10 ways to drive results in B2B and B2B2C incentive programs

By: Shannon Lind

What you need to know

  • Before implementing a loyalty or incentive program, it’s important to fully understand the nuances of your company’s B2B, B2B2C and multistep distribution models.
  • The most effective B2B2C incentive programs balance consistency and flexibility to capture attention and sustain long-term loyalty.  
  • Personalization, events and additional resources shows partners you care and fosters mutual success.


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You don’t need to reinvent your entire channel to increase sales. Instead, consider how you can increase engagement from partners who are already part of your distribution model. One way is through an effective and engaging B2B or B2B2C incentive or loyalty program.

Improving your channel partner incentive program can help your brand maximize market penetration, increase customer satisfaction and establish sustainable growth. By aligning incentives across your distribution model, you can effectively influence both first and second step distribution (e.g., retail stores and wholesale customers), indirectly impacting end consumers.

What a B2B2C distribution model looks like  

Let’s use a real-world example:

An automotive aftermarket parts distributor sells its products through a B2B2C model. The distributor generates revenue through retail sales at its stores and wholesale distribution to other retailers, repair shops and fleet customers.

The auto parts are sold to auto parts stores that are company-owned or independent entities (i.e., stores that also sell competitor products) and to wholesale customers, such as auto repair facilities who buy parts from many brands. The auto parts distributor wants both partner types to buy from them.

In this B2B2C model, the distributor relies heavily on stores’ relationships with wholesale customers to choose their products. To fulfill their brand promise, they make sure stores have the right parts available and exhibit quality customer service.

Or, the end customer buys parts from the brand’s store if they choose to fix their car themselves.

download our ultimate guide to creating high-return incentive programs

How to build your B2B2C loyalty and incentive program 

1. Align incentives across your distribution model

Different partners in your distribution chain have different needs and motivations. Consider running separate incentive programs targeting your B2B audience (retail stores or other distributors) and B2C audience (wholesale customers) to ensure alignment across all parts of your business.

  • B2B audience: Offer purchase incentives for year-over-year growth, ensuring well-stocked stores and product promotion. Reward brand standards compliance, such as updated signage and staff training, to maintain consistent brand representation.
  • B2C audience: Implement purchase volume incentives, potentially through joint programs with retail stores. For example, offer $2 for every $100 in incremental purchases, sharing costs between the store and your company. This collaborative approach aligns interests and drives mutual benefits.

2. Increase volume through different initiatives

Implementing purchase increase incentives improves partner loyalty and drive sales growth. Programs like earn back initiatives that target independent channel customers experience substantial returns on investment, often ranging from 3:1 to 13:1. Offering attainable yet challenging earning opportunities or stretch goals motivates partners to increase their purchase volumes.

3. Encourage behavior adoption through standards programs

Standards programs motivate independent partners to adopt and maintain behaviors beyond sales. These programs help ensure consistency in both brand representation and operational excellence. For example, a brand standards incentive program drives incremental year-over-year purchases and encourages partners to follow brand guidelines and best practices.

One of our clients successfully used such a program to boost sales and increase alignment with brand standards through adopting recommended practices. These programs are instrumental in fostering long-term loyalty and consistent performance across the partner network.

Related: 7 steps to building your B2B2C loyalty program

4. Balance consistency with flexibility

The most effective incentive programs balance consistency with flexibility to capture attention and sustain long-term loyalty. Providing a consistent annual base earning opportunity gives partners a reliable incentive to stay engaged. This can be complemented with flexible, short-term promotional overlays that motivate partners to adopt specific behaviors at critical times.

For example, combine an annual loyalty bonus with seasonal promotions. It encourages partners to push certain products or services. It also helps maintain a strong commitment to the brand while driving targeted actions when needed.

5. Personalize through segmentation

Personalization is key to maximizing the impact of partner programs. Segment partners based on their growth potential and specific characteristics. Then, strategically target key profiles, refine earning criteria and personalize communication strategies. This approach ensures effective use of resources, driving greater engagement and results compared to broad-based strategies. 

For instance, high-performing partners might receive tailored incentives and communications that differ from those offered to new or lower-performing partners. This not only enhances the relevance of the incentives but also strengthens the relationship with each partner segment.

6. Support partners with business enablement resources

Supporting partners throughout the business lifecycle reflects a commitment to their individual success. Provide business enablement resources so partners feel empowered to grow and succeed.

  • Training
  • Partner marketing programs
  • Business-building rewards like tools, truck wraps and signage

Offering training programs on new products or sales techniques helps partners see numerous benefits.

  • Improves their operational efficiency and market presence, which drives mutual growth
  • Enhances partners’ capabilities and confidence, leading to better performance and higher sales

7. Provide award variety

Individuals are motivated by different incentives and awards, which prompt them to choose your brand over others, push themselves to sell more products and achieve more. Program relevancy and participant motivation are highest when you offer award options (e.g. travel, cash card, merchandise, store recognition items, etc.) to suit different personalities.

Striking the perfect balance is key. For example, imagine a small store owner who's heavily involved in day-to-day operations, barely pausing to catch their breath. A travel award might be a distant dream that doesn’t fit into their busy schedule. But what if you offered an incentive that fits their lifestyle? A prepaid cash card they can use on anything—practical or indulgent—could ignite extra motivation. It also demonstrates how your brand understands them, strengthening the relationship.

8. Use events to build relationships across distribution audiences

Events play a pivotal role in strengthening relationships between the multiple levels in your distribution system. Whether events focus on education, relationship building, driving purchases or creating memorable experiences, they encourage deeper bonds throughout the distribution channel. 

Across industries, events transform how different audiences interact within the distribution network. They affect the pride and emotional connection a partner has to your company and foster cohesion between B2B and B2C partnerships. Creating face-to-face interactions and shared experiences facilitates cross-collaboration, seamless communication and coordination.

9. Encourage field advocacy

Corporate field resources should have a vested interest in the success of partner experience programs and in growing advocacy for sponsoring brands. In addition to arming them with communication resources and data insights to optimize their efforts, many brands also incentivize demonstrated proficiency for this role to add further impact.

10. Conduct audience research

Use research to uncover how your different audiences make decisions, including their motivations and barriers for choosing what they buy and who they buy from. This process often involves in-person deep dive interviews with participants, letting you experience the “what” and “why” behind B2B and B2B2C behaviors firsthand.

ITA Group's in-house experts use data-backed research to help clients design programs that exceed their KPIs. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals.

Create a high-return incentive program with the right combination of incentives, gamification and points.

download our ultimate guide to creating high-return incentive programs
Shannon Lind
Shannon Lind

With over 20 years’ experience in the channel, incentive and events industry, Shannon works with a variety of industries and top companies to help them develop better strategies to drive business results. She enjoys consulting with companies to uncover the best incentive and recognition programs to motivate their people.