I have treated my first few business customers of my software product very well. They are senior managers of medium sized companites. My problem is that I cannot get them to sell my product in their network. I believe I need some kind of incentives to get them to do this. What kind of incentives should I offer?
Not knowing what you are selling that can be pretty generic question, but much of the web has affiliate offers:
clickbank.com is an example of an affiliate market where Internet Marketers will sell your products for you for a cut.
For business partners setting up your own affiliate system like Raventools.com (bottom right) can be a good way to allow people to make a little money and create a mutually beneficial program.
They use shareasale, but I've heard great things about hasoffers.com
You want your customers to sell your software for you? And your customers are senior managers of medium sized companites?
First, those medium sized companies probably have policies in place that prohibit their employees from taking cash, gifts, or other items from you, a vendor. Even if they don't have policies prohibiting this type of conduct, it seems to me to be a direct conflict of interest. I would be very surprised if the managers would accept payment. (I would fire my managers for doing this.) Second, it's your job to sell your product. Relying on others to make the sale for you probably will not work. Your product could make the sale itself- by being so good (or saving money, or saving time, or...) that the managers will immediately recommend it without being "paid". If they love it, they will help you sell it.
Without knowing more about your product it's hard to recommend a specific course of action.
As a way to avoid some of the potential conflicts of interest cited by Gary E. you might want to focus on ways to reward people with your product.
Again, we don't have a lot of details, but if you have a multi-tiered offering you could give referrers access to higher tiers than usual. Similarly, with a SaaS product you might offer a month or two for free in exchange for a referral.
Because these sorts of incentives aren't in the form of actual cash, it will probably be more socially acceptable.
I think your challenge is the use of the word "pay" It has created a mental framework which I believe is getting inn the way of your desired outcome.
I don't believe you want them as vendors, distributor or resellers. I don't think you are seeking an affiliate program or anything of the sort.
I believe that you are seeking qualified referrals from a trusted advisor to your product.
If I am wrong -- stop reading now.
If I am right -- then here are some things to consider on how to dramatically increase the likelihood of earning a high quality referral.
You need to increase the association the senior managers feel with your product and service. You gain the referral not by initially asking for it -- but by building the connection, affiliation, and association the senior managers have with you, your product and your brand.
Basically you are weaving them closer and closer to you.
As this association grows-- and they are reading your communications then you can start to reflect back to them the behavior you would like them to take. You talk about how a referral from someone they know resulted in a great case study for the product. You highlight and shine light on it. And you show a deep -- yet appropriate-- appreciation.
Good luck-- I hope you and the product earn the referrals you deserve from these customers.