Case Study: Champions League



Who wouldn’t want to offer an extravagant performance incentive to your channel marketing partners? Just think what a reward that would be for your top-performing distributors!

Unfortunately, your company probably cannot afford to reward all your partner’s champion sales representatives quite so lavishly, but you could afford to give them a memorable experience that will keep the sales coming!

Designing such a program can be challenging. You want to align your channel partners with your brand, increase their engagement with your brand, and instill loyalty among both channel partners and end users.

The Lenovo Champions League met all of these goals while remaining an enticing but affordable program.

channel incentives

Background & Objectives

Lenovo manufactures personal smart devices from tablets and PCs to phones and whole-home assistants. Its customer base spans more than 160 countries and it is ranked 226 on the global Fortune 500 List. Lenovo is a pioneer in personal technologies products, winning the Red Dot “Best of the Best” product design award.

This spirit of innovation and leadership drives the company. Lenovo needed to design a rewards program that would impart this same spirit on its channel partners so that they could confidently promote Lenovo products as the “Best of the Best” to their end users.

The Challenges

Lenovo inherited a legacy reward program through the acquisition of a product line. However, the legacy program did not effectively meet Lenovo’s three main goals of aligning partners with the brand, increasing engagement with the brand, and cultivating loyalty to the brand.

Product and channel partner value alignment dramatically contribute towards a successful rewards program. Clearly communicating the company’s values creates a natural relationship between the partners. Both realize that their growth and success depend on the growth and success of one another.

While value alignment begins the engagement process, you need to satisfy the WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) principal with sales staff. Studies suggest that a properly structured rewards program can increase sales by 45 percent in sales teams and by 26 percent in individuals.

Intensive branding in the rewards program engenders product loyalty. It’s a form of advocacy marketing. Studies show that while other forms of advertising may make some impression on the end user, word-of-mouth advertising carries the greatest weight. Loyal distributors generate loyal customers and loyal customers keep coming back.

Finally, the reward must be so appealing to the channel partner sales representative that they feel it is worth working toward and it must provide a high ROI for the company without cutting too deeply into the profit margin.


The Solution

ESG Incentives understands the importance of a rewards program, both to employees and to companies. Our travel programs are designed to create an unforgettable experience that generates increased interest in future participation, both on the part of the sales force and the company.

Since most salespersons earn enough income to afford family vacations, this trip needed to be something special, something they could not produce on their own. Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic provided all the amenities of a high-end resort. The all-inclusive rate kept expenses within Lenovo’s budget.

The program clearly branded Lenovo as the manufacturer of choice. Strong branding at all events and on all materials reinforced Lenovo’s desire to reward its top-performing channel partner sales representatives. Engaging and informative group events and business roundtables built a sense of teamwork and provided a forum for channel partners to exchange best practices and ideas and learn more about how partnering with Lenovo can enhance their business.

These events also provided Lenovo the opportunity to educate the channel partners  about products, increasing buy-in to Lenovo’s success. The branding at these events kept Lenovo top of mind for distributors.

Not least of all, Lenovo and its partners had fun! Exclusive program events and other amenities pampered guests, relaxing them and renewing their enthusiasm to win the following year.

  • channel incentives

The Outcome

The Lenovo Champions League trip met all of its goals. It positioned Lenovo as an impressive, professional organization that understands the desires of its partners, strengthening alignment with its distributors.

Furthermore, this increased bond incentivized future award program participants as the inaugural group spread the word about the various special activities Lenovo organized for them. Increased competition among channel partner sales representatives translates directly into increased growth for both Lenovo and its partners .

The trip also positioned Lenovo as the top contender in channel partner incentive programs, creating engagement with and allegiance to Lenovo products brought about by a clearer understanding of Lenovo’s goals and its product line. The clear-cut choice in favor of Lenovo cut through the clutter of other product lines each distributor carried, engendering product loyalty and increasing advocacy marketing.  The program remained within its budget due to ESG Incentives’ close attention to detail.

ESG Incentives specializes in creating successful travel incentive programs tailored to meet each client’s exact specifications. We organize events that capture your audience’s interest, ensure channel marketing partner recognition, and teach corporate culture and values.

Learn more about how a travel incentive program through ESG Incentives can benefit your company and your distributors, elevating your product line to the top of their shelves.

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