The SPIFF

It has become a real contest out there for SPIFFs. The SPIFF used to be to (a) draw attention to a company or service offering; or (b) to create some temporary demand by financial incentive. Car dealers live by this model.

SPIFFs have been used to help hardware-focused partners transition to selling cloud services. Moving from a CAPEX financial model to an OPEX or MRR model requires time and patience – and the SPIFF is a way to help ease the sales team’s financial hole that switching from a $25K price tag to a $750 price tag will create.

That said, if you sell based on the SPIFF, you suck! Don’t call yourself a Trusted Advisor if you have an eye on the SPIFF instead of what would be best for the customer. I saw this in an email, “If there’s no spiff, it’s not worth selling as a salesperson.”

I guess he doesn’t read the promotion rules much. In UCaaS, there is a whole page of rules with each SPIFF – what products and revenue is included; clawback verbiage; timeline for payouts; and so much more.

Granted there is a lot of Me-Too, same-same in UCaaS at first glance, but the customer counts on the partner being his advocate. It is the only looking out for the SPIFF that leads back to the time when no one trusted Agents.

I already see SPIFFs slowing down. This might be due to the economic headwinds or it might be due to the high SPIFFs didn’t exactly move the needle in growth that much. When the sector is seeing 12-15% growth YoY – with or without the highest SPIFF – some CFO will notice and adjust accordingly.

There are numerous ways to provide an incentive for sales but a provider is better off helping Aligned Partners financially instead of the partners just selling now because of the SPIFF. Alignment is how you win. Partners who sell to your target market; use your service themselves; have your services in their primary portfolio; and provide great outcomes to those customers.

You learn something from a partner who cares more about the compensation than the customer.

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