360's Sales Incentives Technology Blog

#TBT – That Time We Bought Marketing Videos On E-lance

Posted by Jason Atkins on Jul 24, 2014 4:38:15 PM

We had to get people to run over to my place to microwave their lunches, otherwise all the computers would go down.

IMG_0853Luckily, the 360incentives core platform was running on an outside-hosted environment at the time because the early days were super crazy.  

Back in early 2010, there were around six of us working in an 800 square foot space and so if, for example Teni wanted to use the toaster, it would flip the breaker.  

If someone needed to heat up their lunch in the microwave, the whole office would go down.  

If a visitor wanted to come in through the front door, Sandie had to move her chair or else that person was just flat-out not getting in.   

So, if you wanted hot food – up the road you’d go to my place to heat your lunch in the kitchen while the rest of the team worked.

It’s still pretty crazy in here most of the time, but not in the same way.  For example, now 360 actually has a marketing team.   Back then, our marketing consisted 100% of me messaging with people on E-lance or Voices.com in the middle of the night, trying to get some collateral built.   

The funny thing about the Freddy Fraudster video is that we put it up back in March of 2010 and the content is still insanely relevant today.  

Have a look and let me know what you think in the comments.


360 JasonAtkins 2014 Thumbnail 80x80Jason Atkins is the Founder/CEO of 360Incentives.com and plays himself in our corporate video.  Connect with Jason on Twitter @jayatkins or Google +.

Topics: 360 Incentives

Update On Our charity: water Campaign In Memory Of Todd Skinner

Posted by Jason Atkins on Jul 15, 2014 4:42:00 PM

Recently we received an update from charity: water on how they are using the the funds we raised in memory of Todd Skinner.  The news is pretty awesome and Todd would have been proud - he loved charity: water

So many of our team members, family members, friends and clients responded to this campaign with such touching and incredible generosity that I wanted to be accountable to all of you in true charity: water style and share this reporting.

progress_report_header_d2p

Your money was sent to Kenya!

Because of your generosity, people in Kenya will soon have clean water to drink. We wanted to let you know your money has been sent to the field and work is underway!

SO, WHY KENYA AND WHAT'S NEXT?
map_kenya_q2_2014

Kenya is a chronically water-scarce country. Kenya's growing population and changing climate mean the situation is getting worse. By 2025, Kenya is projected to have less than a quarter of the water it needs. 

Thanks to your help, our implementing partner Action Against Hunger is busy working on 39 hand-dug wells and 5 new piped water systems that will serve over 30,000 people.

Our partner will also be focusing on bringing clean water, sanitation and hygiene training to 2 schools. Learn more about our work in Kenya here » 

In about 18 months when the projects are complete, we'll collect GPS coordinates, photos and other details about each community and show you the impact your funds made in Kenya. See an example of the report you'll receive when your project is ready. 

-- your friends at charity: water

To all who contributed and have been following this campaign since we launched back in December, I want to personally thank you very much for helping us to honour Todd in this way.  Todd truly believed in making a difference in the world and this campaign is helping him continue to do so.

360 JasonAtkins 2014 Thumbnail 80x80Jason Atkins is the Founder/CEO of 360Incentives.com and plays himself in our corporate video.  Connect with Jason on Twitter @jayatkins or Google +.

Topics: Todd Skinner, charity: water

360 Launches First-Ever Channel Incentive Grader Tool

Posted by Jason King on Jul 3, 2014 11:24:00 AM

Having indexed and processed over sixteen million channel and consumer incentives claims since launching in 2009, this week 360incentives deployed the first-ever channel marketing program grader tool.   The online tool, which is free for open and unlimited use, allows users to enter eighteen data points around execution of their current channel and consumer marketing spend which are then measured and graded against the elements of the current top performing programs being executed in the North America and the UK.

jason“Channel marketing really exists to do three things,” says 360’s founder/CEO Jason Atkins.  “You want to build brand equity, you want to have some visibility through the channel and you want to increase sales.  The best types of programs accomplish all of this, so we want people to be able to see how their programs stack up against what their competitors are doing.”

