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The best strategies for B2B incentive programmes

The best strategies for B2B incentive programmes

Whilst we know B2B incentive programmes can deliver results, they can be time consuming and even daunting to implement. What will work for my business? How much will it cost? What planning should I do? In the following piece, I explain some the strategies and approaches you can take for your business to deliver a successful B2B sales incentive.

What are B2B incentive programmes?

What is a B2B incentive? As we have covered previously, a B2B sales incentive is a structured motivational tool, designed to inspire salespeople to reach, and ideally, exceed their sales targets within a specific time period. There are many types of sales incentive, from short sharp single sales day blitzes to longer, more structured annual incentives.  The best B2B incentive for your business will be determined by a number of factors such as what are you selling, who is doing the selling for you and when they are doing it. Other factors to consider are your business objectives. Do you want to increase market share through increased sale volumes? Or perhaps you want salespeople to upsell a higher quality product or improve the sales process itself. Understanding your business and its objectives, will help determine the right sales incentive.

What type of B2B incentive fits your business?

Firstly, think about your what you are selling. A low cost product or ‘widget’ would rely on a volume sales incentive, requiring salespeople to sell large quantities, perhaps meeting a minimum target before they are rewarded. A high cost or big ticket product would more likely focus on the quality of the sale. With a larger cost and more margin on these products, you could consider a per qualifying item sold reward. If wanting to encourage the upsell to a higher value product, allocate a slightly larger reward value to benefit the salesperson.

For technology products that would be purchased by early adopters even without a sales incentive, an attach rate incentive will boost revenue in addition to the expected sales volume. After all, why incentivise a sale that is a guaranteed customer purchase anyway? For instance, when a salesperson is selling a games console, the incentive would aim to reward sales sold with an attachment such as a controller, a headset or a game.  This generates more revenue and ensures the salesperson is actively selling to earn their reward.

But what if you are selling a service or even a regulated product? This is where encouraging the right behaviours and the correct sales process to be followed should be incentivised. We work with a brand who it is vital that the correct paperwork is completed with any sale made. Therefore, if the paperwork is not completed properly, salespeople do not receive recognition for their sale within the incentive.

Understanding your route to market and audience is another key factor. Do you sell through retail or distribution? Are the salespeople already high earners and if so, what will motivate them.

The incentive period is also important. If you are running an incentive to disrupt a competitor’s activity or to shift end of line stock, you will need a short sharp incentive period to create the maximum impact quickly. Whereas a more consultative sell with a longer sales cycle will require a longer incentive period to enable salespeople to affect and then benefit from the sale.

The benefits of B2B incentive programmes

A properly implemented B2B sales incentive programme can bring many benefits to your business. Primarily those benefits will be the result of achieving your initial objectives, be it increased market share, higher sales volumes, better sales processes or any of the examples discussed earlier, ultimately contributing to and increasing your business revenue and bottom line. Metrics should be put in place to measure the performance of the programme, especially with quantifiable or hard measures related to sales. Not only will this demonstrate the benefits of the incentive and the additional revenue and profit but it will also help to illustrate the return on investment. After all, a sales incentive should always be self-funding at the very least.

There are also softer measures and benefits a successful sales incentive will bring related to loyalty, people and your business or brand that go beyond the sale itself. A B2B sales incentive can make salespeople more loyal to your brand – they can feel more valued as they can clearly see your business is investing time and of course rewards into their performance. This effect can last beyond the incentive period, as an individual will associate the positive outcome of the incentive with your business and brand, resulting in a favourable inclination to choose (or sell) your brand in the future. How long this effect lasts can vary depending upon the experience and reward for their achievement. The tangible value of the outcome and also the individual’s perceived value of the outcome or reward. However, we will save reward strategies and the more effective non-cash versus cash reward for another day.

So how much budget should you allocate to B2B sales incentive and what should you expect in return? This will depend on a number of factors including all those previously discussed around your objectives, your sales value and expected revenue, and whether the budget comes from your sales or marketing pot. Effective planning can help define your objectives, the B2B sales incentive and how to plan and allocate an effective budget for delivery. Thankfully, expert help is on hand for you and your business no matter what stage of the process you are at.

B2B sales incentive planning with FMI

Planning and implementing a B2B sales incentive can seem a daunting prospect, especially from a financial point of view as your business will be investing time and money without necessarily knowing the results. At FMI Agency, we can help and support at every stage of your sales incentive journey. Whether it’s advice on what to do, support in designing a programme and structure or implementing your strategy and activating your sales incentive, we have the experience and knowledge to help every step of the way. We follow a structured process to ensure the approach we take provides you with the outcome you need.

Discover – a consultative phase when we work with you and your key stakeholders to understand your business and its objectives. Helping you to understand why and if implementing a B2B sales incentive will achieve.

Define – from building your budget to writing the rules and designing your programme, defining the plan, the strategies and the structure of your incentive provides the template to delivering and measuring a successful B2B sales incentive.

Deliver – the phase of implementing your plan and having your sales incentive ready to launch to your audience. Communicating your message, onboarding your salespeople and readying the team for launch.

Engage – activation and on-going delivery of your sales incentive strategy. Managing the programme and monitoring its success during the incentive, to engage salespeople and maximise the opportunity to deliver objectives.

Measure – a critical step so often neglected but vital to understanding the effect of your sales incentive. Measuring performance during the incentive can deliver better results whether reacting to something not working or capitalising on a success. Post incentive analysis will measure effectiveness and ROI, providing learning ready for next time.

I hope this guide has been useful for you. Whether you are looking to start from scratch or have a plan ready for delivery, contact myself and the FMI team as we would love to make your B2B sales incentive a success.


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