For many businesses, their relationship with channel partners can make or break the bottom line! Maintaining loyal channel partners is the best way to make your business stand out from the crowd. They are often the most critical stakeholders as they promote your products and services to the end customer. Retaining customers is an important facet of B2B business. So much so, that increasing partner retention rates by 5% can increase profits by up to 25%. Finding the right mix is essential so that they sell your product to those who count, but what’s the motivation to take action? How can you ensure that your offer is different and can adapt to a competitive market?
The best way to ensure channel partners put your brand above the competition is through Channel Incentive Rewards Program, which drives those who sell your brand on your behalf.
Rather than focusing on rewarding B2C loyalty, a channel rewards program motivates your partners (resellers and distributors) to engage in certain behaviours by offering valuable rewards that help them grow their own business and encourage B2B loyalty. A well-designed Channel Incentive Rewards Program needs to motivate and engage channel partners to create more value for customers and recognise that effort.
Many incentive rewards programs for channel partners only focus around one factor – sales. While it might seem obvious to measure a channel organisation’s value based on its sales performance, other factors need to be considered as well to build and grow existing and new partners.
Don’t just tick off your channel incentive rewards program; use it to change behaviour. Here are 5 tips to get the best out of your channel rewards incentive program and build loyalty.
Every rewards program will differ based on the goals and methods applied to achieve this change. However, most B2B incentive rewards programs will have a common stumbling block – defined execution. 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 program from an underperforming accessory into a comparative advantage. Simplicity is key; try not to place all ideas into a loyalty program strategy; the more complex the criteria – the harder it will be to execute it.
Good rewards and incentives hinge on repeat behaviour – their purpose is to identify and encourage people to undertake activity that benefits your business. Whether this involves motivating customers to spend more or educating partners to target higher-quality customers and service, repetition is crucial for your company.
Building your incentive rewards program to encourage repetitive behaviour will be central to your program’s success and turn your incentives into a comparative advantage. Communicate and ensure they know how and where they can achieve in your program. Building the behaviours you want can benefit both your channel partner and yourself.
Thinking outside the box is essential for lifting your rewards program to another level. With so many competitors out there, your business needs to set itself apart. Injecting a creative, unique spin on your incentives, which can lift the perceptions of your program, is a vital ingredient. A well-built program must have a communication strategy at the core to ensure partner buy-in and regular engagement.
Channel conflict can have a negative impact on both the vendor and the partners, with lost deals, customers and compromised relationships among the many possible outcomes.
When it comes to dealing with conflict, one way to keep everyone happy and avoid error is by simplifying your channel programs as much as possible. This is particularly important if you have several partners, as keeping track of multiple programs with different elements in each can become tricky. Instead, streamline programs and cut out any unnecessary details or restrictions that may be causing conflict.
Choosing the right reward
You have now decided on the right incentive strategy to achieve your business goals and the method to engage with your channel partners. It is now time to figure out how to position your incentive and in what form it should take.
When it comes to picking the right reward choice for an incentive program, many factors impact behaviours and outcomes. Choosing the wrong reward will undermine the best-laid strategy. 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 program is the fun part! Find a partner that can offer merchandise rewards, Visa gift cards or travel incentives, as this gives you the peace of mind to be able to turn on or off the rewards to meet the channel or business needs.
A well-designed incentive rewards strategy stimulates sales in any B2B environment, but a strategy combined with expertise in your particular industry will make your program practically unstoppable. At 212F, we look to create partnerships, which means we will question what you need to address in your business and want to understand what you are trying to achieve. Of course, we will focus on maximum engagement and changing behaviours to meet your objectives and even over-achieve them.