7 Competitive Incentive Ideas

by: Mark Herbert February 25, 2021

In increasingly competitive and disrupted channel markets, having an incentive program is one way of boosting revenue and maintaining positive, lasting relationships with your channel partners. But just like channel management, marketing, and CRM technology must constantly evolve to meet the demands of channel marketing and sales, so too should your incentive technology and strategies. Let’s talk about seven competitive incentive ideas that will keep your program fresh and fruitful.

1. Use performance-tracking technology to assess ROI and improve incentive plans.

Would you launch a marketing campaign or sales promotion with no way to track its success at the end? Your incentive program is a marketing tool, in essence, and you shouldn’t run it without a goal in mind and the means to measure progress toward that goal. You should use performance-tracking technologies to determine how effectively your program reaches its goals.When you have accurate data about your program’s performance, you can identify obstacles to remove, opportunities to seize, and make your program increasingly more effective over time. This ability to make your program more responsive to your unique audience is one of the most advantageous competitive incentive ideas you can apply.

2. Make your incentive program mobile-friendly.

Mobile accessibility is increasingly vital for incentive programs and virtually every other online interaction with your customers. With over 50% of your web traffic coming from mobile, you’re putting customer engagement at risk if your incentive programs and marketing aren’t mobile-friendly.The benefits of a mobile incentive program go beyond customer engagement and experience. With mobile capabilities, you can get data from your incentive program When you’re running sales promotion technology, for example, your program participants can use mobile functionality to upload receipts, invoices, warranty registrations, and other verifying documents directly to your program, from wherever they are.

3. Expand your incentive plans beyond just sales.

While directly rewarding your channel partners for sales will help boost revenue, it’s not the only way incentives can help you grow your business. Flexible online incentive technology allows you to distribute rewards for more than just direct sales. For example:

  • Reward incentive program participants for submitting feedback surveys.
  • Reward dealers, distributors, and sales reps for completing training courses, earning certifications, or passing product education quizzes.
  • Offer daily trivia rewards to give your participants reason to revisit your site again and again, boosting engagement and keeping your audience informed.
  • Back up your customer referral program with rewards for referring new business.

You can use rewards to trigger behaviors that help your business indirectly but significantly. After all, your brand isn’t defined by what your tagline says, but the interactions with your employees, channel partners, and customers have with you.

4. Tailor incentive payouts and promotions to specific segments of your sales channel.

Segmenting your incentive program audience is especially useful for B2B companies who have channel partners from different organizations or regions. Your resellers may sell different product lines and have different levels of sales performance. Maybe you’d like to reward your MVP channel partners with attention-grabbing items, while still allowing mid-level channel partners to get in on the fun by offering them lower value rewards. In addition to offering specific reward pay-outs according to participating group, segmentation allows you to run different product promotions to different channel partners. Exclusively promote low emissivity windows in a state with higher tax breaks for energy efficiency, for example.

With flexible software and the right channel data, you can develop laser-focused, creative, and competitive incentive ideas that constantly boost the program’s effectiveness and ROI.

5. Enliven your incentive program with gamification.

Adding gaming elements to your incentive program is a great way to tap into your participants’ pleasure center and keep them engaged in the program. Gamification comes in many forms that can be applied to incentive programs. Here are a few ideas:

  • Offer reward-earning games upon participant enrollment. With a round of Spin-to-Win or Scratch Off, you can kick-off participants’ experience with boost, creating investment in the program right off the bat.
  • Spark some friendly competition among your salespeople or channel partners by displaying a leaderboard that recognizes top reward-earners.
  • Distribute reward points to participants for passing quizzes or answering daily trivia questions.

Gamification is a prime opportunity to amp up the excitement of your incentive program, making it a shared source of fun that brings you and your channel partners together.

6. Enable CRM integration.

Acquiring channel data is a challenge on its own. On top of that, the sheer amount of channel technology pouring onto market comes with its own challenge: gathering the channel data from all those programs into a single, complete customer profile. Use incentive software with CRM integration capabilities so you can sync customer data with the customer’s master profile. You can add reward redemption, program activity, and sales promotion data from your incentive program to your CRM, while using CRM intelligence to inform your incentive plans.

Competitive markets, tech-driven solutions, and changing customer expectations have made it necessary to align all channel marketing and sales strategies. You’ll gain a competitive edge by treating your incentive program like a true sales and marketing tool that supports and enables the rest of your data and objectives.

7. Offer unique rewards.

Rewards are the most important piece of your incentive program, especially from the participants’ perspective. Therefore, one of the best competitive incentive ideas is to offer extraordinary rewards. Highly individualized, unique rewards can mark an unforgettable experience that goes far beyond a reward’s material value. At Incentive Solutions, for example, we’ve arranged the redemption of items like in-ground pools, home renovations, college tuition, and pick-up trucks. For your highest earners and hardest workers, unique rewards show your appreciation like nothing else can, and demonstrate how much value you place in lasting customer relationships.

With these competitive incentive ideas, you can keep your program exciting and interesting to the program’s participants. Not only that, but you’ll keep your incentive platform agile enough to respond to the growing, changing, and unpredictable needs of your sales channel. Happy strategizing!


About Mark Herbert

Mark Herbert is President and CEO of Incentive Solutions. He has more than 30 years of experience overseeing business operations within the incentives industry, helping companies increase channel sales, build customer loyalty, motivate employees, and grow their business.