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Kelly Teal

Kelly Teal, senior editor of Channel Partners, relies on nearly 10 years of reporting on telecommunications business, regulation and the channels for her perspectives on industry trends.

How Do Carrier SPIFFs Influence Your Sales Behavior?

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Kelly TealThis year’s Channel Partners Compensation Survey is full of so many details it’s impossible to cover them in-depth at just one time, in just one place. That’s why we’re periodically breaking down the results (view the two slide shows we have posted so far – one on “Average Commissions on Communications Products & Services" and another addressing “Perspectives on SPIFFs and Bonuses." Plus, download the full, free report.)

Building on that idea, then, I thought it would be fruitful to ask partners directly for your thoughts on SPIFFs and bonuses. I am particularly interested in how SPIFFs influence which carriers you recommend to customers.  On this point, agents, VARs, dealers, consultants and other partners are about evenly divided, according to the 2011 Channel Partners Compensation Survey. Thirty-seven percent said they “agree" or “strongly agree" that SPIFFs motivate which providers they put in front of clients. Another 39 percent said they “disagree" or “strongly disagree" that SPIFFs determine their suggestions.

Where do you stand, and why? In your view, is it unethical to position one provider over another because of a better SPIFF? Why or why not? I also wonder how critical SPIFFs will be as the telecom industry moves toward hosted services and cloud computing. Do you foresee any type of change in SPIFF and bonus structures as that shift takes place? If so, please explain, and share what impact that would have on your business model. Finally, what else about the issue of carrier SPIFFs and bonuses stands out to you most?

You can talk to me in the comments box below, via email, or on Twitter or LinkedIn at the Channel Partners Network.

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