Friday, March 9, 2012

Treat Your Company-level Incentives like a Loyalty Rewards Program

You’ve probably got a wallet full of rewards cards tracking points for your favorite coffee, clothing, book purchases and more.  The concept of offering rewards in exchange for business isn’t new.  But most manufacturers are not running their company-level incentives program like their loyalty programs (rewards to individuals)..

The goals of individual and company level incentives programs are similar when simplified: drive incremental channel revenue and profit, speed new product adoption, establish competitive differentiation and increase loyalty.

The most obvious benefit of integrating company and individual incentives is the increased efficiency in programmatic operation.  An integrated approach also enables you to align global strategy across multiple regions while still allowing for local implementation.

My favorite benefit of an integrated approach is the ability to take advantage of a single, common points-based currency across your incentive programs.  Programs that are points-base enable earning for behaviors that are valuable other than direct sales.  For example:

·         Filling out a complete partner profile
·         Attending lunch and learns
·         Attending events
·         Training and certification completion
·         Registering deals

Programs that are points-based also enable a company to spend on non-cash rewards that add value, including:

·         Pre-packaged marketing plays
·      Demo units
·         Training and certification
·         Marketing support, and
·         Travel and gas vouchers

Cash has limited value promoting loyalty at the company level.  For example, it isn’t always used to promote your products over those of a competitor.  And normally, cash is used to pay for operations costs, not in generating more demand for you products and solutions.  The bottom line is that cash – and the source of it – is often forgotten after the money is spent.

A single points-based incentives program – one that combines your individual rewards program with your company-level incentives program – offers unparalleled benefits to both the manufacturer and partner. 

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