Competition is stiff in our economy of stagnant, matured B2B markets. At the same time, channel distributors have a world of information literally at their fingertips. They make many important sales decisions quickly and demand fast, convenient interactions with suppliers. Being able to offer your distributors extra value with distribution incentive rewards can make you immediately more appealing than the competition. When you offer your incentive program through an online platform, you gain additional sales tracking tools that allow you to not only boost revenue but feed better, cleaner, and more valuable sales insights into your business.
A distributor incentive program with the following six features will be well on its way to improving sales tracking and strategies:
Goal Tracking and Visualization
Better sales tracking starts with better goal tracking. And better goal tracking starts with great goals. Your goals for you distributor incentive program should be SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
Once you have well thought-out goals in place, online incentive technology can help keep your distributors’ day-to-day activities and thoughts tied to those goals. Integrating your incentive program with your existing company website means that, whenever they visit your site, your logged-in program participants see immediate reminders of sales goals and progress. Visual, personalized cues like avatars, snazzy leaderboards and goal status bars help keep your goal top of mind and meaningful to program participants.
Agile Sales Promotion Scheduling
Incentive technology gives you just the right amount of automation and control of sales promotions so that tracking those promotions is more efficient. Use a sales promotion calendar tool to schedule multiple, simultaneous promotions with targeted participant groups and/or qualifying products. Include only distributors in a particular district, for example, or a newly-released line of high-margin products. Targeted sales promotion strategies help you acquire the data you want about the specific sales efforts that are most important to you.
Digital Sales Data Transfer
With online incentive technology, it’s possible to instantly transfer sales data to the program through mobile devices. Distributors can upload sales claims, warranty registrations and other documentation along with invoice submissions in order to verify claims and earn rewards. The quick exchange of sales data benefits both you and the distributor — the distributor earns immediate rewards do to a faster, more accurate claims verification process, and you collect valuable purchase data you can use in marketing and sales planning.
Open Enrollment Data Capture
Open enrollment technology means that participants can sign up for your incentive program without an email invitation. This helps you capture information about your distribution partners, many of which you have outdated, incorrect, or zero contact info on! They fill out and update their own program profiles and contact information, keeping data clean and sales tracking efficient.
Effective communication is absolutely essential for an incentive program to be successful. Advanced online incentive technology can provide you with multichannel communication plans. With a hub of different communication tools to work with, you can keep pace with multi-generation workforces and their diverse array of communication preferences. Millennials may get excited when they see new texts and push notifications from your program on their smartphones, but maybe Gen Xers or Baby Boomers would rather receive communications from you in their email inbox. Multichannel communication tools allow you to reach participants the way they want to be reached, which engages them and keeps them active in your program. The more they use your program, the more profitable the program is and the more sales data you have to understand your product’s journey through your channel.
Reports and Analytics
Last but in no way least, an online incentive program needs accurate, timely reports and analytics to help you improve sales tracking. The incentive platform should generate data and analytics in real-time as the program runs. Having accurate, immediately available performance data on hand will help you look at sales performance tracking objectively and identify any pain points quickly. You can verify what’s working and what’s not, which allows you to set better goals that directly target areas for improvement.
In today’s tough, data-driven marketplaces, B2B businesses can’t afford blind-spots when it comes to understanding how their product moves through the sales channel. Using incentive programs powered by advanced online technology helps you generate more sales through your distribution channel, along with the additional benefit of streamlining procedures like sales tracking. Better sales tracking leads to a more engaged workforce and more sales data to inform your channel marketing strategies.
Steve Damerow is CEO of Incentive Solutions.