In order to design effective incentive programs, it’s important to understand the difficulties businesses are facing. The other day, I ran across an article in Entrepreneur that was published last summer. The article was exploring the top 5 challenges facing today’s B2B sales teams. Interestingly, these issues weren’t internal, such as a lack of motivation or high turnover. Rather, the issues mentioned in the article were more symptomatic of buyer-side challenges.
Top 5 Challenges Facing B2B Sales Teams
According to Entrepreneur, these are the top 5 difficulties facing B2B sales teams:
- Creating Compelling Value Propositions – As competition increases and B2B buyers have more options as far as who they by from, it’s harder and harder for B2B sellers to effectively convey their “value differentiation.”
- Educating the Buyer & Making Them Feel Involved – Words are everywhere. The most desirable B2B customers are bombarded with emails, videos, demos, ads. This makes it tough to educate them on your products or to make them feel involved in the sales process.
- Lack of B2B Customer Data – Businesses are hungry for customer data. With the rise of analytics, businesses have realized the importance of using customer data to inform their decision-making. It’s very tough to sell to B2B buyers if you don’t know exactly who they are, what they do, and the products they’re in the market for.
- Making Effective Use of the Latest Technology – With all the technological tools salespeople use to help them close deals, it’s imperative that B2B sales teams stay up to speed on the latest technology. But also, in order to use those tools effectively, integration is more important that ever.
- Building Emotional Connections with B2B Buyers – Building emotional connections with B2B buyers goes a long way in accelerating the sales process and building long-term customer retention.
How Effective Incentive Programs Help Solve These Problems
While the article mentions AI, machine learning, and augmented reality as possible solutions in the future, the good news is that there’s already something actionable and affordable you can use to overcome these problems. Can you guess what it is?
If you guessed an incentive program that’s focused on channel sales or building customer loyalty, you guessed right! We’ll be looking at each of these problems and exploring ways effective incentive programs turn these pain points into opportunities for growth.
Creating Compelling Value Propositions
One of the challenges of B2B sales is that the products are generally more solution-focused. With a longer sales process and more stakeholders involved in the decision-making, B2B companies can’t get by on flashy copy or a catchy jingo. B2B companies have to be able to build authority, trust, and present real-world measurable results.
However, doing that takes time, and plenty of leads (or even existing customers) get away if B2B sales teams fail to capture their attention or stay top-of-mind. Although incentive rewards may seem trivial compared to bottom lines and improving sales, rewards offer an easy-to-understand, straightforward value proposition. They create a psychological impact that can result in meaningful changes in buyer behavior that are good for your business.
Educating the Buyer & Making Them Feel Involved
With so much competition out there and so much content marketing, it’s tough to educate B2B customers on the value of your products or make them feel involved with your brand. The appeal of rewards opens the door for more effective marketing by making those communications feel more personalized. In one case study, we helped a Fortune 500 tire manufacturer achieve marketing email open and click rates there were 268% and 780% higher than industry benchmarks, respectively.
Additionally, our Learn-and-Earn module lets you repackage content in the form of interactive online quizzes, surveys, and trivia, which makes receiving that education more fun and rewarding. If you’re interested in reading about the ROI one of our clients achieved with this approach, check out this in-depth case study breakdown.
Lack of B2B Customer Data
Most people don’t think about using an incentive program as a source of customer data, but that’s one of the primary ways we help B2B customers navigate their sales channel more effectively. In addition to incentive software modules such as Performance Tracking, which makes exchanging sales data with your B2B customers an intuitive part of the sales process, custom reward program registration lets you capture any necessary contact data or organizational information you might need to round out your account profile.
Your B2B customers are much more likely to share relevant marketing data if there is a selection of compelling rewards on the other side of that registration form.
Making Effective Use of the Latest Technology
Does your incentive program provide technological platforms that integrate with your existing CRM and expand on the data and analytics your B2B sales team has at their disposal? Software development has been an integral focus of Incentive Solutions since we were founded in 1994. One of the cool things about Incentive Solutions is that we made the decision to keep all of our incentive tech design and development in-house. That, in combination with working closely with clients across a variety of industries, has allowed us to rapidly expand our technology and create effective incentive programs based on what B2B companies are looking for.
Building Emotional Connections with B2B Buyers
Creating an emotional connection and building relationships with your B2B buyers can inspire brand preference and make price a secondary consideration. But don’t relationships take years to build? Not necessarily. Rewards cause a spike in dopamine (the brain’s ‘feel good’ chemical) and provide tangible rewards or memorable experiences that anchor those feelings of positivity to your brand.
Be Proactive: Finding Solutions
While discussing problems is one thing, our focus in on finding solutions. Chances are, if you’re facing a particular pain point, your competitors in B2B sales are facing similar challenges. If you can beat them to the punch and find effective solutions to those problems, you’ll be positioning your company to emerge from the pack. From that standpoint, each of these problems is an opportunity to achieve a competitive advantage in the long run.