When we are facing with situations out of our control, like a pandemic lockdown, how do we keep the business moving? In this blog, I take a look at the digital options available to engage your channel
If your marketing plans and strategy have gone up in the air of late, rest assured you’re not the only one. The business has to keep moving, where possible, and re-adjust to the new parameters it faces. So what can this look like? Being agile in approach, trying new initiatives and being flexible with what the new “new” looks like.
Just because you may not be seeing employees or channel partners face-to-face for the foreseeable future, it doesn’t mean to say you can’t connect, collaborate and create a strategy to drive the business objectives you originally set out at the start of the year to achieve – you just have to mix things up a bit! And isn’t that exciting?
Here are my 5 top ways to shake up your incentives and events:
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1. Replace winners trips with digital rewards
The IRF’s recent study “Industry Outlook for 2020: Merchandise, Gift Card, and Event Gifting” predicted that the use of rewards would continue to grow and that increase for experiential rewards would grow to 44%. In a time where experiences and travel is just not possible, we need to find other ways to engage and reward top performers. Gifts cards have long been a popular reward, with online retailers topping the most wanted list, and with the growth of eGift cards these instant rewards are still a great option. Another alternative is prepaid cards which can be preloaded with a reward value and give the recipient the ultimate freedom of choice in how they want to be rewarded. But for me the best option is an experience voucher which still provides the thrill of an experiential reward, along with digital, instant delivery and allows the recipient to personalise to their own tastes. At CR we have partnered with a global experience company meaning that you can redeem your voucher for over 500+ experiences in over 100+ countries – in fact, I received one as a wedding gift and redeemed it on a brilliant Tacos and Tequila Tour in San Diego during our honeymoon. An experience which will certainly be remembered long into the future!
2. Use gamification to engage your remote sales teams
According to a report by marketsandmarkets, “incorporating gamification will help increase employee motivation levels, customer loyalty and sales engagement”. People continue to be highly motivated by rewards in the sales environment and by adding an element of fun, the results are increased with greater participation and higher engagement levels. At CR we believe that adding an element of gamification and creating healthy competition within your internal or external sales teams drive increased business results. Using creative themes and interactive leaderboards, set your sales teams weekly or monthly targets and reward top performers. Make sure you use an engaging communications plan to keep your teams up to date with progress and key messages.
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3. Launch a points based reward programme to reward everyone for their sales efforts
Instead of rewarding just your top achievers, consider implementing an online tactical reward programme which rewards everyone for their contribution and efforts. With the IRF predicting that 50% of participants will be rewarded through incentive programmes this year, this is a great alternative to the traditional incentive travel programmes. Create a themed reward programme which will allow your target audience to earn points to achieving predetermined objectives. The aim is to accrue points which can then be redeemed via an online reward catalogue of digital, merchandise, voucher and experience rewards. With the ability to capture data around the objectives and outcomes, an online reward programme can provide you with better ROI reporting and insight into your audience.
4. Take your SPIF and Sales Activation days online
Sales Activation is a key activity used to boost energy levels, increase sales, recognise exceptional performance and inject some fun into the workplace. Make your Sales Activation Days virtual with your own, branded digital training and reward platform which incorporates all the learning and gamification aspects of a physical hype day, and takes it online for remote audiences! Once set up, the platform can be used across multiple partner activation days engaging both office based staff and remote workers, allowing you to reward your sales teams for generating pipeline opportunities and completing learning objectives no matter where they are based. With hundreds of game themes to choose from including traditional “Safe Cracker” themes through to “Escape Room” style games, find an engaging theme which supports your training and key learning messages, delivers all the fun of a physical activation day and rewards staff.
5. Embrace Virtual Reality Conferencing
With so many business taking their meetings online there are hundreds of offers out there to be able to share pre-recorded or live content to your customers and partners. But what do you do if you want to still deliver an interactive conference or exhibition rather than delaying it? My favourite solution allows you to create your very own fully immersive environment, a virtual event world where your customers, partners or employees can connect using leading interactive tools including audio, video, webinars, chat and polls in an immersive environment to get the conversation going.
With Virtual Reality Conferencing, you can simulate a physical event with stunning, interactive spaces enabling visitors to navigate a virtual venue with ease. Allow your sponsors and exhibitors to have a presence where they can interact and build relationships with existing or potential customers. Host keynote sessions and simultaneous breakouts and workshops where information can be shared to a dedicated and focussed audience and give attendees the option to network and interact.
Virtual solutions will never completely replace the need and benefit of face to face interaction but in these challenging times, let’s embrace the alternatives and who knows how they will shape the future of live and digital communications.