Pleasure and Pain – Make Pain Points More Rewarding

Our guide to using B2B Loyalty and Incentive programs to address and solve business pain points.

matt griffiths. b2b loyalty and incentive expert

Matt Griffiths

General Manager Sales & Marketing

Matt is an experienced B2B Loyalty & Incentive program designer with over 20 years working with Australian and New Zealand brands.  Passionate about partnering with businesses to understand specific business and sales pain points, he takes a consultative approach to develop engaging solutions for customers that deliver measurable results.

In today’s market, acknowledging a problem, or pain point, to be fixed within your organisation can be considered challenging. This is likely due to two factors:

  • Difficulty in locating or defining the problem. If this is the case, the organisation may not see the necessity in acknowledging and solving a problem they’re struggling to find.
  • Considering a problem within the function of the business as weakness and interpreting this problem as an individual or team not doing what they need to within their role.

When you include the fact that a lot of organisations are already asking how to identify customer pain points, these can be difficult conversations that they possibly won’t want to have.

However, we love having these conversations with our clients – considering identifying, acknowledging and solving business pain points one of the key philosophies behind designing a B2B incentive program that really works. However, that’s not to say it’s an easy thing – confronting the problems and challenges within their business can sometimes be seen as uncomfortable at best or insulting at worst.

We’re fortunate to work closely with clients across a wide range of industries who share their processes and issues. This gives us an inside look and highlights pain points that almost any organisation can encounter, regardless of industry.

The Top 5 Pain Points You Should Address in B2B Loyalty and Incentive Programs

Here is our list of the top 5 of the primary pain points that most sales and marketing business stakeholders should be reviewing right now and ensuring they are addressing those against current economic trading conditions in New Zealand and Australia. How many have your organisation addressed?

  1. Share of Wallet
    Share of wallet determines how much a B2B customer can spend on required business goods and services. Customers can choose where and how much they spend with you or your competitors, and you’ll likely feel the pinch if you’re not getting enough. What are you doing to stand out from your competitors and drive your customer’s share of wallet back to your brand?
  2. Sales
    Whichever way you want to say it, we’re always looking for growth, whether in dollars, units or some other measure. Acquiring new customers and market share are valid ways to judge how we’re performing in this area. Which one is a key focus for your business?
  3. Margin
    Maintaining or growing margin is integral to business success because it shows how much of your costs are covered by sales; AKA more margin = more freedom. Letting your sales teams elevate higher margin products – to appropriate customer bases – allows you to plan for the future, rather than the short-term approach of right now.
  4. Retention & Engagement
    This can be more simply filed under ‘customer loyalty’. You will have heard how it’s much easier to keep customers than attain new ones, right? Generally, loyalty and retention are two things you need to keep in mind at all times, because customer “churn” can be one of a business’ most visible pains, even if they don’t know why. Defining these by talking about potential pain points lurking in processes is a great way to explore!
  5. Price Protection
    One of the biggest pain points facing most competitive markets is price. Sales or discounts are a common promotion when seeking new business, but what happens when every other business is doing the same? This will just affect your margins and damage your brand, which is the last thing you want when trying to remain in the fight! The trick to solving this pain point is to focus on how to maintain price whilst finding ways to offer additional value to the sale, instead of “race to the bottom” discounts.

Design Using Customer Pain Points for Sales Success

Put simply, the overarching theme to the pain points can be addressed by focusing on sales. We’ve found that sales performance is universally understood, and results can be defended through a focus on metrics such as return on investment (ROI).

By talking through your business goals we can articulate the pain points. Placing that at the centre of a B2B loyalty and incentive program is integral to success. The presence of issues that cause problems throughout the course of operations that can also be solved by a B2B program shouldn’t be disregarded and ignored – they should be included in the program design!

Again, we like to consider this in the same vein as “weakness” – nobody likes to talk about it, and we try to hide it away. But weakness is valuable in emphasizing operational, sales, acquisition, or growth processes and pin-point bottlenecks that can damage a business. It is so important to discuss these problems, as otherwise we’re unable to find ways address these issues and change behaviour to excise them from the business.

A B2B loyalty and incentive program strategy built around sales performance means we can (and must) dig in further on understanding customer pain points. These “deeper” pains aren’t linked to figures on a spreadsheet. They more than likely occur as internal processes, like culture or training efforts: areas of the business you can improve or that present challenges, but that may not have a dollar figure attached to it. However, if you prioritise these in your program design, you’ll see positive outcomes as part of the program’s success in no time.

Don’t Try to Solve all Pain Points at Once!

There is one trap to watch out for, though! Attempting to solve each pain your business is feeling can provide a scattershot focus and make any solutions somewhat messy. If your organisation is trying to solve too many things, you’ll soon find your design diluted, while trying to achieve too many goals leads to complicated program criteria which either turns off participants or confuses them. The success of a program is in simplicity – if the effort asked to participate is too much, your program will be a deterrent for customers doing business with you, instead of the opposite.

There is a history of failure in B2B loyalty and incentive programs when they’re too weighted down with contradicting metrics, causing a lack of focus in what the organisation has set out to achieve. These bloated metrics can also leads to a lack of focus in your program design, which will prevent you from seeing the full impact we’d like to achieve. Our methodology focuses on addressing a key outcome in solving a specific pain point, in order to provide the biggest positive impact on the key business problem.

Deal with the Pain for Greater Rewards

The outcome of success is what make us feel that pain points can be rewarding, because a focus on these can provide your business with an incredible advantage. The addition of new criteria (within reason) or shifting the focus of a program’s design while keeping an eye on future goals is absolutely possible, and that flexibility allows your business to stand out from your competitors, who are all likely facing similar challenges in their day-to-day operations. Sure, you may have to take detour from your initial goal, or find yourself facing ‘new’ pains and metrics while dealing with unexpected challenges, you’ll still be able to find success with a program that works for you.

If your business can allow and account for changes like this within a B2B incentive and rewards program, it means you can take different routes to identify and address your pain points without impacting additional requirements that may occur. After all, these uncomfortable conversations about weakness or pain points in finding a program design that fits you serve to illustrate that there’s a fine line between pleasure and pain!

With pain points eliminated, this customer experiences success with her business of choice

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Let us help solve the pain points plaguing your business with a loyalty and incentive program to reward and recognise your customers!

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