Why — and How — Manufacturers Should Think About Incentive Programs

Today’s commercial ecosystems are complex, crisscrossed with intricate relationship webs.

As a manufacturer, you find yourself intertwined in most of them, connected to your customer bases, a host of channel partners — distributors, dealers, resellers, contractors, retailers, and others who help bring their products to market — and your own employees. Channel partners are a particularly vital vein: nearly 70% of more than 10,000 buyers have reportedly purchased offerings through an indirect party.

How can you hope to manage such a broad array of connections effectively, making sure each partner is sufficiently motivated to do their part to help you meet your business objectives?

Oftentimes, a high-quality incentive program is the answer.

Incentive programs use goals and rewards to affect desired partner behavior and realize organizational objectives. For manufacturers, the four most relevant categories are: 

1. Channel partner programs, which reward those that promote and sell your products.

2. B2B e-commerce programs, which reward partners for ordering goods on your site and interacting with you online.

3. Consumer loyalty programs, which reward end-users who purchase your goods and engage with your brand.

4. Employee incentive programs, which reward internal teams for behaviors, from providing timely sales forecasts to closing support tickets quickly, that support business objectives and burnish the company’s image.

With those varied avenues available to you, the first step is deciding who to target, based on your organization’s particular needs and goals. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to think through the following program specifics:

1. Behaviors. What exactly are you aiming to incentivize? This shouldn’t be limited to your ultimate goal (e.g., converting sales). Instead, consider adjacent behaviors that will drive participants toward that objective (e.g., watching training videos or introducing new leads).

2. Targets. Establish ways to define when an objective has been reached by identifying all relevant criteria.

3. Communications. Automate messages to participants around necessary information like eligibility requirements, progress updates, and support requests.

4. Rewards. Determine what is being offered (e.g., points, rebates, market development funds) as each goal is completed.

5. Analytics. Create a process that keeps tabs on the program. The intel you collect — on ROI, spending, most effective rewards — will help you tweak your incentive strategy to best provide the results you want.

Incentives are a powerful tool for maximizing each of your many business relationships. Fielo helps you set up an incentive program tailored to your needs. Interested in learning more? Reach out today.