When it comes to competing in the B2B arena these days, there are many tactics the FMCG companies can use to grow their business and engage, retain and personalize every aspect of the customer experience. This is particularly relevant when it comes to trade promotions.
One common mistake a lot of companies make is to simply drop prices or increase promotion frequency. For trade promotions to translate into increased sales, it is essential that you follow a data-driven strategy.
Here are 5 best practices to consider...
1. Prioritize customer experience
According to Forrester, customer experience will continue to be a major factor in how B2B companies do business in 2019 and beyond. By crafting personalized promotions at each step of the customer journey, you can offer a relevant, memorable and engaging customer experience to users that will really help you stand out from the competition.
Your customers want to connect with you in the way and at the time that they want, through the channel that’s easiest and most convenient for them. What this means for you is that all trade promotions must be available, relevant and consistent online on any browser or app, as well as offline, so you never miss an opportunity to promote.
This is just as relevant for in-person interactions via your sales reps out in the field. Make sure they have access to all relevant promotions via their online/offline apps.
2. Personalize offers
For customer-centric trade promotions to be successful, you need to deliver the right type of promotion, at the right time, to the right customer. The key is to make sure you deliver personalized promotions depending on where each customer is, along their individual journey.
Create relevant discounts for customers to enhance their shopping experience and incentivize purchases. For example, offer new customers an enticing discount to encourage them to make repeat purchases, as the first few purchases are critical in turning them into repeat buyers.
But what about existing customers?
3. Retain customers with loyalty programs
Use your CRM, and order management software to analyze transactional data, order history and more to create tailored promotions for existing customers, based on previous purchases. These could be in the form of volume discounts, free items, reduced shipping costs or incentives for cumulative purchase over a pre-defined period of time. For highly engaged customers, a loyalty program is the way forward. You can even create special incentives for being a valued customer for a long period of time (say - over a year). This can be tailored to provide different segments with different incentives, relevant to their stage in the customer lifecycle.
You can also reward cumulative sales over a period of time using benchmarks to measure success. If sales increase within the next quarter, offer a free shipping option, co-marketing opportunities, special payment terms, or extra credit.
Highly-engaged customers could also be rewarded with exclusive membership to a VIP Program to make them feel valued, with unique offers such as special payment terms, or co-marketing programs.
4. Cross-sell with bundles
Ensure your trade promotion software has flexible promotion logic to enable you to upsell and cross-sell with offer ranging from fairly simple buy X get Y free, buy package X and get package Y at a discount, to more complex promotions such as pre-set and dynamic bundles i.e. choose products from a list, select from another list products for free/discounted.
Product bundles are a great way to increase sales - seasonal product bundles work well as well as bundles such as 'frequently bought together', 'get the look', or “good/better/best” bundle options.
5. Choose the right trade promotion software
The importance of trade promotions is growing and FMCG brands and distributors find themselves handling dozens and sometimes even hundreds of promotions simultaneously. Keep that in mind as you’d want to make sure promotions can be set-up and managed quickly and easily.
With the right solution, omnichannel B2B trade promotions can be defined once, and launched immediately across all customer touch points. Set up customer rewards such as free shipping, and discounts based on criteria like order value, purchase history, or even location.
Invest in a user interface that a non-technical user can use without coding – so sales and marketing managers can set things up on their own.
When your trade promotion system is integrated with an order management system you can consolidate everything together and better analyze the outcomes of your trade promotions.