by Paul Hebert

How do you capture the attention of the vast “middle” of your sales and channel distribution audience? The ones that don’t earn the trips to Aruba and Hawaii…year after year. Incentive travel experiences are very motivational and help foster loyalty to the host organization, but they only reward a small segment of people.

How do you build a similar emotional connection to the “middle” of the performance bell curve?

Here’s how: Start thinking of incentive rewards as your own branded currency.

Loyalty programs are everywhere. You are probably signed up for programs you completely forgot about because they don’t offer any value or only care when you buy something. Airlines offer miles, credit cards offer points, stores offer rewards…. but most of them miss the mark by only rewarding transactional exchanges. They are missing out on creating deeper connections with their customers through engaging interactions. Research by Capgemini Consulting found that “Only 16% of loyalty programs reward customers for activities, such as taking online surveys, rating and reviewing establishments or referring friends to the program.”

You can do this differently and build meaningful relationships with your channel or salesforce by thinking of rewards as your own branded currency. When you start to leverage marketing programs with this award “cryptocurrency” if you will – good for trade within your brand’s realm – it changes what and you can reward.

Design your channel partner marketing program with diverse criteria options. This allows you the flexibility to reward those who work hard and perform the daily actions that lead to success. You can reward the brand advocates that go to bat for you day-in-and-day-out and help them reach their own goals – instead of constantly comparing them to others.

Reward them by:

  • Setting smaller goals
  • Setting behavior-based goals
  • Challenging them to connect with your brand through social media or training events

When you make the leap to a branded cryptocurrency mindset, you can reward anything you want. First sale of the year! Last sale of the month! Best shared sales tip with the team! Now you have a way to connect all the various behaviors that you know drive performance to something you control (rewards).

And when you own the currency you can manage the redemption process. You can link the currency to personally chosen awards that create memories for participants; like travel experiences or a new TV to upgrade family movie night. You can even provide opportunities to enhance their career like training outside normal requirements, an upgraded company car, specialized computer equipment – maybe even a parking spot closer to the door.

Your channel partner marketing initiatives will become more successful once you start thinking about incentive program rewards as your own branded currency. Get your channel partners on board with your vision for growth and reward their loyalty along the way! The possibilities are endless and the opportunities to offer rewards are only limited by your imagination.

About the Author: Paul Hebert is Vice President of Individual Performance Strategy at Creative Group, writer, speaker and consultant. Paul focuses on influencing behaviors and driving business results through employees, channel partners and consumers.

Let’s talk about creating your branded currency.

 

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