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9 Ideas You Can Use to Incentivize Your Partner Program

A partner program is great for business growth. Here are some great ideas and the best software tools to make sure your next program's a success.

Updated August 30, 2020


You can never overestimate the value of referrals, especially from partner businesses. Having other companies tell their clients to choose you is a powerful endorsement. This can lead to increased credibility and easier sales for your business.

It’s also a good indicator that you have a successful partner program. You might also consider partner program software to make this process much easier. That’s why anything you can do to get your partners to send you more referrals is worthwhile.

How can you create customer incentive referral programs for your partners to draw more referrals and boost business? What are the secrets to getting more businesses to send clients your way? To help you increase business through the support of other brands, here are some tips to consider.

1. Offer rewarding partner incentive programs

Because referral marketing can be a real gamechanger for businesses, you want to be generous with the incentives you offer. Essentially, you need to make the reward motivating enough to entice partners to send incentivized customers your way.

You’ll need strong incentives to encourage partners to work with you. These incentives can come in the form of cash rewards, sales discounts, and flat rate rewards. Also, consider trying reward program software to come with great partner program incentives.

You may even snoop on what your competitors are doing with incentives, to help you strategize your own plan.

2. Don’t overcomplicate the partner program

The easier you make it for your partners to send you business, the better. Make targets easy to understand. Give partners a convenient, simple way to track progress toward those targets. By making rewards and programs crystal clear to your partners, you set them up to want to send referrals your way.

3. Don’t change the program terms frequently

If you’re changing the rules of your partner program every year, you’re confusing your partners and likely losing connections in the process. They need to know how your referral program works and trust it stays that way if you’re going to build loyalty over time. Keep the program simple and streamlined, and stick to the same system overall.

4. Make partner incentives escalate

If you can get your existing partners to refer more customers, you can quickly and effectively grow your business. You likely have partners that bring in a few referrals a year. If you up your incentives, it might increase the number of referrals each partner brings.

How escalating partner incentives work:

The more referrals someone brings, the greater the reward. You might increase the commission percentage for partners who send X number of referrals, for example. Also, consider setting achievement bars that allow partners to unlock new statuses.

After they reach these levels, consider rewarding them with bonus incentives. This sort of strategy works well to keep existing partners motivated to keep bringing you more clients.

microsoft partner incentives


5. Set bonus days for increased rewards

Feel like your partners need some fresh inspiration? Why not plan special bonus days to create buzz and excitement around referrals? Give partners motivation by offering extra incentives for new referrals on certain days. For extra incentive ideas, try offering more compensation or entries into raffles.

6. Offer a bigger incentive for the top referrer

One of the best incentive program ideas to try is setting a big goal reward that’s attainable for your top partners. The reward could be cash, a special trip, tickets to a local event, honor at a company event, a free year of your service, a new laptop, etc.

7. Great incentive program ideas offer more than money

Monetary rewards are powerful, but that’s not to say nothing else matters. There are other important ways to reward partners.

Here are a few great incentive program ideas:
  • Highlight them in newsletters
  • Send some of your clients their way
  • Ask the company’s CEO to thank them
  • Host events for top referrers

The more ways you can make your partners feel appreciated, the more you work toward continued success.

8. Make it fun

Turn your channel partner program into a game to make it more fun and interesting for the businesses that work with you. Choose a platform that tracks referrals, awards badges, and has a leaderboard in place to track those generating the most clients. This idea takes advantage of good, old-fashioned competition and keeps your partners motivated to draw clients.

9. Stay in touch with your partners

Last but not least, let your partners know you care by staying connected through a Facebook group, online forum or other regular interaction. Send newsletters to give milestone shout-outs and share the latest news. By staying in your partners’ minds, you’re more likely to get their referrals.

Make referrals easier with partner program software

As a business professional, it’s understandable to find yourself pressed for time. If you need fast results, it’s wise to think about purchasing referral partner program software. This type of software makes it easy for your business to manage partner incentives, track where referrals are coming from, and much more.

Our team at Referral Rock has helped thousands of companies start their referral programs. By signing up with us, you’ll also be assigned a dedicated customer service manager to help you throughout the creation of your partner program.

partner program software features

Wrapping things up

No matter what your industry, you can benefit from a strong partner program that brings in new business. With a partner program, you can use the relationships your partners have already formed to find new clients for your company.

So, to make the most of these relationships, create incentives that work. Use the ideas above to make your partner program more compelling – so your partners are more engaged, you get more clients, and everybody wins.

About the Contributor

shanna mallon straight north

Shanna Mallon is a contributing writer for Straight North, a leading Internet marketing agency in Chicago providing SEO, web development and other online marketing services. She’s been a freelance writer since 2007. 

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