Last week, we released The BthruB Incentive Program Playbook, a comprehensive guide for structuring incentive programs for the modern distribution channel. But you might notice a word in the title you’ve never seen before: BthruB.

What is BthruB?

BthruB is more than just a clever turn of the phrase or a new twist on an old acronym. Rather, it’s shorthand for a philosophical shift in B2B channel sales. B2B, or business-to-business, implies that the B2B sales funnel moves in a single direction and has a definite endpoint. But really that’s no longer the case. Today, businesses sell through other businesses, relying on partnerships, data exchanges, and value adds, in order to reach the end-consumer. We created the term to reflect these changes and to change the way manufacturers and distributors approach their sales channel.

BthruB is about creating a culture of trust, collaboration, and B2B sales enablement. Where manufacturers and distributors are helping their contractors, dealers, DSRs, or VARs, to sell their product more effectively. Where they are supplying their partners with the platforms, education, insights, data, and other value-adds to create win-win outcomes. Where vendors are providing personalized user experiences and are rewarding and recognizing their channel partners to nourish those relationships.

With that in mind, BthruB is the name we chose for our annual incentive industry thought leadership conference (you can read about this year’s event here!).

Why Loyalty Programs & Channel Incentives Are More Important Than Ever

In order to win through the channel, manufacturers and distributors must build an ecosystem of relationships with partners and influencers throughout their channel. Afterall, 75% of worldwide sales revenue across all industries flow through an indirect sales channel. Establishing relationships – and effectively selling through other businesses – is more important than ever.

It’s up to manufacturers and distributors to figure out how to personalize those relationships and offer B2B sales enablement in a way that is scalable and replicable. That is where incentives and loyalty programs can be such an important differentiator.

BthruB loyalty programs are about more than just rewards. They are part of a measurable sales and marketing strategy. According to The Incentive Research Foundation, the top business objectives for channel incentives and loyalty programs in the U.S. include:

  • Building product or brand awareness (71%).
  • Increasing sales or market share (67%).
  • Improving customer retention and satisfaction (55%).

An effectively designed incentive program can accomplish all of those things.

More Than Just Rewards: Using Loyalty Programs for B2B Sales Enablement

Channel Incentive Platforms for B2B Sales Enablement

Rewards are the fun part of a BthruB incentive program. They motivate and reinforce desired behaviors and help to personalize B2B relationships. They make channel partners feel recognized. Initially, rewards will be what inspires partners to enroll in the program and begin selling more of your products.

But the loyalty program itself gives vendors the opportunity to educate their channel partners, build brand awareness, and provide B2B sales enablement.

The registration process gives vendors the opportunity to collect important contact marketing and marketing data. Custom enrollment forms allow vendors to capture the data points they need, which they can integrate with their CRM, ERP, or e-commerce platforms. This allows them to clean up their database, expand their profiles, and provide relevant messaging throughout their channel.

As participants keep coming back to the loyalty program website to check out promotions or redeem for points, brand awareness starts to take hold. Loyalty program emails and site content gives manufacturers and distributors the chance to build on this familiarity and educate their channel partners. What is the benefit of this product? How can you effectively sell end-consumers on this value proposition? Interactive quizzes and trivia can be used to solidify this knowledge, and help your partners sell your product.

After all, knowing what to pitch and how to pitch it, makes channel partners’ lives easier and allows them to do their job more effectively. This case study shows the results of how incentive-driven B2B sales enablement can result in revenue growth.

Paving the Way for Value-Added Partnerships

Being awarded is an emotional experience with social value. Channel partners will begin to feel a sense of personal connection to the company that awarded them. This sense of connectedness is enhanced by the fact that incentives help to align organizational goals. It begins to feel like vendors and partners are playing for the same team.

To learn more about the ins-and-out of planning, managing, and marketing an effective channel incentive program, check out our new e-book! The BthruB Incentive Program Playbook is designed to help manufacturers and distributors create programs to help them achieve the trust, collaboration, and B2B sales enablement that define BthruB.

<strong>About </strong>Mark Herbert

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.

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