Why channel chiefs should care about partner loyalty

15 August 2016

Too many partner programmes continue to reward run rate business at the expense of other important behaviours that when measured collectively give a more accurate assessment of partner loyalty. 

In the US there’s evidence that loyal customers “deliver a 23% premium over the average customer in share of wallet, profitability and revenue”* Sounds appealing? Then borrow from the most successful customer loyalty programmes – think long-term, and offer value-added rewards that motivate emotionally as well as (or instead of) financially.

Your partner programme could emulate customer loyalty programmes if you:

Stop pretending that rebates are incentives when deep down you know your partners see them as part of the price.

Start caring about partner loyalty and think of your partners as customers and rewarding the behaviours you want that bring your partners closer. Offer rewards that capture your partners’ attention and bring them into line with your sales strategy. Enhance your partners’ experience and the ease of doing business with you.

From Passive Partner Programme to Active Loyalty Programme

   Partner Programme    Loyalty Programme 
Incentivises    Transactions (sales, share of wallet)  Relationship and engagement
     Joint marketing, training, social media connection etc.
 Perspective  Short-term  Long-term
 Type of Reward  Discounts and rebates  Non-cash brand building
   (corporate, rational)  Relevant to individuals
     (personal, rational and emotional)
 Vendor Attitude  Cost of doing business  Engaging and influencing partners
 Partner Attitude  Business as usual  Personally beneficial, adding value
 Flexibility  One size fits all, bigger sales = bigger rewards  Tailored to specific business needs and situations
 Programme effect  Limited opportunity to influence partner behaviour  Focused on influencing partner behaviours and driving strategy

Transform your partner programme to actively encourage loyalty and you show how much you value your partners’ engagement and commitment as well as their sales. And you could:

  • Bring partners on board with your loyalty strategy
  • Create brand advocates who enjoy working with you
  • Attract new partners 
  • Direct your partner investments more effectively
  • All while achieving your first objective – building sales.

Find out how understanding and measuring the various elements that contribute to loyalty can help you get more from your partner relationships in our brief  “Maximize Partner Performance with Loyal Partners”. Download it here

Find out more about how we can help you to measure channel partner loyalty, drive your programme, and increase ROI.

Partner Programme

Loyalty Programme



(sales, share of wallet)

Relationship and engagement

Joint marketing, training, social media connection, etc.)





Type of reward:

Discounts and rebates

(corporate, rational)

Non-cash brand building.

Relevant to individuals

(personal; rational and emotional)

Vendor attitude:

Cost of doing business

Engaging and influencing partners

Partner attitude:

Business as usual

Personally beneficial, adding value


One size fits all; bigger sales = bigger rewards

Tailored to specific business needs and situations

Programme effect:

Limited opportunity to influence partner behaviours

Focused on influencing partner behaviours and driving strategy