25 November, 2020

Incentivizing and Engaging Channel Partners in the BFSI sector

The BFSI and NBFC sectors have expanded over the past decade to include a range of financial products and services. We are also seeing a startling increase in competition that has emerged with homegrown and international players tussling for market share. As a result, customer experience has become of prime importance and firms are increasingly looking to leverage their channel partner network for improved customer care, expanded product reach and boost in sales numbers. Such partners can range from customer service representatives, sales agents, vendors, consultants, aggregators and value-added tech resellers. Cash-based commissions alone can no longer inspire channel loyalty, which is why non-cash-based rewards and omni-channel incentive solutions are essential for effective channel partner engagement today.

Some of the major challenges faced by financial services firms with regard to implementing incentive programs are fragmented data, manual sales tracking, offline and inconsistent incentive calculation and stale incentive packages. The laborious system of uploading and sharing excel sheets for data exchange between multiple systems takes immense bandwidth of channel partners as well as firms. Additionally, secondary sales data is hard to capture and even harder to verify. Determining individual contributions towards a sale is a complex process if done manually. BFSI firms need to eliminate human errors in the incentive disbursement process which currently leads to significant losses over time, as explained in our previous blog.

A channel incentives software can help streamline administrative processes and make incentive programs attractive and accessible to the end consumers. To win the loyalty of agents, brokers and resellers, firms must use digital tools to promote their culture, ethos and overall brand differentiation, in addition to providing comprehensive product knowledge. A digital platform can greatly help in improving communication and overall brand connect with channel partners, using features like notifications, discussion forums, surveys and online knowledge hubs.  According to the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), an automated awards system is a distinguishing feature of channel incentive programs of top financial companies, which ensures timely rewards for high performers. Digital platforms ease the burden of accounting teams by integrating incentive data with real-time performance tracking.

Their study showed 3 determinants of incentives for channel partners in top performing financial companies :

  • Financial outcome metrics- sales value, operating income, number of units sold
  • Activity metrics- number of leads, CRM updation
  • Customer relationship metrics- customer feedback, repeat customers

An interesting case in point is that of our client, who uses Gratifi’s system to gamify regular target milestones and allows channel partners to win electronic gadgets, automobiles and experience vouchers, in addition to gift cards. Their channel partners also receive regular communication regarding product updates, sales differentiators, marketing collaterals and target reminders within the rewards platform.

The current tide of digital transformation has a host of benefits for BSFI firms willing to leverage the often overlooked indirect sales force and engage them meaningfully for maximum results.