Consumer loyalty and rewards programs have only gotten more popular as more B2C companies realize the unique advantages they offer towards customer retention and advocacy. For the B2B industry however, unique challenges have slowed loyalty program growth. Factors such as complex sales channel structures, multiple individuals influencing the buying process, and inadequate technology hindered the industry’s inclusion of loyalty or incentive programs.
But as loyalty program providers continued to evolve and adapt loyalty software and strategies to specific fields, more brands have started recognizing the benefits loyalty programs provide to the B2B industry. Specifically, loyalty and incentive programs are able to help B2B brands:
- Differentiate themselves from the competition
- Provide training and education
- Develop personalization tactics
For some B2B brands, industry standards and regulations means that product differentiation isn’t always possible to set them apart from their competitors. While the traditional methods of discounts and deals work for a time, they can only go so far towards winning long-term customer advocates.
Loyalty and incentive programs are one of the best ways B2B companies can differentiate themselves from the competition. With a loyalty platform brands can issue B2B-specific rewards to customers and distributors, provide accurate product and company information, execute excellent customer service, and offer many more services. Brands with loyalty programs containing wholistic benefits at multiple touch points provide a more appealing option to buyers.
The key is to not copy the exact methods of B2C loyalty programs, but instead incorporate what B2B customers consider valuable into program design. Successful B2B companies adapt and customize traditional loyalty models to fit B2B audiences, such as offering rewards incentives for earlier payments than net terms. The rise of modular platforms means that brands are no longer limited to inflexible out-of-the-box program templates that may or may not work for their process and goals. Now companies are able to pick the program formats, processes, and tools that best fit their unique business while also offering mass appeal to their customers.
Training And Education Incentives
Salespeople, distributors, and contractors are all vital players for B2B company success. And their success in turn depends on their knowledge of a brand's products: product features and uses, how particular products solve specific problems, and what benefits one provider offers over its competitors.
Loyalty programs help empower sales forces and channel partners by using rewards to incentivize participation in learning and education modules. Offering incentives for training encourages individuals at every level to develop greater understanding of a B2B company's products and their benefits. Channel partners in turn are able to make better and more informed recommendations to their end-customers, increasing the chances of a sale.
Members can earn rewards for completing items such as training courses, taking surveys and quizzes, and submitting product reviews and feedback. To really motivate member participation, the Brandmovers loyalty platform provides built-in gamification elements that reward members for hitting key targets. Loyalty program gamification can also include team creation, earning badges and recognition, leaderboards for recognizing high-performing individuals, and creating unique individual and team goals to drive success.
Building B2B customer loyalty relies on understanding what motivates B2B customers. Since many B2B customer relationships depend on a combination of quality products, attentive customer service, and historical success, the typical loyalty strategy of discounts and rewards has less of an impact on the B2B industry as a whole.
A key factor that increases B2B customer loyalty is a brand’s ability to personalize interactions with current and prospective customers. Distributors and customers frequently need specific information and inputs in order to complete a sale. Sophisticated personalization requires integrating customer data management (CDM) platforms with customer relationship management (CRM) systems to ensure customer data and communications are updated consistently and in real-time. This is where loyalty and incentive programs play a major part.
Loyalty programs not only collect valuable customer data but also incorporate key analytics tools that help brands better understand customer preferences and intent. Working with a loyalty program provider brands can easily integrate loyalty programs into existing sales and marketing system setups, providing a complete picture of all relevant customer information. Brands are thus better equipped and more prepared to dynamically and seamlessly tailor experiences for each customer across multiple channels.
It's easier than ever for B2B companies to create and implement their own custom loyalty programs, especially with the help of a loyalty program provider. Get in touch with us today if you're ready to begin taking advantage of all the benefits a customized B2B loyalty and incentive program can provide for your brand.