An innovative incentive strategy is helping drive participation in a new channel program at Check Point Software Technologies. The program, called Check PointS, rewards solution providers with learning opportunities for completing activities that strengthen their relationships with customers.
During a recent earnings call, Check Point CFO Tal Payne said that more than 70% of the company’s top partners have signed up for the program and are using the associated application.
Supported on a company-built mobile app, Check PointS employs a gamification strategy to influence the behavior of channel partner reps, Frank Rauch, head of worldwide channel sales, explained to CMR. The goal is to encourage reps to perform activities that “really drive growth and profitability in the channel.”
The Check PointS app recommends a variety of activities to sales reps such as hosting a demo, developing a proof-of-concept, participating in a training day, or scheduling meetings with customers. As activities are completed, digital badges or points can be redeemed for a variety of “learning incentives” which may include a visit to Check Point’s headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel or one of the company’s regional meetings.
Other incentives include rewarding the partner organization with sales supporting tools such as a test kit or lab appliance that can be used to demonstrate Check Point technology to customers.
Check Point has informed partners that app usage by their employees will be one of the determinants for their future tier level. “So whether you’re a four star, three star, or two star type of partner for Check Point, how your sales reps use the app to report on activities and collect points will impact your tier level, which will influence discount level, your registration level, etc.,” said Rauch.
In addition to product discounts and guaranteed margins, the tiered levels define access to dedicated account teams, sales tools, market development funding, and sales and product training.
Check Point’s decision to incentivize sales activity by awarding learning opportunities and sales aids reflects a shift in what motivates sales reps, said Rauch. Traditional incentives, such as gift cards and prizes, are becoming “passé.” Reps see the learning incentives as a way to sell more effectively. “They’re trying to make a living,” he continued. “So anything we can do to help them grow either the top line or their margins, to be able to decrease the selling time, or increase conversion rates, that’s what they’re really after.”
Encouraged by the early adoption of the app, Check Point has an ambitious roadmap for the tool’s ongoing development. The company is looking at how the app can be used through the various stages of lead generation to deal confirmation. Rauch sees the future of the app as a “team unifier” that can be used to assign and monitor activities of both Check Point employees and partner-side staff.
Future capabilities will give sales reps anywhere-anytime access to materials necessary to support client meetings. “Once you’re in a meeting, you’ll be able to use the collateral that we develop or have a live chat with a Check Point resource to bring in another level of support if required.” After the meeting, reps will be able use the app to send follow-up letters, proposals, proofs of concept and demos. “You can launch them literally from your car, immediately after you walk out of the customer meeting.”
Incentivizing and enabling the individual sales reps is a priority for the Check PointS program, explained Rauch. “Without stating the obvious, you can meet with partner CEOs all day long. But if you’re not influencing the tip of the sphere, which is really the channel sales rep, then you’re probably not going to get the result you want.”