5 Tips for High Performance in Points-Based B2B Customer Incentive Programs

The beauty of a points-based B2B customer incentive program is its adaptability in implementation. With a solid understanding of the purpose, the participants, and the desired outcome, a program’s design can be ensured to meet nearly any target, but this requires strategic understanding and regular reviews to make sure your plans are still on the right track.

We could go on for hours about the best ways to guarantee high performance in your points-based customer incentive program, but we also understand strategy doesn’t get everyone’s motor running the way it does for us! So, we’ve narrowed it down to the five most important things to consider.

Without further ado, here are our top 5 tips for high-performing B2B customer incentive programs!

1. Purpose: What are we doing?

The most important step that our team has put first is, unsurprisingly, the program’s purpose. Not only does this need to exist before beginning on program design, it’s also essential to keep in mind as we go on.

Defining which pain point your brand is interested in solving makes a lot of sense for the creation. You’ll need to ascertain the issues facing your business (customer retention, share of wallet, sales growth, customer engagement, etc.) and work out the best way that your program can help solve them.

Some of the important questions to ask yourself are:

  • What is the role of your customer incentive program?
  • What are the key drivers for the program?
  • Are the criteria you’ve set out easily understood by all stakeholders?
  • Have you set measures to track those criteria?

That last question is very important, as well. Answering the questions provides insight into intent that informs design, but intent without support and review doesn’t do much in the world of business. That’s why you need to have data to support your program!

2. Data: How is it working?

To support ongoing review of your program’s progress, and be able to either confirm your hypothesis or make alterations to get closer to the preferred outcome, every successful points-based program needs to have clear and understandable data coming in.

There are three components to having quality data to use, and those come down to accuracy, granularity, and frequency.

Accuracy is obvious – if your data isn’t accurate, how can you confirm that the program is working? It also leads to trust, which is important in any incentive-based relationship. Customers need to know they’re receiving the right amount of points with their purchase.

Granularity ensures detail in the data. By having more information on each purchase, you can begin to develop more options in delivering a variable reward yield, providing a better understanding of the rewards you have (and will be) giving away to active participants.

Frequency may seem less important after the last two, but this is an integral point to connect with how and when customers will make purchases – and therefore, redeem points for rewards within the program. By using the frequency of data to anticipate active times in the program, you can utilise communications to boost the engagement of users, regardless of their activity within the program itself.

This brings us to our next point…

3. Engagement – How do people respond to it?

Engagement is a huge part of a points program, from both expected demand and creating an emotional response, which is a sure-fire way to boost participant’s connection and desire to perform within the program itself.

Keeping on top of how your participants engage with the program, and what they specifically engage with, is important for the ongoing review of your program. For example, are there specific times of year when your reward redemption increases? What rewards fly off the shelves and which ones seem to sit there collecting dust?

Going together with your data, engagement allows you to tweak the program as it continues, which helps optimise ongoing performance and use the data that you gather to help find specific ways to engage the participants in a symbiotic relationship.

4. Personalisation – How does your program respond to people?

I’m sure you could’ve expected this one – the perfect combination of engagement and data should always lead to personalisation. This sets B2B customer incentive programs apart from their B2C counterparts – a B2B program is generally more intimate and relationship-based, as opposed to the basic value-gathering draws of a B2C program.

By drawing on the relationship between the customer and the sales team, your program can lean on gathered information to help connect participants with engaging draws that they may miss for a variety of reasons – falling out of the program, finding value in other products, etc. By personalising your communications, you can highlight must-have rewards or bonus point offers which can re-engage businesses to fall at the time they’d ordinarily be entering the purchasing cycle once again, keeping your brand front-of-mind.

5. Rewards – the draw behind it all!

Finally – it’s going to sound obvious, but there’s more complexity to considering rewards for your program than you may first consider. Your rewards are the additional value that you effectively add to each purchase, but not every customer is the same.
Your data and engagement will illustrate the popular rewards, and your personalisation through these will be able to drive customers to engage with the program with the intent of your original purchase. It is important to have a wide range of rewards, to ensure that each participant can interact with the program the way they want to.

If a participant makes smaller purchases, they’ll be locked out of the program if your variety is exclusive to large rewards. This will reduce their engagement, which reduces both sales and data coming in. If it is just small rewards, those who make larger purchases will likely lose interest and find less value to draw from your program, causing a flow-on effect of reduction in engagement.

Balancing this with a range of rewards from small to large in point value will keep your participants engaged, particularly when supplemented by personalised communications that target each customer persona, segmented into their buying style cohort.

Now, these are only some of the important considerations to make when designing your program, but these are some of the first that come to mind. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive and strategic overview of a customer incentive program (or for your customer incentive program), reach out today and book a consultation. Our program design experts will be glad to work with you to help maximise the return from your program, and give you pointers to get the most out of it!

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