The tool is part of 360’s efforts to modernize the promotions space, an older and entrenched industry that has been slow to adopt new technology. “Consumer goods are really starting to struggle with differentiation,” Atkins said.  “Providing unbelievable experiences for channel partners and consumers is how the best brands are winning market share each day and a great experience with an incentive is the bridge to a long, symbiotic relationship in the connected economy. Moving to digital execution of programs allows brand to leverage the vast datasets that are collected as part of the claim process.  Owning the data in digital form allows them to scale claim auditing and fraud prevention in ways that were previously impossible.”

They incentive grader tool is simple to use and is available for unlimited use now at http://www.incentivegrader.com or you can access it by clicking the screen shot below.   It will continue to evolve to reflect the ever-changing nature of the channel marketing space.

Topics: channel marketing

Trend: Top 9 Reasons Why Companies Are Moving To SaaS-Based Incentive Management Solutions

Posted by John Bodolai on Jun 28, 2014 3:36:08 PM

Time_To_Update_Your_Incentive_Management_SolutionsSuppose your company is still managing your channel promotions on a 100% paper-based system or a spreadsheet. You may be handling it internally, or you may have engaged a mail-house or rebate fulfillment company.   Let us further suppose though, that your gut is nagging you about this – something is off.  You know that it makes sense to modernize and digitize but it has been understandably difficult to prioritize making the change.   You are not alone – we meet with companies all the time who are feeling the same pains but have been able to get this important change to the top of the docket and bring unbelievable change and leverage to their channel marketing.  

Here are the top recurring themes we have observed: 

1.  Incentive programs have gone stale and are undifferentiated from competitors.

This is perhaps the most common challenge, but is really just scratching the surface of the problem. Most SPIFF and consumer rebate programs start out getting really strong results – your product is great and the incentive gives people that last little jab to take action, whether that’s making the sale or making the purchase.   The problem is twofold: run the same program for too long and the “after rebate” price just becomes “the price” in the eyes of the consumer while the sales spiff stops moving the needle with sales associates because the reward becomes a form a “entitlement” rather than an “incentive”.  Robust SaaS-based incentive management solutions such as the one we offer allows you to run many customized programs at once.

2.  Unable to measure success of incentive programs.

Paying out incentives feels great, doesn’t it?  You’re getting what you want (more sales) while associates and consumers are getting a nice little bonus back.  What makes this incomplete is the simple fact that it is difficult to measure ROI on incentive programs.  Was the program you ran this year more effective/less effective than the program you ran last year? You can’t fix things if you aren’t clear on whether or not they are broken.

3.  Lack of reporting and analytic capabilities to make business decisions.

Related to the above, as well as my previous post, many companies who sell through an indirect model have a huge visibility problem through the channel.  They sell to a distributor and then go dark, reporting-wise, once that transaction is made. Being able to see through your channel, all the way down to the consumer transaction level simply helps you craft better strategy across the entire enterprise. 

4.  Unable to get a consolidated view of all incentive programs in one platform.

If you are using separate vendors or spreadsheets for each type of program, (e.g. one each for consumer, for channel, for sell-through allowances, for co-op programs) the consolidation and synthesis of the varied reporting is a massive job. It’s a job that pulls resources away from the actual marketing that you are supposed to be working on. You want to be able to get a 360 degree view on your entire promotional spend.

5.  Manual claims processing or it takes a long time to process claims.

You have people opening envelopes and keying in claim data?   Stop it.

6.  Limited ability to detect fraud or non-compliant claims.

Boxes and boxes of paper are just one of the reasons that have historically made claim auditing impractical to scale.  By digitizing and collecting copies of all documents that support the claim, you are on a path to being able to audit one hundred percent of your claims.   Our software, for example, has built in OCR functionality to scrape pertinent data from the documents and automate systemic audits against program requirements and our own security algorithms.  The world of channel marketing has typically been the world of fraud, and it’s worse than you think – usually in the double digits.   Let’s say you were able to use auditing to protect ten percent of your spend: how is that for ROI?

7.  Lack of IT resources to support or advance in house application.

I’m actually impressed each time we see an instance where a company has built out a proprietary application for claim processing.   I’m impressed because I know first-hand what it takes to build and maintain a robust platform.   Invariably though, there comes a day where these companies (quite rightly) have to have that disciplined talk with themselves and ask “what business are we actually in?”   Most often it’s not the channel marketing software business.  IT departments will not have the resources to build out state of the art fraud detection software, mobile applications for claims and rebate processing and other useful incentive management applications.

