Channel Data Manufacturers and Distributors Need for a Successful Loyalty Program

by: Mark Herbert July 31, 2020

For many manufacturers and distributors, the first thought behind investing in a customer loyalty program very rarely involves the collection of channel data. And rightly so! When our client’s main goal is to gain customer loyalty, they are looking to foster a strong emotional connection to their brand. The driving force behind this emotional connection is to provide meaningful rewards that motivate channel partners to choose their product over a competitor.

The ability for manufacturers and distributors to provide meaningful rewards, however, begins with understanding what their channel partners define as meaningful. Why guess when you can collect partner data to guide your steps?

In order to stay ahead of the competition, businesses must continuously find ways to enhance their loyalty program value. The difference between a loyalty program that provides rewards, and a successful loyalty program that generates ROI, lies in a data-driven approach. Before we jump into the channel data benefits, let’s take a look at the driving force behind channel data collection.

Digital Transformation: The Role of Technology in the Collection of Channel Data

Today’s top customer loyalty program providers have evolved greatly past simply dolling out rewards; they are loyalty software providers helping to collect invaluable partner data and insight. Don’t be fooled- this process didn’t happen over-night, and many B2B companies running a program internally are still bogged down by manual processing.

In an Acumatica study conducted just three years ago, over 84 percent of businesses conducting a sales incentive program relied on Excel spreadsheets for compensation, administration, and reward fulfillment. It shouldn’t come as surprise then, that 59 percent of channel market leaders expressing insufficient visibility into the sales activity they monitor so closely to reward.

Furthermore, the past has shown those utilizing technology to collect channel data sadly letting it go to waste. As Forrester Research’s principal analyst in channel partnerships and alliances Jay McBain explains, “Channel data has historically been very siloed, with dozens of different systems reporting in a disconnected fashion.”

Without proper channel data management, leveraging full-picture insights from varying CRM systems and customer loyalty programs becomes impossible.

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What Channel Data Should Your Loyalty Software Provide?

When businesses turn to rewards as a way to differentiate themselves from competitors, chances are that their competitors also have a customer loyalty program. The key to a successful loyalty program lies in its innovation and engagement capabilities backed by data-driven research.

The foundational elements of an engaging, innovative customer loyalty program include:

  • Automated reward and redemption fulfillment for higher participant satisfaction.
  • A variety of communication tools to enroll and connect with your participants.
  • An incentive program website that reflects your brand imagery and messaging.
  • An administrative platform that enables you to track participant history and behavior data.
  • Access to real-time reports and analytics to monitor progress toward achieving incentive program goals.

Here at Incentive Solutions, we have a variety of software modules dedicated to the collection and organization of channel data. Let’s take a look at a few below.

The Performance Tracking Module

Creating an effective loyalty program that appeals to your channel partners while increasing sales lies in the collection of your customer’s sales activity. Our Performance Tracking Module is the definition of a simple, intuitive data-exchange experience that makes it easy for your distributors, contractors, and other channel partners to earn rewards and provide the insight you need.

Run unlimited, simultaneous sales promotions while monitoring and collecting real-time sales data. With the use of a loyalty program mobile app, participants can upload invoices or warranty registrations directly from the field, and automated verification tools help speed up the reward process.

The Integration Services Module

Your sales and marketing teams will be thrilled to access customer data all in one convenient place with the help of the Integration Services Module. Purchase history information, sales data, and customer contact information from enrollment in your reward program help develop a clear picture of your customer base that is often lost as your product moves down the channel.

The Learn and Earn Module

Channel partners are responsible for selling your product, which means providing them with the most up-to-date information on your product’s incredible features is exactly the enablement they need to close the sale. With your Learn and Earn Module, training is both engaging and rewarding. Even better, let your customers voice their needs directly with survey opportunities.

Ready to See What Channel Data Can Do for Your Business?

Product quality, price, and convenience of purchase are no longer enough to stand out in today’s oversaturated market. Incentive technology has not only helped provide ease of management, communication, and reward fulfillment; it defines your brand in the B2B sales channel as one that puts the needs of their customers first.

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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.