How to Increase Sales with Distributors
Not all online loyalty programs are made equally, and most are tailored to employee-based incentives. Anyone can throw up an online loyalty program and hope to increases sales with distributors, but what is most important is how you run it and the technology you use so you do meet sales goals.
Communicate with distributors often.
Channel management isn’t sexy, but without it your B2B loyalty program could crash and burn. Keep your channel management afloat with effective communication. Communicating with your distributors shouldn’t only be an occasional call after a sharp decrease in sales and revenue. You should have an ongoing communication plan tied to your loyalty technology that can inform distributors of specific goals, promotions, and market insights when and where they prefer. Here’s how you do it:
- Set specific goals for your distributors. If it doesn’t get measured, it doesn’t get done. Often manufacturers complain about poor distributor performance, not realizing that their channel partners run off vague goals to sell more product. Drop the complaints and set specific, targeted sales goals that align with your B2B loyalty program to increase sales with distributors.
- Exchange market insights. Distributors are busy getting your product to the right customer – or, so you hope. Arm distributors with the latest product knowledge, so that they have a clearer idea of how to sell to the right customers. With each sale, distributors gain more insight into sales and marketing best practices for the end-user – all of which could be passed on to you.
- Talk with your distributors where they prefer. Your distributors need to hear from you, but you need a way to do it efficiently. Kick start effective communication both you and your distributors can appreciate with automation. How? When distributors enroll into your loyalty program, ask for their preferred method of communication and send timely and insightful information their way. Doing so increases your chances of being heard and their ability to increase sales.
Study the distributor’s performance.
Identify your top, core, and bottom performers using the 20/60/20 theory. Why? Placing distributors into measurable tiers gives you the tools to build a targeted, personalized loyalty program around each distributor’s strengths. The best B2B loyalty technology schedules sales promotions and tracks channel partner successes in an easily-accessible, CRM-integrated platform.
Tracking performance maximizes channel partner sales, especially when your loyalty program makes it both simple and fun to input sales and redeem points immediately. While distributors shop your rewards catalog, collect essential customer and sales data on the backend. Continue collecting valuable market data to better manage your relationship with distributor and customers alike.
Add value with intelligence, not more services.
If you want sell products that are more cost-effective and value-laden than your competitors, start with the data – not extra services. The last thing end-customers want is more complexity in an already complex B2B environment and services that are more window dressing than a true value to their business.
To address end-user pain points the smart way, focus on quality. With good data and communication, you can add value strategically. Study distributor purchase histories and listen to their feedback, so that you can make the changes that customers actually want to see.
Train up your distributor’s salespeople the right way.
Don’t assume your distributors know what separates your product from a competitor’s, or that they’ll remember the moment it’s time to sell. Instead, let your data lead you to critical distributor and customer knowledge gaps. Once you’re aware of where your distributors and customers lack knowledge about your brand or products, use incentivized training to catch them up.
The easiest way to refresh channel partner and end-user product knowledge is to do so through your B2B loyalty program. Encourage product knowledge fluency and more effective selling with training platforms (i.e. Learn and Earn) that reward learners for completing surveys or earning certificates. Distributors and end-users are busy, so incentives make taking that survey or finishing that course worth your distributor’s or end-customer’s while.
Make it worth their while.
All the data, training and communication in the world won’t help you increase sales with distributors if they just don’t want to sell your product. Maybe it’s more cost- or time-efficient for them to sell the competition’s products and services. Sound familiar? It’s time to make your company more appealing by finding ways to make doing business with you more convenient, beneficial, and rewarding.
Wowing customers with customer service doesn’t build loyalty. It’s addressing customers’ issues quickly and making their experiences easier that’s the best way to increase B2B customer retention. For manufacturers, that’s being convenient and consistently delivering on basic promises that support your channel partners. According to a Harvard Business Review article, companies can assure brand loyalty from their customers or channel partners by:
- Removing obstacles and anticipating future issues: When distributors give feedback, develop an ear for what their concern means now, in the future, and address both. The best way to truly be responsive to sales channel partners is to establish a fast and reliable multi-channel communication strategy.
- Addressing the emotional side of customer interactions: Points and rewards motivate where commissions and other monetary “rewards” become an expected part of doing business with you. After all, cash rewards pay bills, and paying bills isn’t very memorable or exciting. Give your distributors what your competitors can’t or won’t – buyer perks.
There are perks to doing business with you, so let your distributors know.
Sales promotions with loyalty rewards can give your company just the edge it needs to increase sales with distributors, motivate channel partners and gain greater marketshare. Here’s just a few ways you can make your B2B loyalty technology work best for you and your channel partners:
|Specifically targeted promotions||Did you know that people are 15% more likely to respond to a message’s call to action when they are labeled as part of a group?* Create promotions just for one branch or region of distributors, and single them out for reward-earning opportunities. This is easy to accomplish with flexible promotion scheduling and tracking capabilities.|
|Double up on rewards||Offer rewards on top of rewards! Don’t be afraid to reward participants 2X or 3X bonus points for exceeding sales expectations. To keep payout fair and fun, reward above-and-beyond behavior with above-and-beyond points.|
|Gamification||Who’s more fun: you or your competitor? The simple act of making it more fun to do business with you than the other guys can be a huge advantage. Use Spin to Win and Scratch Off games to excite participants and increase sales with distributors.|
|Bonus points on enrollment||Take the edge off enrolling by giving them points to do so. Getting the ball rolling now turns new participants into dedicated spokespersons for your platform.|
B2B loyalty software increases distributor sales when set up with the right tools and technology. At Loyaltyworks, we understand even the most complex loyalty strategy. We are experts in the incentives industry, and we know how to turn a plan into a highly customized incentive program. Ready to make your loyalty strategy a reality, to increase sales? Contact us today for more information about distribution channel partner loyalty programs and technology.