Bad_Sales_Incentives_Experience_Makes_For_Bad_Brand_Experience8. Unable to run additional programs because they don’t have the helpdesk/support resources.

Another issue of scale, especially where internal teams are running programs for their brand. You need to offer multiple programs and you are not sure of the claims volume, and associated call and support volume. Using an outside provider makes sense, as it allows you to scale up or down easily while maintaining a strong brand image.

9. Consumers and Sales Associates dissatisfied with time to process rebate or rebate experience.

Do you ever make purchases with your ATM card?   How fast is that money gone from your account?   Do you get to leave the store with the goods and then have your account debited eight to twelve weeks later?   Here’s another one: if you ask your dog to roll over but then give them the treat eight to twelve weeks later, will they roll over next time you ask them to?   Right – people correctly have the expectation in the digital world that your incentives should pay out at the same speed that the rest of the connected world moves.   Moving to a SaaS provider will get you there.


John_Bodolai_360incentivesJohn Bodolai is the Senior Vice President of Sales at 360incentives.  Connect with John on Twitter @ or LinkedIn.  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now! 

Topics: channel marketing, SaaS

Are You Communicating Your Value Across Your Client’s Enterprise?

Posted by Jeff Bennett on Jun 26, 2014 10:12:02 AM

Sales_Incentives_Management_For_Large_EnterpriseSelling to a large enterprise? You need to be looking at whom you impact, whether they know it or not.

If you are selling goods or services at the enterprise level, chances are that you engage in the practice of quarterly business reviews (QBRs) with your clients.  After all, it’s important to make sure that both parties feel like they are still realizing value from the relationship and looking back at the successes and challenges from the preceding quarter provides a great opportunity for this focus.

Recently, I have been adjusting the way 360 delivers QBRs and have found it has had some remarkable effects, intended and otherwise.   The fundamental change to the model is this: we have shifted from a full rearview mirror-type approach to what I refer to as 5 parts rearview mirror, 5 parts forward thinking. It makes sense to me that part of the value that we should bring as an organization is our expert voice – a consultative approach reflective of our level of understanding of the business we are in. 

At a QBR last week, I was meeting with a high energy, visionary top exec who suddenly started to see the value of what we do in the broader context of his organization.  He said “you need to talk to this person and that person,” left for 5 minutes and proceeded to drag them all into our meeting.  It really validated my belief that if you provide your client with a sophisticated solution, you must ensure that you’re communicating your company’s value props to all of the proper stakeholders to ensure that they can realize that value in their departments.

Develop Your Outlook

From a client experience perspective, you need to understand that there’s a full client ecosystem that you must acknowledge and participate with in order to truly understand how your business makes a difference for your clients.

In our world of sales and consumer incentive programs, there are many stakeholders who benefit from, provide input or contribute budget to strong incentive programs.  These folks, however, are not necessarily connected to our dealings with the company unless we proactively articulate how their divisions can benefit from working with us. It doesn’t happen on its own, but it adds immense value once the dots are connected. 

Engage_Pan_Enterprise_In_Channel_Marketing_PlanningA great example from this recent meeting was engaging the head of the client’s Consumer Relationship Management division – they now want to know how to tap in to our data to learn what they need to learn to better serve consumers.  Now that they have been brought into the loop, they want to know if the rebate redemption process can also allow consumers to register for warranty with one click? This is the kind of stuff that typically doesn’t fall into the sales incentives bucket and so the other departments typically don’t have it on their radar.  

So, let’s assume client experience is something that you are zeroing in on and you are looking to earn the trust and future business of your clients. Meeting those other stakeholders and having them understand the value that you bring is paramount.  Understand what it is that they want/need to accomplish and why is it important to them and their organization.

How to Make Sure You’re Doing It.

This one may be ever evolving, but it’s critical that you have a true understanding of the value that you bring to the entire stakeholder ecosystem of your clients.  

For example, because we are experts in the world of channel marketing, we know that there are at least three or four stakeholders who touch or indirectly impact the incentive world, yet may not interface with us or our 360 platform.  So it is tremendously important that you ask the right probing questions, and demonstrate how each stakeholder could benefit from the intelligence that we gather, especially when combined with the data they already leverage.  Once they see it, they very quickly become actively engaged, thereby broadening your impact within your client’s organzations.  Understanding where you can add value and making sure that you action against that insight adds to a truly unbelievable client experience.

