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When Contractor Reward Programs are More Than Rewards

Contractor Rewards Blog

Contractor reward programs are a staple for any equipment manufacturer that makes a product meant to be installed in a building or residence. In fact, Drilling Down: 2022 Contractor’s Loyalty Report reveals that 72% of contractors currently participate in loyalty marketing programs with many of them participating in multiple programs.

If the product can be installed, it’s likely to be selling massive volume through a channel of professional contractors. From building materials manufacturers, to HVAC, plumbing, and swimming pools, OEMs benefit by increasing installs of their product over the competition whenever possible.

In effort to gain more and more marketshare, many OEMs often blitz with strong branding, positioning, advertising, and often rebates for choosing their brand. While focus on the consumer makes for one strategy, additional eyes on the contractor/installer makes for another.

Contractor reward programs seek to build loyalty, recall, and overall bond between brand and contractor. While consumers are the ultimate decision makers, contractors also go a long way in the brand decision at the last few feet of the sale. From contractor loyalists dedicated to a certain equipment brand sometimes even branded on their truck and garb, to more contractor generalists who provide many product options to their customer with a menagerie of glossed brochures spread on the kitchen table — the contractor who could sell your product could be motivated to do so when it matters most.

The bonding agent between a brand and contractor is often the reward mix. Providing SPIFFs or purchase incentives to contractors is something that grabs their attention. But the value of contractor reward programs goes beyond just rewards. The attention grabbed through incentives provides OEMs with a voice to their contractors, to communicate, brand, train, and win trust and affection from their valuable resellers.

Here are the top 5 ways contractor reward programs go beyond just rewards.

1) Contractor reward programs earn mindshare.

A centralized contractor reward program provides a carrot and a stick to contractors. The carrot is the valuable rewards to repay the loyalty of your contractor partners, while the stick is all of the points of connection the program unlocks to gain important contractor mindshare of your brand.

Mindshare refers to the amount of thought and recall that the contractor will allot to your brand over others. Loyalists provide excess mindshare to your brand while Detractors provide little to none.

Points of connection that enable more mindshare are important showings of logos, brand messaging, materials, product features, videos and other content. While contractors are logging in to your online contractor rewards program to check and earn themselves rewards, they’re collecting valuable knowledge and exposure along the way that bit by bit enlarges your brands share of their attention and loyalty.

In WorkStride contractor reward programs, areas that enable mindshare are components like Homepage Highlight banners, logos, color branding, promotion/SPIFF images and write ups, content hosting in Toolkit including ability to host PDFs and videos. Effective utilization of these features can create a high touch program where contractors love to engage.

2) They open the lines of communication.

While some communication like mindshare-gathering are more non-verbal, direct communication is a bit more literal. A key benefit that a well communicated reward program offers is open lines of bi-directional communication with your partners.

It’s a given that brands want to communicate “transactional” messaging, such as new programs starting. But also helpful are more ad-hoc messages and email campaigns that can dovetail with the overall program. Better when those messages can target certain segments of the overall population. For example, if sell-through is slower in the southeast than the northeast, marketers and program Admins can increase the messaging to the slumping region. WorkStride contractor reward programs provide MessageCreator and Email Communication Services to create and send custom messaging to program users by email or SMS text message.

Communication is a two-way street. Feedback collection is valuable for any brand, particularly if it’s coming from contractors installing your product. The program serves as your medium to provide contact information to teams and even campaigns for surveys and other methods of feedback collection.

3) They empower you to personalize.

A contractor reward program that simply rewards all partners for sales made is missing the valuable benefit of personalization that makes programs and brands stand out to contractor partners. Getting a formal online program can give you the ability to personalize the reward program experience — from the SPIFFs provided, to different audiences or tiers, to content in the program showing relevant product information for those who sell that product line, to specific training materials applicable for an audience, and audience tiering of partners based on their level of performance.

So why personalize? It’s easy for a program to lose steam when it’s impersonal and doesn’t change. It may fade into the background as more dynamic programs float to the service. There are also different audience nuances that exist in your population which can make or break a relevant-feeling experience. Hurricane-rated windows might be a hot seller in the Southeast and a great highlight for a program to that audience, but it would make the midwest audience feel isolated. Winter window weather-strips might have the flip effect. Showing relevant products and content not only boosts feelings of meaning and relevance but can bolster sales of those specific items.

4) They enable training.

Some of the best contractor reward programs offer rewards for sales performance as well as a domain for training to improve product knowledge.

Hosting training materials in the reward program puts those useful resources front-and-center. It’s a way to earn a sharper seller who is well trained to answer questions and offer insight. Incentivizing a contractor’s sale helps with motivation, but if the contractor can’t speak to the features and benefits, the program could fall flat.

As a benefit, in either expected or unexpected downtimes, training can be used to keep contractors engaged and productive.

WorkStride provides training modules and training incentive programs within our capabilities. A leading building material manufacturer who leverages WorkStride for their contractor rewards program decided to lean into training during the high-times of COVID-19 lockdowns. Rather than leaving their partners out to dry, they doubled down on training during the stay-at-home period and made the brand’s contractors sharper and more loyal after the lockdown than they were coming in.

5) They provide performance transparency.

Many marketers, including of world-leading brands struggle to see what’s going on at the bottom of their supply chain. Line of sight might stop with the distributor transaction at step-one of the supply chain. The contractor program, more than rewards, provides a window into who is selling/installing your equipment, how often, in what quantities, in which locations, and more. Seeing detailed reports and charts like available within WorkStride contractor reward programs feed valuable intelligence to brands to determine what’s going right and what could go better. When met with good strategy, the good gets better and the bad could turn good.

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WorkStride is a leading provider of performance incentive programs for leading brands around the world. Our blend of technology, services, and support helps to power our enterprise OEM clients to exceed objectives of their contractor reward programs and loyalty — earning engagement, mindshare, performance, and ROI.

See more about contractor rewards programs.

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