Indirect sales reps value a good sales incentive program as it shows appreciation for their loyalty to the brand and creates an interactive experience in which to participate. However, the difference between a base-level and a sophisticated program could be impacting your bottom-line results.
A needlessly complex incentive program can add headaches and dysfunction whereas a program with strategically-used, logic-based components—like personalization, system rules, custom conditions, and payout levels—can propel the user experience and results of the program from good to great.
Here are some questions to ask to help determine whether your partner program is truly smart and getting the most sales bang for your reward buck.
Does your program enable advanced segmentation?
Personalizing your message to a target audience creates a more relevant and effective experience. The same is true for sales promotions. Different categories of your audience often require unique and personalized treatments and that relevancy often translates to results.
When you can easily filter your audience into defined groups based on attributes and behaviors, and then leverage the factors of those groups to do things like build and run relevant audience-targeted contests, content, communications, and reward levels, you will have a more meaningful experience and better outcome.
Leveraging advanced segmentation not only allows you to cater your messaging to each participant group but most importantly your contest metrics and goals will yield your true return on program investment. Then participants will be paid for attainable goals assuring engagement and loyalty, while your budget will be more closely tied to sales goals than arbitrary payouts.
Is the program automated?
Systems that allow data collection, creating audiences, spinning up of promotions and calculations for payouts seem smart. But it’s only truly smart if these processes are automated by the system and not manual work behind the scenes.
How do you know the difference? Can these elements be self-managed, or are they submitted to the vendor to handle? If it’s the former, you likely have an automated system. You work quickly and efficiently with no added costs. If it’s the latter, there’s likely manual work being done behind the scenes to satisfy these tasks – which means wait times for you and your participants, room for error, and often added costs.
All companies purchase software for the purpose of making life easier. If your entire program is not automated, then it doesn’t fit the software forte.
Without automation, among many other repercussions, there are two common effects on users that you’d want to avoid:
- Participants become apathetic. If someone isn’t able to track their success or be paid as quickly for earned rewards, the program’s engagement may taper off.
- Participants become frustrated. If your program has different goals and campaigns running for different populations, a non-automated system could result in huge time gaps and most likely deter you from advancing the sophistication of your program overall.
How well can you track performance?
There’s a myriad of valuable data ruminating in your network right now. Are you able to see it? Filter it? Visually report it? Learn from it?
While basic sales and payout reporting can show how many dollars are flowing through the program, this is raw information that could just as easily be seen using Excel—it’s also way cheaper. With smart programs, you can delve deeper into reporting and analytics and bridge comparisons between sales, partners, and customers which you (and Excel) typically couldn’t do otherwise.
Your reporting should be eliminating guesswork when it comes to the promotions that you’re running. Those decisions should be driven by the information that the program is showing you it needs to improve.
If you can’t drill down in your results to display clear reports within specific regions, partners or partner types, divisions, SKUs, promotions, and timelines, then you may be missing a ton of highly-actionable insights that may not get acted on.
Answering these three questions will help you determine whether your partner program is truly smart and getting the most sales bang for your reward buck. If you need help with this, please reach out.
(This blog post is an excerpt from our technology partner WorkStride’s publication Are You Running a Smart Channel Incentive Program. If you’d like to read the complete eBook, let us know, and we can get you a copy.)