Building successful sales incentives programs requires synergy of many elements and there are common principles that weave them all together. One of the elements that weaves through and connects the experience of everyone involved in successful loyalty programs is visibility.
Visibility For Your Brand
Naturally, raising the profile of your brand and its products is the number one driver of all your actions as a marketer, whether you are in channel marketing or any other role. Why then would you pass up any opportunity to make your brand more visible? We certainly believe in this at 360, but it was great to have one of our clients, a distributor of one of the world’s largest electronics brands validate this point for us. His company takes every opportunity in their loyalty programs (in this case, sales spiffs) to make sure that the people receiving the incentive remember who the check-writer is. They pay out their sales spiffs to their channels via a reloadable card branded with the company’s logo. As he says,
“We have a debit card with our logo on it, so every time (sales associates) use that card, it reminds them that they got the money from us.”
Making sure that your brand stays top of mind, even when paying out incentives for sales already completed is a great way to stay top of mind when it is time for more sales to happen.
Life is hectic and retail sales associates (RSAs) have a lot of people and a lot of brands vying for their attention. You can use a branded card, you can make sure that the portal where claims are entered is properly branded and you can brand all communications to the salespeople, but whatever you do: stay visible.
Visibility Into Program Effectiveness
Here is the stuff that really counts, as evidenced by the amount of traffic we still get to our blog post, The 4 W’s Of Spiff Program Management which discusses whether or not spiffs even work. At most of our client companies, there are many people in many roles who all have their own reason to constantly be monitoring channel marketing campaign effectiveness. It is great to see that spiffs or rebates are being paid out because it tells you that your program is being used, but it doesn’t really tell the full story.
When you are setting up any sort of loyalty programs, be it sales spiffs, rebates or others, make sure that the reports you have access to can tell you the following:
- What is the sales lift I am getting from this program? Year-over-year? Month-over-month?
- Am I gaining significant market share? In which marketplaces?
- Am I gaining significant mindshare with the sales force of my channel partners?
- Who are my supporters? Who are my champions? Are there any new stars?
- How fast am I paying out? Can I improve upon this?
- Is my spend versus my sales lift in line with my goals?
- Where should I spend more? Where could I spend less?
Visibility For Your Payees
The RSAs told us this in every town from Newark to LA – “I want to be able to know what’s going on with my spiffs,” but really this is a fundamental of doing business with others. People should not have to worry about whether or not they’re going to get paid – it distracts them from the important work being done, in this case that work refers to selling your goods. While every salesperson we spoke with was ultimately most fixated on doing right by their customer, they appreciate the sales spiffs they are offered by their suppliers and many of them rely on those spiffs for over 70% of their income. You do not want this person wondering whether or not you are keeping your promise to them. Here’s what they want to see:
- How much am I being spiffed and on what items?
- Did you receive my claim?
- Are there any problems with it?
- If so, what are the problems/how can I fix?
- When can I expect my money?
Make sure they have ready access to the answers to these questions and you will have an army of happy, engaged sales partners.
Jason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71, LinkedIn or Google+