In our age of easily-accessible information, customers are highly sensitive to price changes and research the competition thoroughly. In this economic reality, HVACR distribution companies must utilize new business strategies to thrive.
By deploying the best, new reward program technology, you can work with, instead of against, the rise of mobile proliferation and abundant online information. Increasing profits and establishing differentiation in a mature market aren’t impossible tasks, they simply require distribution businesses to rethink their processes. Fortunately, new connective reward program technology creates new marketing opportunities. If you can capture audiences’ attention through engaging reward program tools, you can make your products stand out, ensuring mind share and loyalty.
Connective reward programs that use new technologies are one of the best and most diverse tools HVACR distribution industry leaders can use to achieve multiple objectives, including nurturing channel partner relationships and differentiating their distributorships in the eyes of contractors.
Consider this example: Three distributors are selling the same widget, but very little distinguishes their products from the others on the market. Company A has no incentive program for contractors. Company B has an incentive program, but it’s cumbersome and slow to reward contractors. Company C has an effective incentive program that rewards contractors on the spot. Contractors are likely to stick with Company C because they are able to immediately verify and receive a reward.
MOBILE TECHNOLOGY CREATES INSTANT CONNECTIVITY
In the past, reward programs were complicated, slow, and a burden for both administrators and participants. Rewarding participants was an administratively intensive process with rewards that, by the time they reached their recipients, had lost their instant gratification luster. Today’s advanced and continually progressing connective reward technology makes reward programs much better tools to implement and operate. The easier and faster to use reward programs are, the more profitable they are for businesses. As behavioral psychologists noted in an article published on National Center for Biotechnology Information, “the subjective value of a reward decreases with increasing delay to its receipt.”
Where there were once hefty training manuals and day-long training sessions, there are now online training programs that participants can access on their phones during breaks. Arduous sales claim verification processes have been replaced by scanning and texting smartphone photos of UPCs, invoices, and warranty registrations, which can be uploaded instantly to receive immediate rewards. Mobile technology allows companies to execute reward programs that are engaging for participants and relevant to their smartphone-centric lives. Luke Kreitner, vice president of Loyaltyworks, says, “We live in a ‘mobile-first’ world. Failure to adapt is risky business – leaving the door open for your competitors to steal markets because they’ve made it easier to do business.”
USE REWARDS PROGRAMS TO ENHANCE CUSTOMER DATA
In its “State of B2B Marketing Data” report, Dun & Bradstreet noted that more than 71 percent of marketing databases suffered from inaccuracies or incompleteness. Because personalization and segmentation are so important in today’s marketing efforts, investing in marketing that’s based on bad customer data is akin to building a house on a Swiss cheese foundation.
The speed and convenience of a mobile reward program can motivate sales reps to submit more invoices, warranty registrations, and other customer information. On the administrative end, connective reward system tools allow program owners and managers to easily analyze their data. With better, more up-to-date data, businesses can develop more effective sales and marketing strategies.
MODULAR ADD-ONS OFFER FLEXIBILITY
Every HVACR distribution business will have different uses for a reward or incentive program. Some will want to bring out their salespeople’s competitive natures, motivate employees in customer service with recognition programs, or increase customer loyalty and customer retention. Others want to work more closely with sales channel partners to differentiate product and motivate them to push out more of their brand’s new and high-margin products.
Whatever the incentive objectives are, the best way to reach people is with simple and specific targets. With an online reward program that offers various module options (for example, an online training quiz module, a social media recognition module, or a leaderboard module), you can pick and choose features to build a configurable reward system that responds to your unique challenges. This plug-and-play reward system allows you to purchase only the features you need, when you need them.
FOUR STEPS TO SUCCESS
While there are many considerations in designing an effective incentive programs, following these four fundamental guidelines will lead you toward success:
1. Make sure rules, rewards, and the process are immediately understood. If it is complicated, unattainable, and a hassle, the program will fail. Change the rules as you need to make the program more effective.
2. Ask participants their opinions. The quickest way to make participants feel more attached to a loyalty program is to routinely train and survey them via new smartphone technology or gamification. Gamification is the new hip way to get people involved and a great way to maximize your budget.
3. Rewards must be immediate, attractive, and public. The time it takes to get rewarded and the amount of reward are related. If you reduce the time of recognition, you can reduce the reward and have a greater outcome. The new workforce demands choice and public recognition. Don’t forget Gens X and Y now make up two-thirds of the American workforce.
4. Communication early and often in any and every way you can. For example, on-demand available postcards, emails, text, and mobile app pushes should be created to the demographics of the recipient. Be thinking about two-communication, surveys, referrals, and tutorials. Keep the mantra what’s in it for them in everything you do.
To conclude, mobile and modular technology have transformed reward programs from sluggish endeavors with questionable benefits into powerful, convenient, multifunctional tools that can help distribution businesses enhance marketing, increase sales, and establish product differentiation.