JeffBennett_100x100Jeff is the VP of Client Experience at 360incentives.   Connect with him on LinkedIn HERE.

Topics: Leadership, Client Experience,

Get Top Mindshare With Top Sales Associates in Your Channel Marketing

Posted by John Bodolai on Jun 13, 2014 4:06:00 PM

The_Indirect_Sales_ChannelIf you sell through  a channel model, chances are you have been through the gauntlet trying to detect the best ways to refine your marketing and pricing promotions and it can get very cloudy.   After all, typical channel structures goes something like this: the manufacturer sells to a few national distributors who sell to hundreds (or thousands) of retailers/dealers where the product is then sold to the end consumer by many thousands of sales associates.

Here’s the challenge that the above model presents for building effective channel marketing programs:

You don’t get complete visibility into what your distributors are selling to which retailers and in what regions.  The manufacturer knows what is going out the door to the distributer, but they don’t know which products are selling to which consumers for how much and in which markets.  How the heck are you supposed to refine your marketing strategy without this information? There is a way.

Step 1 – Bypass the channel and connect with your Consumers and Sales Associates Directly

Designing consumer and channel incentive programs that are easy for consumers and sales associates to claim, rewarding them quickly and offering good value, attracts greater numbers of consumers and sales associates to connect with the manufacturer directly.  Make it easy for them: online or mobile claims submission; send them alerts to track their rebate status, and automate the payment process will attract them to your brand like bees to honey. 

Step 2 – Get Engaged!

Suddenly you are now able to engage with, sales associates and consumers directly. They are all logging onto your portal and building a profile in order to submit their claims.  You are able to gather valuable demographic information about your sales associates and consumers, understand specific models they bought and sold and gather consumer retail pricing by retailer by region.  If two stores in the same chain are selling drastically different volumes and/ or at different retail prices, you can observe what they are doing differently.  You are now able to understand what great sales associates want and what they do to sell more of your products. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

A new client of ours recently launched their first-ever online consumer rebate program after years of running mail-in programs that provided little information.   To be painfully honest, they signed on thinking of us more as a better claim-processing machine.   But a funny thing happened at their first quarterly business review with us.

Consumer Rebate Case Study Redux

In the midst of making changes to the way they delivered their marketing and pricing promotions, the brand was quite rightly asking questions about the way they marketed to their consumers as well.  So, we helped them by adding  several simple, survey questions to their rebate redemption process.   They had been spending huge amounts on print advertising and had the very common challenge of wondering whether it was hitting the mark.   So they asked claimants “Where Did You Hear About This Rebate Program?”   The results were nearly the complete inverse of where they were allocating their marketing resources.   

Marketing Your Rebate Program

 

Clearly, better marketing investments can be made in store displays and website marketing campaigns in this case.  Even better, the consumers that did enroll, all wanted to keep engaged with this brand:  98% opted in to hear more from the brand and provided accurate contact information – exceptionally good results that any marketing team would love.

Whether its consumer information as profiled in this case study, or sales associate information, Manufacturer’s now have engaged with these stakeholders and are able to collect rich information. 

Step 3 – Leverage Your Newfound Visibility

You now have visibility for sale price by retailer, by region.

You’re now engaging with these important folks, both in the channel and at the consumer end, and you’re also gathering all this important data – top salespeople, top retailers, top products by region.  How can you best harness this information?

These data help you to refine all programs – both channel and consumer.  You will see greater opportunity to build brand equity and loyalty all the while.  And, very significantly, the opportunity to engage gives you access to top mindshare with the top sales associates in the channel.

Engagement opportunities are everywhere in digital marketing and you can see the companies who get it rising to the top in our industry.   The data being collected helps us all to better segment our marketing efforts, deliver more value and sell more.   

John_Bodolai_360incentivesJohn Bodolai is the Senior Vice President of Sales at 360incentives.  Connect with John on Twitter @ or LinkedIn.  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now! 

