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Exponential-e shows how rewards can work in the cloud

Incentive schemes have been going for years but now they are being adapted to work in a managed services world

The 'points means prizes' incentive schemes that litter the channel tend to be a feature of relationships between vendors and partners that were based on selling physical products.

Getting the same sort of involvement with channel partners in a managed services world has taken slightly longer to develop but it appears to have been cracked with cloud player Exponential-e launching its own take on the idea.

In a bid to enhance its channel engagement the firm has launched the Winnings Ways incentive programme, which offers partners the chance to earn points and enter monthly and quarterly prize draws.

The points are earned on the basis of generating £1,000 annual recurring revenue and could provide a blueprint that other cloud players could follow.

“Winning Ways has been designed to be a fun and rewarding scheme that benefits those sales people who get to know our product portfolio and drive revenue for both their business and ours. We want to encourage our channel partners to build stronger and long term relationships with the end customer, and believe that with added incentive, the results will come," said Michala Hart, head of channel strategy at Exponential-e.

The three highest ranking individuals with points will be given prizes each month and a leader board will give sales staff the chance to check how they are doing against the competition.

Elsewhere in the channel Tech Data is also using incentives to encourage parts to get behind technology, specifically the Norton PartnerNet programme.

Resellers signing up for the programme before the end of June will get entered into a draw, alongside existing partners that log-in to the partner site before the end of next month, to win prizes.

The prizes include winning free copies of the software and hundreds of pounds of credits that can be spent on Norton Assets as well as a notebook PC.

"Having the chance to win such an amazing set of prizes is a very positive incentive. It is great to see a software vendor offering rewards that will genuinely benefit the partner’s business," said Nick Stancliffe, software business development manager at Tech Data.

There has been a recent warning from mobile security player BullGuard that although reward schemes are valued by partners, those that are not structured and used as a genuine chance to get closer to the channel will cause frustration.

In a survey of independent retailers the firm found that many felt that the smaller organisations were largely forgotten by vendor schemes.

“The message here seems to be that while independent retailers appreciate rewards, they can feel undervalued if they are not properly structured. More is needed on a personal level to support and nurture partnerships,” said Steve Hicks, head of global sales for BullGuard.

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