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Who is this article for?

This article will be useful to you if you want to use challenges to activate and motivate partners in your partner program to increase engagement.

Challenges overview

Challenges are fun, time-limited opportunities for your partners to engage with your program outside of its usual incentive structure.

While triggers often provide the main incentives of a partner program, partnership leaders may want to engage their partners in new ways through challenges.

For example:

  • “If a partner gets 5 sales by end of the quarter, reward a $100 bonus.”
  • “If a partner authors a blog post about our latest feature release, reward a $50 bonus.”
  • “If a partner participates in a poll, reward a t-shirt or Amazon gift card.

In this article, you’ll learn all about what you can accomplish with challenges, how to creatively engage your partners through challenges, and some best practices for making the most out of this tool.

Challenge types

  1. Poll your partners: allows partners to answer a question from a pre-set list of responses
  2. Request submissions: asks partners to create a piece of content, then share the link to that content
  3. Encourage progress: measures partners’ progress against a specific goal (ex. “get 5 sales”)
  4. Gather feedback: asks partners to respond to a question, usually about the partner program itself

Note: Feedback challenges cannot be associated with a reward.

Creating a challenge

There are 5 sections that need to be set up for your challenge to be completed; Select audience, Define challenge, Set reward, Schedule challenge, and Review & activate. 

To create a new challenge:

  1. Log into your PartnerStack dashboard here
  2. Click on the Challenges tab in the left-hand menu
  3. Click "Create a new Challenge" in the top-right screencast_2022-05-17_09-45-39.gif
  4. Select which type of challenge you want to build, and input a name
  5. Select audience: Select which group of partners will receive the challengeConfigure_Challenge_2022-05-17_09-47-51.png

    Optional: Challenge yourself as well as your partners and set a goal for the number of partners from your selected group you want to see respond to the challenge.

  6. Define challenge: Define the details of the challenge. There are two options in the dropdown:
    1. Sales are the number of transactions (there may be multiple transactions for a single customer)
    2. Paid accounts are the number of customers with Paid status Configure_Challenge_2022-05-17_09-48-42.png
  7. Set reward:  Set the reward that will be issued to partners when they have successfully completed the challenge. This can be a flat monetary reward, a non-monetary reward, or no reward at all

    Non-monetary rewards can be defined as anything (i.e. a t-shirt, gift card, etc.), making it a great option for thinking outside the box for engaging partners. However, non-monetary rewards must be fulfilled by the program manager outside of PartnerStack

  8. Schedule challenge: Schedule when the challenge is set to begin

    If a challenge is set to begin in the future, it will be created in an upcoming state. While a challenge is set in an upcoming state, partners cannot see or access the challenge

    • When scheduling your challenge you may also optionally:
      • Set an end date for your challenge to automatically end
      • Create an email campaign to let your partners know about the challenge (this will be sent when the challenge is in an Active state)
      • Create an email campaign sent to your partners when they complete the challenge
  9. Review & activate: After reviewing all information on the challenge, click "Activate the challenge"Configure_Challenge_2022-05-17_09-50-59.png

Multi-group & multi-segment

The Multi-Group & Multi-Segment feature assists in preventing the need to create multiple duplicate challenges for separate groups. With this feature, you can add multiple groups and segments to the same challenge.  

  1. Log into your account and click the Challenges tab on the left-hand side of your dashboard.
  2. Click  +Create a new challenge on the top right-hand side of the dashboard.
  3. Select the challenge you would like to build
  4. Name your challenge and click Start Building. 
  5. Select Group or Segment. 
  6. Click on the drop-down box to select the Groups or Segments you would like to include in the challenge. 
  7. Click Save & continue.


The partner experience

Partners in a group targeted by an active challenge will see how to engage with the challenge on their program’s summary page. Partners can track progress towards a progress challenge or can submit answers to submission, feedback, or poll challenges. 

Once a partner has responded to, or completed a challenge, the challenge card will be removed from their summary page.


Challenge Notifications

After you upload a new challenge, partners will receive a notification in their partner dashboard at 5:30 AM EST the following day.

  • Partners will not receive a notification if you delete the challenge within the buffer period.
  • Partners will not receive a notification if you make any edits to a newly added or existing challenge.
  • All challenges you create before 5:30 AM EST the following day will be consolidated and sent out as a single notification.
  • Partners will be redirected to your program's summary page when they click on a challenge notification.

