For OEMs, distributors, and dealers of building materials and home products like appliances, pool supplies, and more, contractors are critical to the success of the business. After all, these are the folks who have the most interaction with, and most influence over, the homeowners.
A contractor loyalty program is a system of rewarding contractors who directly increase sales for you. Think of it like any hotel loyalty program: the more you stay at a particular hotel chain, the more benefits and perks you get. A contractor loyalty program is no different; the more a contractor buys from you, the more incentives and rewards they’re offered, and the more likely the contractor is to continue buying and selling your products in an effort to get to the next “level” in the program.
How can a contractor loyalty program help your business?
- You want to increase mindshare among your contractor network so that you’re the first brand they think of when a potential customer asks about a product.
- You want to sell more of your products through your contractor network.
- You want to be able to run contractor-targeted marketing and promotional initiatives with ease.
- You want to gain insight into all contractor sales activity, not just the high-performing areas within your network.
- You want to differentiate yourself from the competition’s loyalty programs with something unique and rewarding.
Building a contractor loyalty programs that increase lift dramatically by keeping your contractors eager to push your products is the be-all and end-all, but it does require a bit of preparation on your end!
Set the key performance indicators (KPIs) to track how you are progressing toward your goals.
It’s easy enough to say, “Our goal for this program is to increase sales of our products.” Well, yes—of course it is. But it’s imperative that your goal is quantifiable. “Our goal is to gain 3% market share for cabinets in the first half of next year.” That’s something you can measure. And the KPIs that will tell you how you’re progressing toward your goal need to be quantifiable too. Consider things like (but obviously not limited to):
- Registration Rate: the number of participants in the program versus the number of contractors you were in contact with before program launch
- Participation Rate: the number of users of your program who are actively participating
- Training Completion: the number of users who have taken the training courses on your products that are offered with your program (to be discussed below)
- Sales Lift: how much your sales have increased based on marketing or promotions
- Upsell Rates: how often contractors are able to sell more of your products to the customer
Use our interactive ROI calculator
to gauge how much return you could get
with a robust contractor loyalty program.
Set up a solid marketing and communications plan for pre-launch, launch, and post-launch.
Your contractor loyalty program is absolutely useless if no one knows about it. Put together a calendar and battle plan for making your contractor network aware of the new program. Email the contractors you already know, or send them promotional materials, to generate some excitement for the platform. Your program can restrict anonymous or bogus signups at registration, so it’s worth putting a link to it on your corporate website and your corporate social media channels as well. Once you start running promotions, you should communicate that out as well. With regular communication, you will actually build a relationship with the people who do (or could!) push your products to homeowners, even though they don’t work directly for you.
Make it easy for contractors to participate.
There are three parts to participation. The first is accessibility; contractors are often out and about when conducting business, so requiring them to access the program only via a desktop computer doesn’t make sense. Ensure your program is available across all devices, including mobiles, for anytime access. The second part concerns registration for the program itself; keep the registration form simple; you don’t necessarily need more than name, email, and company name, all of which you can verify on the back end to prevent bogus registrations. The third element to participation is the promotions themselves; don’t add too many rules to participate, or require too many steps to submit sales information, as this will likely turn the contractors off.
Increase product knowledge with training.
You already have a solid product catalog, and you’re probably coming out with new products with (relative) frequency. Do your contractors know the intricacies of the existing products? Should they learn, quickly, about new ones? And have you taken into account the fact that people are better speakers when they feel confident about the topic? Make training a part of your contractor loyalty program. Post videos and product sheets, run quizzes, and, if you’re so inclined, give them rewards for successful completion of any training course you run. If you have a learning management system (LMS) already in place for your own internal sales reps, you can even considering integrating that with your program seamlessly, saving you the effort of setting up your training center in two separate places.
Consider additional ways to drive engagement within the program.
You don’t have to stick with just rebates and SPIFs. Make things even more interesting with additional chances to earn. Toss in a “top seller” competition every quarter, either for the entire user base or just for a particular region or product set. Offer a spin-to-win opportunity for a chance at some instant rewards. You can even reward for good customer service if you implement post-project surveys that the contractors can request homeowners to submit—outside of the standard Yelp review. And guess what? The contractors with good reviews can leverage these comments in their own marketing efforts. As mentioned in a blog post from GuildQuality, a provider of customer satisfaction surveying software for contractors, “nothing is more convincing to prospective customers than authentic, public praise from previous customers.”
Don’t forget to get feedback from your users!
If the contractors who sign up for your program don’t like it, they won’t use it. Reach out to your program’s user base periodically to find out what is liked and disliked about the features, functionality, and promotions within the program. What works, and what doesn’t work? If you take the platform approach with your program, you should be able to make changes based on feedback on the fly; if you’re doing this yourself, there may be some work involved, but it will also be worth it. After all, the most successful programs are the ones that are the most rewarding to the contractors, which makes them more impactful on your bottom line.