Channel sales reps who are actively engaged with your brand sell more of your products. Partner loyalty programs play a large role in that engagement. In fact, 67% of sales reps say that programs that include rewards and incentives are extremely important to their job satisfaction. A solid 80% of them say rewards and incentives strengthen their relationships with vendors1.
Partner loyalty is a differentiator. The best organizations use partner loyalty programs for training, support and incentives to drive brand loyalty and achieve higher sales. But for a loyalty program to work, it must be well planned, properly supported and actively promoted. In short, it must be a long-term and ongoing commitment. Set it and forget it will simply not work. Here are some pitfalls to avoid when building your successful partner loyalty program:
1. Inadequate company commitment
Any partner loyalty program should be approached as a lasting commitment. Instant gratification is nice, but that’s not what a loyalty program is for. Ensure you have complete buy-in from senior stakeholders and that a program manager has been empowered to make decisions to maintain the plan’s momentum and focus.
2. Lack of clear and measurable goals
Is your goal to drive more revenue? Are you trying to gain market share? Identify specific and measurable objectives, so that you can track and influence the success of your program. It’s also important to set and monitor goals at the team and rep level. And remember to look at those goals and objectives from both sides. Find out what your partners and their reps are expecting to get from the program. Take the time to understand how you can help them meet their group and individual goals, as well as your own. The point is to show you are vested in their business success to ensure that they are vested in yours.
3. An overcomplicated program
Make participation simple with few restrictions and easy to understand terms, so that partner reps feel comfortable incorporating your program into their routine. Ensure that any changes you make are well thought out, not ad hoc, and don’t make any major changes until the program is stable and running smoothly.
4. The partner’s perspective is missing
When planning your loyalty program, don’t forget to take the partner’s overall perspective into consideration. Where do you stand in terms of the brands they are selling? Are you one of many? Do they sell competitive products? Take a step back and consider what will motivate reps to choose your brand over others in their bag, and incorporate that into your program.
5. Failure to use the data
Monitor progress and utilize program data to drive positive behaviours and quickly alter negative ones. Don’t just file the data away, leverage it to improve engagement and results.
6. Taking a set it and forget it approach
This sort of approach will doom your program to failure. Since 23% of sales reps are participating in 6 or more incentive/loyalty programs1, yours needs to stand out. Promote your program throughout, not just at launch. Communicate regularly with teams and individual participants, not just on an as needed basis. You’re establishing lasting relationships between the reps and your brand. Maintaining long-term participant engagement will also enable you to grow revenue at a lower cost per participant, so it is important to build your program for the long haul.
Loyalty programs have the power to drive a sales team to reach higher and achieve more. They also make it easy for channel partners and, ultimately, end customers to put your brand first. At a time when 54% of B2B marketers say making customers more loyal is a leading business challenge2, we could all stand to build more brand loyalty.
ChannelAssist can help you avoid the pitfalls that make channel partner loyalty programs unsuccessful, increase partner engagement, and equip channel reps with the training, support and tools they need to succeed. Add strategically focused sales incentives, get actionable reporting and analytics, and watch sales growth accelerate. Find out more.