 

Topics: channel marketing

Here’s What Arlene Dickinson Learned On The Front Lines in Afghanistan

Posted by Jason King on Jun 11, 2014 4:08:44 PM

Arlene-Dickinson-Profile-Pic“I went to my dad’s house, laid on the couch and cried for 3 weeks straight.”

Not necessarily the words of encouragement that the sold-out crowd of 500 was expecting to hear from accomplished entrepreneur, author and Dragon’s Den star Arlene Dickinson this morning in Whitby, but important words nonetheless. 

It was strong medicine in the perfectly appropriate dose – Dickinson’s talk was meant to convey a very honest view of the entrepreneurial journey to both the entrepreneurs and the “wantrepreneurs” in the room. Dickinson appeared at an event celebrating Ontario Entrepreneurship week and captured the early morning crowd’s attention with deeply personal stories from virtually the beginning of her 57 years.   The talk, which ran just over an hour, wound its way through highs and lows of Dickinson’s path to success and using stories to frame the lessons she has learned.   One story in particular seemed to resonate most powerfully with the entire audience.

Back in 2011, Ms. Dickinson was invited by the department of National Defence to visit Khandar, Afghanistan to speak to the Canadian troops deployed to the region.   A last-minute opportunity to step “outside the wire” and visit the men and women right at the front lines led to what Ms. Dickinson says is the greatest lesson in leadership she has ever learned. 

General_Walt_Natynczyk_“We get to the front lines and we visit five operating units – anywhere from 250-500 soldiers,” she recounts. “I listened to General Walt Natynczyk give the same speech five times.” 

Dickinson has the speech memorized and if you get a chance to attend one of her talks, I highly recommend doing so. I won’t spoil it for you: the speech was honest and transparent, but still showed the firmness of a great leader.   Here are the lessons: 

What Every Single Person Who Works For YOU Needs To Hear Every Day 

  • “I’m your leader, I’m here with you and I’m working alongside you.  As I know things, I will make sure you know things but we’re in this together.”
  • “You’re part of a team – if you don’t do your job well, not only do you let yourself down, but you let the rest of us down too. That means none of us can do our jobs properly and you’re endangering the project.”
  • “You were picked.  You have this job because we think you’re the right person for it.   There were lots of candidates, but we picked you because we think you’re special.”
  • “What you do every day is important and it matters.”

Dickinson concludes: “now isn’t that what every single person who gets up every single day to spend their entire day ‘doing’ needs to know?  That what they do matters? That their work is important? That you care? That they’re special? That they’re working on something meaningful?   These are all leadership messages that we need to make sure we’re telling the people who work for us.” 

“You in this room have the opportunity to change this community.  All you have to do is stand up and stand out and be unafraid.  Build something meaningful.”

KingJasonJason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now! 

Topics: culture, Leadership

The Life Or Death Of Client Engagement In The First 100 Days

Posted by Jason King on Jun 6, 2014 2:02:00 PM

be_engaging_and_stand_out_from_the_pack“How do we stand out against the competition?”  

Unless you have invented a product or service the world has never seen before, most businesses have asked this question. In fact, even if you have created something brand new, it is still as challenging as ever for businesses to reach all of the right people they need to reach in order to achieve their version of success.  

In the world of consumer goods, it used to be that a company could compete on price, but now many of the world’s top and most trusted names in consumer goods are building SKUs for every price point. “The fact of the matter is, that price becomes about a race to the bottom, and God forbid you actually win,” says client experience expert Joey Coleman.   Since the Total Quality Management craze of the 80’s swept the manufacturing world, it has even become tough to compete on quality. 

“So, what’s left?” asks Coleman.  Customer experience.

“The experience you create for your customer is the last great differentiator,” he reminds us.  “For all sizes of companies and across all industries, it is true to say that all clients, regardless of company, are people and people are looking for experiences that are remarkable, memorable and that they haven’t experienced in business before.”

Focus on engagement, not loyalty.  

Coleman says that looking at customer experience and retention through a traditional loyalty program type of approach puts too much emphasis on the business’ expectation of the customer to be loyal to them. “It’s based on me projecting my needs and my expectations onto you.” 

“What’s great about engagement is that I need to own at least 50% of it.   It’s my job to engage with you, interact with you and create opportunities for connection. That’s where the difference can be made.”

