Channel incentive programs are a huge benefit to B2B businesses. They help forge stronger partnerships, increase sales and growth, drive better product knowledge and brand awareness, and help build greater loyalty. If you're starting a new channel incentive program, you want to make sure it starts off right.
Here are some tips to unlocking the full potential of your channel incentive program, from program launch and onward.
1. Make Your Onboarding Process Detailed and Helpful
Your program onboarding experience will be the first experience most users have with your new program and possibly even your entire organization. Onboarding is a crucial first interaction for any new type of user program: it introduces the customer to the program, gives them a roadmap of what's to come, and provides a foundation for what they can expect to get out of the experience. The goal is for them to have a positive experience with your program and your brand right off the bat, as this will most likely set the tone for how they plan to interact with the program in the future.
There are a number of steps to take to ensure your channel incentive program onboarding experience is clear and well-executed. Prepare core need-to-know and good-to-know information and documentation in advance, such as:
- Terms and Conditions
- Program Overview
- How To Earn Points & Redeem Rewards
- Explanation of Member Tiers or Hierarchies
- Frequently Asked Questions
Other information that should be made available is Help or customer service solutions, such as 24/7 support lines, self-service options, access to peer support channels, and so on.
2. Understand It May Take Time To See Results
A critical factor to understand when it comes to channel incentive programs or B2B loyalty programs is that dramatic results like high program ROI will not happen immediately, nor within the first 6 months. In some cases, full program maturity can take up a year. This is because the initial focus after launch is attracting members to the program. The first phase is where organizational efforts go towards promoting the program and increasing program enrollments among their audiences, channel partners, and so on. Due to the nature of B2B industries and long sales cycles, users typically have little reason to interact with the program every day, at least in the beginning. This makes it more important to focus only on driving enrollments versus a two-part strategy of trying to increase member enrollments and member engagement. As time goes by, more users enroll and participate in the program, more user and activity data is collected, and more of the focus expands to engaging and retaining customers in the program.
3. Focus On The Right Engagement
Once your program has passed the initial awareness and enrollment stage and you’ve started to see member activity and use increase, it’s the time to focus on building program engagement among your audiences. Engagement doesn’t only mean driving activity within your program - it means driving the right activity.
Think about your program goals - what types of behaviors or actions do you want your members to increase? Do you want to drive more cross-category spending or increase basket sizes within particular customer segments? Are you looking to increase product or skills training and education among your partners? Your channel incentive program can help you achieve these goals by increasing member engagement. Gamification and interactive leaderboards can help motivate desired behaviors, while features such as triggered point bonuses, rewards, or other incentives can drive sales.
Setting your channel incentive program up for success right at the beginning can help make all the difference as the program matures and grows over time. If you're looking for a strategic partner who can help you build your perfect channel incentive program, get in touch with us today!