Planning a Successful Distributor and Dealer Loyalty Rewards Programs

Written by on July 5, 2011

Distributor and dealer loyalty programs reward sales people for selling products or services from a particular vendor. They can assist manufacturers in creating brand awareness and loyalty among the people who sell to customers. Since manufacturers often do not have direct contact with the people selling their products, planning a program with the potential to be successful can be overwhelming. I have helped to set up five of these programs so far this year and have found that there are four best practices that one should incorporate in any distributor or dealer loyalty program.

Getting Sales People Interested and Set up with Accounts
As you set up the parameters and guidelines of your loyalty reward program, you should be able to work with areward program provider who can assist in the training of your distributors. I feel that setting up at least two different occasions to go over the reward program and cover what sales people will experience online is essential. Of the loyalty rewards programs I have assisted in setting up, manufacturers are depending on distributors to get sales people interested in the program and set up with personal rewards accounts. The first step in getting this accomplished is making sure that distributors are familiar with the reward program so that they can present it to sales people.

As your distributors meet with dealers and sales people, supplements can be created to assist them incommunicating the program and asking people to participate. I have assisted in creating a flyer with the website link and quick information about the program. The flyer also featured pictures of the name brand reward merchandise that participants could earn so that it was very eye-catching. Distributors were then able to hand out the flyers before the program started. As distributors present the program, they will also need to ask for the most basic information needed to get personal rewards accounts set up for sales people. The more information you ask people for, it seems the less interested they become in signing up. I recommend limiting the information to the person’s name and work or personal email address. Your distributors should be able to collect this information and add which dealer each person is affiliated with before sending to you or your reward provider to have accounts created.

Communicating the Loyalty Rewards Program
Distributors and dealers are often wide spread and email or electronic communications are ideal for loyalty rewards programs. Once an account is created, you can send out email communications and be sure to always include the website link and his or her personal login information. If your company or distributors have an e-newsletter published regularly, then you can include results of a short term promotion and reward program updates within the newsletter. Depending on how your organization is set up, you may want to consider some printed materials such as posters to be displayed in break rooms or flyers to hand out at sales meetings. Sometimes I will prepare materials for dealers to print out so there are no shipping and printing charges.

Planning Special Contests and Promotions
Distributor and dealer loyalty rewards programs are often set up so that when a person sells model X, he or she earns Y points. In addition to these point-earning opportunities, you can also run short term contests or promotions. One of my clients features an item of the month. The item is featured on the rewards website along with product information to help educate sales people on the features and benefits of the item. Similarly, a company could also feature a bundle of the month so that people can earn points for selling something with an accompanying accessory. Another way to structure an item of the month promotion is to assign quotas to items so that people earn loyalty rewards only after selling a certain number of the featured item.

A different client of mine gives incentives for a person’s first qualified sale. An additional number of bonus rewards are automatically added for the first qualified sale to encourage people to become familiar with the brand if they are not and make sales people more comfortable selling the manufacturer’s products.

While in a conference call this morning, I was speaking with a potential client about adding videos to educate sales people and increase product knowledge. The manufacturer wanted sales people to watch the short video and then answer three to five questions about the product. If a person got a perfect score on the product knowledge quiz, then he or she would earn a special bonus reward.

Although these were all examples where the individual is rewarded, I have also put together rewards programs in which an entire team receives a bonus if everyone’s sales quotas are met for the month. It is vital that you communicate a short term promotion or contest by sending emails and including the loyalty program goals on the rewards website.

Setting up Your Expectations
If you have taken these tips into consideration when planning your loyalty rewards program, you should start to see people logging into the rewards website right away. Since these rewards programs tend to take place over the course of a year, you should start seeing results within the first month or so. As people earn points, you will be selling more products and services as a result. Dealer and distributor loyalty reward programs are structured so that the only way you should be spending money is if people are selling more of your products or services. By partnering with an experienced reward program provider, you should receive special consultations and advice to help ensure your program meets all of your expectations.

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