Without a loyal sales network, your brand's potential for growth will always be limited. Think of it like this… You’re getting your hair cut. The hairdresser uses product A on your hair which you really like. The next time you go in, they use product B, which seems ok. On your next visit, they use product C. By this point, you’ve completely forgotten about product A. This hairdresser has no loyalty to a specific brand. If they did have a favourite which they always used, the brand would have the potential to really grow. Why? Because the hairdresser would always use and talk about it. Every single day!
So how can the brand behind product A encourage the hairdresser to always choose their product? How can they show them they value their loyalty?
If there isn't enough incentive for the product to stay top of mind, the dealer (hairdresser) is likely to either recommend an alternative that's quick and easy to sell even if it’s not better, or not be committed to one brand at all.
Successful businesses recognise the importance of rewarding distributors for the effort and commitment they put into prioritising their brand and advocating for it with their customers.
The type of rewards you offer and the system you use for incentivisation will play a huge role in encouraging continuous engagement with your channel sales partners. So, to harness those relationships and become the vendor of choice for your distributors, here's how you should approach incentives.
Offer non-cash rewards over cash
Cash comes, and cash goes –– typically, on utilities and other boring expenses. Offering your sales partners a financial incentive may seem like the obvious and most simple reward choice, but it’s not. Not only is it non-personal and not memorable, but it also incurs tax costs.
Allowing your distributors to actually feel rewarded by providing them with something personal is a lot more effective. Experiential rewards always go down a treat! Movie or restaurant vouchers, discounts towards holidays and events are all activities that will create happy memories for the individual. They'll continue to associate that great experience with your brand and will therefore feel encouraged to work hard towards the next fun thing they can claim from your incentive programme.
A points-based system is effective because it helps the participant to conceptualise their progress. Earning points can encourage healthy competition between your network, and adds a touch of gamification to a usually cold and serious transaction. It gives them a sense of self-satisfaction as they can see how their efforts are helping them inch closer towards their desired reward.
Each reward in your programme will have a points-based value, allowing the seller to work for the thing they genuinely want rather than a “one-size-fits-all” prize. This is a far more personalised way of recognising your loyal distributors and letting them choose something that will provide real utility and enjoyment.
Make the sales incentive worth it
All those points have to add up to something worthwhile. Be sure to align the effort required to get the reward with its perceived value. Furthermore, earning the points and claiming the incentive should be a straightforward affair. Too many complicated steps in the process or unachievable targets will push users away and result in indifference. Your distributors have queries to answer, other vendors to liaise with, and plenty of other important tasks to complete in their day, so interacting with your rewards platform should be as easy as possible.
Offer training and courses
Selling is an art; products are always evolving and upgrading, customers' needs are changing, the market itself is shifting –– there are tonnes of things that a distributor has to keep up with to be a confident and credible representative of your brand.
To build a network of expert distributors, you have to help them love your product just as much as you do. Providing access to resources, product knowledge, and case studies is an essential part of your training strategy and something your incentive programme can help you to encourage. When distributors complete a course or achieve a high score, they can earn additional points.
Channel sales partners who feel supported and well informed can sell with greater reassurance that they are communicating the value of your product in an accurate and genuinely helpful way to the end-user.
Would you like to see how a channel loyalty rewards platform can help you report on customer retention KPIs and demonstrate an ROI from your distributor reward programme? Schedule a free demo with Incentivesmart, and let's get started on empowering and motivating your sales network.