With the incredible rate at which new companies are appearing and bringing new competition to the business world, customer retention has become more important than ever.  Every marketer knows the importance of ensuring that you maintain relations with your existing customer base, rather than dedicating all resources to simply “chasing strangers.”   Coleman believes that companies around the world today have a gaping hole that they are not addressing: the number of people who are leaving their company.  As he puts it, “the number of clients who sign on, but leave out the back door as quickly as they came in the front.” 

In 360’s world of SaaS, the generally accepted rate of this churn (a shocking turn of phrase by itself – notes Coleman) is around 18%.  (Ours is zero, by the way!)  Coleman says a broader look across industries shows abandonment rates between 20 and 60% of customers.  He has also determined that the bulk of the exiting happens within the first 100 days of the business relationship. 

He concludes, “That’s how long you have to make deposits in the karmic bank account that are going to allow you to stand against competition, build engagement, build interaction. So when you slip up, that engagement protects the relationship.”

Below is a video interview with Joey Coleman shot in 360’s corporate head office.   For more on Joey, please check out his website, www.joeycoleman.com

 

KingJasonJason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now! 

Topics: Customer Experience

Why You're Losing

Posted by Jason King on Jun 5, 2014 3:19:00 PM

Guest Post By: Tony Gareri

Why-You-Are-Losing-1024x533I was pumped for my vacation. Between running a company, mentoring my team and being available for my family and community, there’s not a lot of time left over. I’m fortunate to be able to do what I love but that doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to some relaxation.

After attending Leadercast Live in Atlanta, I met up with my lovely wife in Florida for some fun in the sun – and sand! We spent a week eating our favorite foods, taking things at a slower pace and generally just enjoying each other’s company. We both noticed how everyone seemed to be happy. Granted, my euphoric state may have produced the rose colored glasses that I viewed our time in Florida through but in general, everyone seemed to share a happy vibe. Chalk it up to the warm sun mixed with famous southern hospitality.

So after the perfect amount of sun, the perfect amount of time away and the perfect amount of relaxing, we prepared to return home. We get to the airport and after quickly checking in, we decided to grab a bite to eat before getting into the air. It’s 7:30pm as we scan the area around us and find two viable options: a Starbucks and a Mom-and-Pop deli.

All I want to eat is a simple sandwich so we decide that we can grab something from Starbucks after dinner and proceed to walk into the deli. After greeting the deli attendant, I ask if they can make me a turkey sandwich on a bagel. She says, “Ok” and proceeds to begin assembling the necessary items. I quickly ask,
“One more thing, may I please have the bagel toasted?”

The attendant hums and haws for a moment before sputtering out, “Well, you know we’re closing soon.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I saw your lights were still on but are you still open?” I reply.

The deli attendant confirms that they are still open, so I say, “Ok excellent, I’m starving! So can I please have that bagel toasted?”

“Well, because we are closing soon, we’ve unplugged all the toasters already.”

I’m a pretty reasonable person but really wanted that bagel toasted, so I asked if they could turn the toaster on? The answer was no.

I said “You’re kidding me right?”

They said “No” again.  I was shocked.

My wife turned to me and said, “Hey babe, if you want a toasted bagel, Starbucks has that.” At which point, we thanked the deli attendant for their time and left the establishment. As we leave, I glanced back at the attendant to see if there’s any sort of reaction, however, her face was already buried back in her phone.

So we head into the Starbucks and what a difference! Within a heartbeat, this amazing human being greets us by simply saying, “Hi, good evening and welcome to Starbucks! What can I get you today?”

I’ve been accustomed to this awesome greeting when entering a Starbucks and I always reply, “Welcome Starbucks, we’re really happy to be here!” I politely ask for a toasted bagel with butter and our guy quickly jumps into action.

Roma Moulding's Chief of WOW, Tony Gareri returning from his trip in Florida.

As the bagel is toasting I ask him if he’d mind putting the butter on the bagel for me, to which he replies, “Absolutely! Of course sir, not a problem.”

It’s tough to explain how awesome this guy was or exactly what he made us feel. Somehow he made eye contact, was upbeat and assured Starbucks would keep me as a customer for life.

He continued to make our food with love and care and when handing us our order he asked if I would like an extra cup that I could pour my juice into.

