewarded through measures such as quarterly sales numbers or sale sizes. This, however, purely recognizes results—not the behavior that inspires sales.

And as you may already know, it’s far more difficult to re-create an outcome than it is a behavior, especially with indirect sales reps.

Your indirect sales reps are just as responsible for meeting quotas. And they’re just as motivated by rewards. Because a channel can have sales teams located in different regions, it’s important to motivate everyone equally and keep your reps involved, despite this geographic distance.

So, how do you coach a player who doesn’t report to you, is located miles away, or even conducts business in another language? The answer is through games.

The Importance of Technology

Online sales leaderboards can help you bridge the physical space between partner teams and instill some camaraderie when they’re not in the same office. However, the application must be intuitive and easy to use or else the benefits are moot.

You can have all the bells and whistles at your disposal, but if it isn’t easy for your partner sales reps to utilize your technology, you won’t see much buy-in.

When creating games to motivate sales reps within your channel, you must cater to the needs of your partners. Remember—they’re selling for numerous vendors, so it’s essential to make your processes as easy as possible.

Creativity Is Key

Contrary to many direct sales manager’s beliefs, you don’t necessarily have to base your contest results on bottom-line sales figures. Consider putting together games that reward the behavior that leads to sales—not necessarily the sales themselves. Instead of rewarding sales reps at the completion of a sale, incentivize the behaviors that produce results.

This very simple shift in sales incentive philosophy can vastly influence the trajectory of your indirect sales pipeline.

For example, we’ve encountered a contest that rewards the sales rep receiving the most “no’s” in a given time period, based on the idea that he or she likely contracted more prospects in the process. While this may not be a practical idea for your channel, the idea here is to focus on something other than your highest-performing sellers.

Ultimately, it’s important to keep everyone motivated to continue selling, regardless of their location or standings on your team.

Alternative Options

Being creative with your games also requires that you be resourceful with your budget. While they say cash is king, there are many options that are equally effective as rewards.

We’ve seen everything from gift cards to headphones to custom athletic jerseys. While these alternatives may not each be valued at a substantial sum, they sure can add up when you consider all the reps within your partner ecosystem. It’s important to anticipate these rewards and reallocate budget accordingly.

Another alternative could be to forgo the gift card completely and focus on promoting the contest as coveted bragging rights. Branded and co-branded swag can signify which contest they’ve won—and will help personalize your business to partners who live miles away.

Empowering Your Partners to Win

The most successful partner sales reps know that, even if they don’t win a particular contest, they’ll always have a shot in the next round. It’s important that you provide the tools and training necessary to help these reps rise to the top. Provide your partner sales reps with resources that allow them to interact and engage with prospects, draw them in, and complete sales.

Looking to have some more fun and motivate your partner sales team? Consider adding some games to motivate sales reps. When reps are properly prepared to be successful in their day-to-day activities, they’ll come out ahead in the selling process—no matter the outcome of the game.


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