“Our incentive program was so successful that we had to turn it off because we went over our budget.”
Sounds ridiculous, right? But this could very well be the case if your incentive program is on a fixed budget. As sales increase and your target audience performs the specific behaviors the incentive program was designed to promote, they earn points that they redeem for rewards. Reward costs rise.
Even if the ROI from your incentive program is offsetting those costs and then some, if you’re on a fixed incentive budget, eventually that budget will run out.
Shared Incentive Budget: Sales & Marketing
We recommend that our clients use a shared incentive budget between their sales and marketing departments. That’s because the vast majority of the incentive programs we operate are both a Fixed Expense and a Variable Expense that benefit both departments.
A Fixed Expense is an expense that doesn’t fluctuate based on sales volume. These expenses typically fall under a marketing budget. For an incentive program, fixed expenses include: system set-up costs, administrative costs, access to add-on incentive software modules, account management, and marketing the program to your participants.
However, the other part of an incentive program is a Variable Expense, meaning it changes based on sales volume and productivity. Sales departments typically operate from a variable budget, so it makes sense that reward costs would fall under the budget for their department.
In other words, the initial set-up and maintenance costs would come from marketing. Sales would be responsible for the remainder of the incentive budget, which would only come further down the road after they were already seeing a return from the program.
How Sales and Marketing Share the Benefits from an Incentive Program:
- Drastically higher open & click rates than industry standard for automated marketing emails related to a rewards program.
- Rewards can be used to build a database by incentivizing channel partners to provide contact information & marketing data for themselves and for end consumers.
- An incentive program can be used for a customer loyalty marketing campaign to gain access to new verticals with existing accounts.
- Incentive programs can be structured to discover new accounts by using an open enrollment strategy, attaching point certificates to merchandise, or through a referral program.
- Accounts who are part of a B2B loyalty program often increase their order size & order frequency.
- Channel partner incentive programs can be used to generate demand and motivate distributors, dealers, contractors, and wholesalers to recommend more of your product to the end consumer.
- Reward programs can be used to nurture accounts and create engagement by communicating immediate, tangible value.
- Using rewards to personalize relationships with accounts creates relationship capital, which is hugely important for B2B sales.
Incentive are a sales and marketing solution. A shared incentive budget leads to shared benefits for both departments. If you want to see what this approach looks like in action, and to check out the results we have achieved for some of our clients, we recommend taking a look at our case studies.
If you’re interested in learning more about planning your incentive budget, you can explore our billing options here or give us a call at (866) 567-7432.