I said to myself, “Am I in the same world? Because ten feet from here, they wouldn’t’ even turn on a toaster for me but here they’re happy that I’m here!”

I’m not privy to what the attendant at the deli’s compensation was compared to my friend at Starbucks but I’m willing to bet they’re in the same tax bracket. One practically drove my business out of their store while the other further enforced one of my true constants in life – Starbucks does it right.

Everyone who knows me knows I live in a world of WOW and how I love to acknowledge those who positively contribute to our world. I happily paid for our exchange and left generous tip that didn’t go unnoticed.

My new Starbucks friend said, “Oh sir you really don’t need to do that.”

“I really do,” I replied. “Not only did you make my dinner but you took time and made it with love. So please, just continue doing whatever you’re doing because you give companies like Starbucks a great name and I’m happy to shop at your store.”

As I walk out the door with my toasted bagel in hand I said to myself, “Why doesn’t everybody treat people like Starbucks does?” I learned a lesson that day. The price was almost double at Starbucks what I would have paid at the deli but that’s irrelevant at this point. Here are two companies, right beside each other, selling basically the same stuff. I went into Starbucks knowing I’d pay twice as much and still left a tip. The deli charges peanuts but offers no experience. Starbucks can be pricey but they have a lineup out the door.

When you’re a medium sized business like us, every interaction counts. Don’t think you can earn back patronage because once they leave, they aren’t coming back. Share your stories with your team (or this one!) and let them know how valuable they are to keeping your business thriving.

rsz_tony_gareriOur friend Tony is the CEO of Roma Moulding and one of 360's culture mentors.   He wrote this piece today for his company's blog and we thought it was worth a share.

3 Foundations Of An Effective Incentive Program

Posted by Jeff Bennett on May 30, 2014 11:55:00 AM

putting_it_all_togetherAs my colleague John Bodolai shared on this blog last week, being around for five years has helped 360 accumulate a wealth of historical sales incentive program data.   As you can deduce - the greater the sample size, the higher quality the inferences we may draw from it.   John’s post shared some client success metrics, but where I really love to get under the hood and muck around is in the area of learning best practices. 

Best practices can be a sticky wicket for some: you want to do great work, but you also want to avoid getting stuck doing the same old thing over and over. But you can avoid that trap – have a look at the best practices for what you do, and distill from them what theprinciples are that drive the success of those practices.   Here’s what I’ve learned by looking for common success drivers across the top-performing programs we’ve helped our clients deliver.

 

 

1.  What are your business objectives?

It’s very important to get clear on what you’re trying to accomplish.   Are you launching a new product?  Is the program meant to drive growth in a stale territory?  Are you looking to pull market share from a competitor?  What about mind share from the sales associates at a particular store? 

As richer sources of data become available, it is possible to become even more surgical in your program planning.   One of our clients runs over 200 concurrent, customized programs with wild success - the result of focused, data-driven decisions.

2.  Understand demand pull/demand push.

What does it take to convince retail sales associates (RSAs) to choose your brand or SKU over others?  How can they be incented to sell the right SKUs or bundles to meet your objectives?  Remember, training is a form of incentive as hundreds of RSAs have told us themselves that they prefer to sell brands they know very well.  We have seen on-demand training combined with an incented quiz on the material work very effectively.

If you are running a consumer rebate program, make sure that the consumer incentive will perform harmoniously with the channel incentive.

be3268b088ff28a554e5498eb45349263.  Get it right in the last three feet.

The last three feet of the deal come after the consumer owns your product and is already experiencing it.  It comes after the RSA has delivered on their end of the sales incentive deal – they have sold your product in good faith.   What experience are you delivering to these people when they go to claim the channel or consumer incentives?

This part is about ensuring that your brand treats these important people just as well or better than they were being treated before they performed the desired action.   These folks sell your products for you.   The customers buy them and bring them into their homes. It’s a big deal and they should be treated appropriately.   And it’s not just about their experience in submitting their incentive claims - it’s about the rapid payment.  When you receive the payment within days it reaffirms your decision to buy or sell the product.   It’s truly a reward for the action you took.

JeffBennett_100x100Jeff is the VP of Client Experience at 360incentives.   Connect with him on LinkedIn HERE.

 

 

Topics: channel marketing, rebate programs, Customer Experience

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