Many enterprises face the ongoing challenge of connecting “push” promotions (offered to indirect sales team, resellers, distributors, etc.) to “pull” promotions (offered to consumers or end users). In fact, some of our clients are spending millions of dollars on each side of the business, but not connecting the results between them. Ideally, large companies could have end-to-end insight into how to optimize all of these related programs.
Step 1: Design consumer promotions to collect data
When you rely on your indirect sales channel to push your products to shoppers, the information you have about your end user customers may be incomplete or out of date, making it hard for you to influence their shopping behaviors.
That’s why you should design consumer promotions that allow you to capture their data, while increasing incremental sales through your distribution channels. Here are some starter ideas:
- If your typical consumer purchases “one” of your products at a time, how can you incent a larger purchase of two or three products? For example, if you sell pet pharmaceuticals in monthly prescriptions, consider what type of promotion would persuade the pet owner to buy a three-month supply at one time. How could you offer a richer incentive for purchasing a six-month bundle instead?
- If you sell products infrequently, such as air conditioning filters, you might have customers who only want to replace filters every six months. In this case, your goal would be to incent homeowners — or commercial property owners — to replace these filters more frequently by offering a time-triggered promotion.
Our current research has shown that consumers typically prefer the lowest net-advertised price. Deal-seeking shoppers do compare prices, and are easily swayed by lower prices that can erode your margins. How can you attract more of these customers without losing profits? Offer rebates — or other types of validated rewards — that provide the additional benefit of less than 100% redemption, compared to instant discounts that are given to every consumer, regardless of his or her price sensitivity.
These post-purchase promotions are extremely flexible, and can be offered as rebates, cash-back, gift-with-purchase or buy-something-get-something deals that require:
- Built-in customer CRM opt-in data collection during the redemption process
- More effective cross-selling opportunities based on the original purchase
Step 2: Structure your indirect sales data
The best measurement of program success and sales growth comes from data. It’s essential that you structure the data you collect about your resellers, too. We suggest you start connecting the dots between your channel and consumer promotions with these data basics:
- Collect “store” (e.g., veterinarians or HVAC resellers) and sales associate data with unique IDs printed on the consumer rebate forms
- Identify which B2B and B2C promotions are most popular and effective
- As a bonus, use a simple survey imbedded in the submission process to identify customer satisfaction with the dealer, sales associate and product
With siloed business divisions and disconnected reporting systems, many promotional programs don’t allow much end-to-end insight into all of these factors. That’s why some industries have started to shift to redemption-based models for both B2B and B2C promotions so they can start to establish benchmarks with key data points.
Step 3: Incent your indirect sales channel
When you have front-line representatives (e.g., vet techs or field sales reps) who are actually helping end users choose a product, you need to offer incentives around:
- The key differentiators and advantages of your products
- All of your current in-market, end user promotions
You can easily incent your resellers based on how many of their customers submit rebates. Just make sure your consumer promotions are easy for your resellers to remember, or offer handy “cheat sheets.” You may even want to provide free point-of-sale materials or handouts to encourage consumers to ask about your products. The key to building any successful B2B2C program is aligning with a truly strategic partner that wants to contribute to your success. Look for a company that can offer an integrated solution for all of your promotional programs, including the right experience, technology, rewards and reporting.