In the past few years, manufacturing and retail organizations have increased the use of incentive programs to try and keep audiences engaged and loyal. Rebates and cash only go so far to motivate all roles inside your indirect channel and can be increasingly difficult to manage well with inventory, supply chain and suppliers in flux.
Having a manufacturing incentive program in place is a great start. Understanding what incentive motivates a manufacturer to sell a product is key.
New Research Shows How to Build an Effective Manufacturing Incentive Program
We wanted to get to the bottom of current partner motivations to help answer our clients’ common questions and comments like:
- “What’s going to motivate my channel? (distributors, resellers, wholesalers, reps)”
- “How can I best reward [channel audiences]?”
- “They only want cash.”
To better understand evolving vendor programs and what motivates partners, we commissioned Forrester Consulting to survey channel partner owners and channel partner sales reps responsible for channel relationships and/or incentives.
The results gave clear insight into what partners actually want from an incentive and SPIFF program.
Channel Survey Responses From Manufacturing Partners Highlight Exactly What Motivates Them to Participate
When manufacturing and retail respondents answered the question about what awards motivate them to participate in a program, there’s a clear frontrunner.
Products and merchandise was the #1 choice and the top choice when comparing the top 3 ranked selections (Figure 1). See for yourself in the graph below.
The Time Is Now to Transition From Cash-Only Incentive Programs
For OEMs thinking about shifting to a hybrid (monetary + non-monetary) award program or points program, you’ve now got the evidence to move forward.
And if you weren’t considering a shift in your distributor incentive program, now might be the time to re-evaluate the motivating power of cash.
Either way, making a massive shift all at once can be overwhelming for the channel.
One-Size-Does-Not-Fit-All When It Comes to Program Awards for Manufacturing Incentives
Participants want power of choice. And understandably so. They’ve worked hard to achieve the awards, but the program falls flat if the awards don’t appeal to participants’ unique interests and needs.
You’ve got to have something for everyone. Giving program participants the power of choice increases motivation. Plus, the program’s more likely to generate higher brand loyalty due to participants feeling like they’re working with an organization that truly gets them.