3 key elements for a successful B2B Loyalty Programme

The success of a B2B Loyalty Programme lies in its strategic design.

Every organisation has one goal – to find customers, make them fall in love with their brand, and keep them coming back. In a B2B setting, one of the tried and tested ways to accomplish this is with the help of a strategic B2B loyalty programme. A B2B loyalty programme represents a significant growth opportunity for companies willing to reimagine the traditional transactional nature of their B2B relationships. 

A well-executed strategic B2B loyalty, incentive and rewards programme can work wonders for a brand. That’s because a loyalty programme is an extension of your brand, one that transforms your relationship with your partners into something that isn’t purely transactional. Your programme is the best way to thank your most loyal followers, engage your soon-to-be loyalists, and get new partners to jump on board.

With more engagement between purchases, increased repeat purchase rates and greater advocacy, you’ll drive more revenue from your existing customers — while protecting your profit margins from excessive discounting and increasing acquisition costs. 

Focus on answering the below 3 key questions from the customer’s point of view:

  • What’s in it for me? – what are your customers getting from this
  • How do I earn points? – how do they achieve the goal
  • Should I join? – is your incentive good enough for them to join 

When you try and answer these questions, you will find potential gaps in your programme or the communication of the programme. The KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) design principle fits this perfectly. So make your programme and the messaging as simple as possible. 

What’s in it for me?

To answer this question, you will have to know your customer. A strategy based on customer behaviours is vital to a successful B2B loyalty programme. It is because behaviours shape how customers purchase products, engage and commit to a brand. However, as we all know, B2B buyers are under-analysed. Buyer segmentation of a B2B customer is more complicated because gaining access to their behaviour patterns can be difficult as most transactions are done via the organisation, not individually. 

But never forget, a decision maker is a person, and they will still ask, “what’s in it for me?” They will evaluate your programme based on the benefits they can receive, not based on the benefit it provides you. So make it easy for your channel partners to understand the perks they get by signing up for your programme. If your B2B loyalty programme aims to change behaviour, you will find a powerful value proposition for your brand and channel partners. 

Turning your great motivational ideas into a format that can appeal to a range of customers, employees or channel partners is often the hardest step. But, it is also the most important step if you want to transform your rewards programme from an underperforming accessory into a comparative advantage. Again, simplicity is key; try not to place all ideas into a B2B loyalty programme strategy; the more complex the criteria – the harder it will be to execute it.

How do I earn points?

The question may look simple, but we have seen several programmes that complicate the process or make it unattainable to achieve set points. When a programme manager receives an email or a call with the question, ‘how do I earn points?‘ it means either your programme or its communication needs to be completed or corrected. The criteria that drive performance with a reward offer that matches effort will win the day. 

To keep momentum, a loyalty program needs a well-designed communications strategy as the programme’s backbone. Letting customers and partners know the programme criteria and the reward on offer, the main goal is to drive purchasing behaviours to meet the incentive objectives.

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Program collateral mockup

Most importantly, communications must engage with recipients in a meaningful, personalised and relevant way. Personalisation of communications is keywhere access and utilisation of accurate data optimises engagement and campaign outcomes. 

Personalisation improves your customer experience. You should do it, even if it’s as simple as adding a name to your incentive programme messages. For example, the subject line: “[FirstName], how are things?” will get a higher open rate than “Any feedback on the latest programme?” 

Don’t be afraid to send participants personalised reminders about their reward points balance. These reminders keep participants active, reminding them to redeem or get items on their wishlist. For example, “Hey, Sam, are you still interested in a new juicer? It’s on sale in the online rewards catalogue!”

By outlining actions and identifying customers’ most important value propositions, marketing can implement a personalised incentive programme and change the behaviours needed to achieve a brand’s goals. B2B incentive and rewards programmes complement face-to-face direct sales teams in achieving coverage across industry channels and customer groups.

Should I join?

When you try and answer this question, you can find several answers depending on the person’s motivation. The sweet spot has a programme and reward catalogue that pleases everyone. Is that even possible? Yes, it is.

Are cash incentives the most appropriate way to drive sales and engagement? Or is your target group more drawn to tangible objects they can choose from a catalogue? Whichever you choose, have a clear brand loyalty definition and work your rewards programme around the facet of your business that is most important.

It could d be that putting all the rewards budget on one reward offer will disengage a customer segment. For example, if your programme reward is a travel incentive to Cambodia for 20 participants, Although this reward is appealing, it significantly narrows down the winners’ pool. This can have a negative impact on participants and demotivate them if they think the goal is unachievable or is set up only for “VIP” customers. 

Many factors impact behaviours and outcomes when picking the suitable reward for an incentive programme. Your channel structure, segments, and participants will have unique drivers, and all will need to be motivated by the incentive. Building the right mix of rewards in your incentive programme is fun! Find a partner that can offer merchandise rewardsVisa gift cards or travel incentives, as this gives you the peace of mind to turn on or off the rewards to meet the channel or business needs.

For some businesses, reaching sales targets or the latest KPIs is key. For others, it’s brand recognition and the accomplishment that comes with a growing loyal customer base. 

Tiered incentives ignite customer engagement right from the start and prompt business clients to purchase more. You can begin with basic rewards to encourage participants to sign up for the programme and offer more valuable rewards as they increase their purchasing volumes and hit targets to qualify for the next level. For example, an equipment manufacturer provides rewards to its distributors based on their sales performance in the form of earned points. By gaining more points, buyers can level up from one tier to the next. Levelling up to the next tier can offer more benefits, better pricing, or other incentives.

With the 3 key questions of B2B loyalty answered – what next?!

B2B customers rely on relationships and reputations to a greater degree than consumer-facing companies – offering rewards and personalised messages to your B2B customers keeps you front of mind. By adding benefits and recognising their efforts, you remain deeply connected with B2B customers via an incentive or loyalty programme, which will directly improve sales. After all, we are all in it for the same reason, improved sales!

The First Step To Create Measurable Change In Your Business

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