B2B loyalty and incentive programs depend on member participation in order to be successful both from a financial perspective and to accomplish key business goals. Depending on when you launched your program and the make-up of your program you might be finding that your partner participation numbers are lagging, or that fewer partners are signing up than anticipated. Here are some ideas for boosting partner participation in your channel loyalty or incentive program so you can keep growing your success.
Understand Partner Motivations
Motivation is both easy and hard to understand. We know as humans that we’re constantly motivated by certain factors - some are universally shared and some vary from person to person. In addition to that psychologists explain that there’s two core types of motivation:
- Intrinsic motivation - where we’re driven by impulses like self-development, personal accomplishments, and self-satisfaction of a job well done. Intrinsic motivation is emotion-based.
- Extrinsic motivation - where we’re prompted to action by the promise of external factors, whether those are positive tangible rewards like merchandise or gifts, or negative consequences.
So how do motivations factor into driving more partner participation?
It comes down to knowing your partner types, including their priorities and goals. By understanding the key motivations of different partners, you can implement elements in your loyalty or incentive program that target those motivations. It’s most likely a given that various partners will be motivated by factors like rewards, rebates, discounts, and such. However you might also have partners who are looking for more intrinsic motivations, such as:
- A supplier who provides them with more actively-involved, higher quality service and support.
- Knowledge-base resources and expertise that helps them sell better and more effectively to their customers.
- An overall partner experience that delivers on value, ease, and convenience, and makes it apparent you prioritize their goals and best interests
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations aren’t strong enough on their own to build real B2B partner loyalty. But by utilizing both together you can successfully drive more effective partner participation in your program.
Incorporating Tiers or Status Levels
Tiers and status levels are a proven method for driving any type of program engagement, from online video games to community groups to loyalty programs. The key to making them work for driving B2B partner participation is to create the right type of program tiers, earning rules, and tiered benefits that are tailored to both your business and your channel partners.
Creating the right tier levels ties into program design and requires having an in-depth understanding of your customers: their typical sales numbers, purchase cycles, buyer journeys, and more. You also need to know what your program goals are and what actions or behaviors you want partners to take. If your channel includes companies of all sizes, from small-business to enterprise organizations, then you’ll need to understand how your program tiers can appeal and motivate your entire channel without excluding key customer segments.
This data will help you determine program details like the amount of points or dollar-spend it takes to qualify for each tier, the different types of earning rules, and even different member-benefits and perks available for each tier. While this might sound complicated or difficult to implement in real-life, B2B-specific loyalty platform software like what we offer at Brandmovers makes it easy to create and manage custom hierarchies and earning rules for B2B organizations.
Enhancing Your Communication & Marketing
Communication is key in channel incentive programs in a number of ways: sending the right type of relevant program-related communications to partners and end-customers; making co-marketing support and activities part of your program; and creating two-way communication channels that supply customer feedback.
It's important to market and promote your program the same as you would promote a product. In order for partners and customers to join, participate, and thrive within the program they need to first know key details such as:
- The value they receive from joining the program
- The different member benefits, perks, and services available to them
- How to join, earning points or rewards, redeem their points, etc.
- New promotional opportunities or member offers
Once members have joined, it then becomes important to consistently provide them with relevant communications to keep them engaged. This also includes providing key channel partners with marketing materials they need to promote the program and enroll their own end-customers. The easier it is to understand your program's value proposition and the benefits to becoming a member, the more likely it is your partners will elect to participate.
Establishing two-way communication channels also increases the level of partner participation within your program. You can create and distribute questionnaires, surveys, polls, inquiry forms, and more down the entire channel. This let your partners and customers send you feedback, questions, or product issues directly rather than having to go through convoluted venues to find answers or assistance. In turn you're able to identify, address, and solve potential issues or problems quicker, increasing customer satisfaction and building customer loyalty.
Become Invaluable To Channel Partners
The fundamental purpose of any loyalty program is to build a relationship between the brand and the customer. To do so the program must fit into the customer's life and their regular routine; supports their goals and meet their needs; foster a sense of belonging that aligns the customer to the brand. In short, the program becomes invaluable to the customer. Successful programs achieve this by creating a complete loyalty experience that incorporates the elements above and more: motivations, rewards, engagement, communications, etc. All of which works together to deliver value, provide solutions, build trust, and create a strong relationship.
To find out more about how Brandmovers can help you inspire participation and action within your channels, reach out to us today!