Reviewing partner submissions

After creating and activating a challenge, you can view your partner's progress and decline any submissions that do not meet your challenge criteria from your Challenges tab. 

Challenge submissions are treated similarly to pending rewards. Unless declined, challenge submissions will automatically be approved during the next billing period.

Program managers should consider reviewing any active challenge submissions before their automated invoicing period. Any submissions that should not be rewarded must be declined.

  1. Navigate to your Challenges tab, and select the desired challenge
    1. To narrow down the list of challenges displayed, filter the challenges by status
  2. In the challenge detail view, you can identify valuable information such as goal progress, and partner submissions or participation
  3. Submission challenges in particular allow the program manager to decline unsuitable or fraudulent responses. To decline submissions:
    1. Select all submissions that you wish to decline
    2. Click the "Decline # submission" 
    3. In the window that opens, enter the reason for declining the submission and click "Decline submissions" screencast_2022-05-17_10-20-57.gif
  4. The submissions will show as declined as a result, and all associated rewards to the submission will be automatically declined

Searching challenge submissions

  1. Log into your account and click the Challenges tab on the left-hand side of your dashboard.
  2. Click a submitted challenge.
  3. Inside the challenge, click on the search bar above the list of partners and input the partner's name, email, or submission details.
  4. Results will appear below the search bar.


Viewing and editing challenge emails

If email campaigns have been added to an activated challenge, you may want to view what has been sent to partners or edit the completion email.

To view or edit email campaigns, click the gear icon on the top-right corner of the screen. In the drop-down menu, click either View launch email or View completion email. This will redirect you to the appropriate email campaign to either view or edit the campaign.


Note: As the launch email for your active campaign will have already been sent, only completion emails can be edited. 

Ending a challenge

If a challenge is not set to automatically end at a specific time, program managers may wish to end a challenge manually instead.

To end a challenge:

  1. Navigate to your Challenges tab, and select the desired challenge
    1. To narrow down the list of challenges displayed, filter the challenges by status
  2. Click the top-right gear icon, which reveals a dropdown menu
  3. In the dropdown menu, click "End challenge"Challenges_2022-05-17_11-38-23.png

Export a Challenge's Submissions

Use Cases:
  1. Non-monetary reward management: Viewing all challenge information for non-monetary submissions enables you to track and easily deliver non-monetary rewards to partners.
  2. Analysis & Reporting: Exporting your challenge data to CSV enables you to compare and share data cross-departmentally, and analyze it for trends.

To export a challenge:

  1. Log into your account and click the Challenges tab on the left-hand side of your dashboard.
  2. Click a submitted challenge to review.
  3. To download your CSV, click on the Download CSV link in the top right corner of the Challenges Submissions table.

  4. An automated email containing a download link to your CSV that contains your Challenge’s Submission information will be sent to the email address associated with your PartnerStack account. 

Best practices

  • Goals: setting realistic goals can help gauge the health of your partner program. For most groups, we find a goal of 10% engagement tends to be the most realistic.
  • Getting the word out: spending some time to create a snappy description and a well-made email upon activation are effective tools for alerting your partners to the challenge.
  • Time-boxing: challenges are a great way of introducing time-sensitivity to the partner program. Especially if your partner program needs results within a specific timeframe, setting an end date is a great way of giving your challenge a sense of urgency and interest.
  • Experimentation: consider A/B testing with your challenges to understand what makes your partners more interested. Different compensation styles, communication strategies, or challenge types may result in differing kinds of partner behaviors.

Challenge Examples

Onboarding Challenge Examples

  • Earn an extra $50 for your first 2 sales
  • Write a review for {company_name} and earn a $10 Amazon gift card
  • Read through our onboarding resources and let us know when you've completed the task to earn your starter kit!

Advocate Challenge Examples

  • Submission Challenge: Write a blog post for {company_name} and earn a $50 bonus
  • Submission Challenge: Make a video about {company_name} and we'll feature you on our website with your referral link

Seasonal Challenge Examples

  • Happy first day of spring! Earn a free year of {product_name} for getting 5 sales in April
  • Happy first day of Summer. Earn an additional $5 for every sale made this week

Poll Challenge Examples

This could be purely used as a tool for collecting feedback. You do not need to offer any rewards for this.

  • What is your favorite product feature?
  • Where have you shared your referral link?
  • What rewards would you like to see from the program?

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