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Behavioural Science & Channel Partner Engagement

Dec 30, 2022

Written by: Sukesh Jain, CEO, BI WORLDWIDE INDIA
(View Author Bio)

Putting Behavioral Science at the Core of Your Channel Partner Engagement Strategy

Sales leaders no longer could ambiguously build resilience strategies based on mere speculations and observations. The need of the hour, is, to delve deeper into the science of human behaviour to pull the strings together. Now, businesses are gearing up to build and present their channel partners with engagement programs that impact business results – incremental sales, ROI, market share, and satisfaction.

While conventional economics suggests that people are prone to make rational decisions when they are offered multiple choices, the reality is that 70% of humans are heavily biased and emotional while making decisions. This is where behavioural economics helps profoundly, as it draws on psychology to assess what drives humans to make emotional decisions and why their behaviour fails to follow the predictions of economic models.

BI WORLDWIDE India has complied with some of the proven engagement strategies implemented across fortune 500 brands in India and globally leveraging behavioural economics while designing channel and sales incentive programs.

  • Choosing the right promotion tactics to drive incremental sales

There are numerous promotion options that you can opt for to encourage your channel partners and sales teams. One of them, Sell X Get Y, could be a simple SKU-based promotion offered at the time of each purchase and sale or achievement of a target. This tactic of assigning fixed targets proves beneficial in encouraging sales professionals to focus on overall incremental sales and garner substantial results.

Another promotional strategy is to provide them with the choice of self-selecting their goals, which they believe to be achievable. This not only makes them feel closer to their goals but also helps them align it with external factors of motivation, like rewards. This approach, also technically termed the Goal Gradient theory, suggests that people are more likely to work harder and feel responsible to meet their numbers when they start walking on the path of achieving it. Ultimately, this results in incremental sales, which come from the middle and bottom layers of channel partners and not just the top-performing partners.

  • Engagement nudges to drive specific behavioural outcomes

A simple nudge does not necessarily guarantee an action. Therefore, engagement nudges play an important role, especially to drive specific behavioural outcomes. Know more about these nudge principles and techniques:

  1. Framing Effect:By leveraging the framing bias effect, it is easier to influence a person’s decision-making by “presenting” information associated with positive gain or negative loss. Consequently, this prompts action in the form of participation in a program, decision to purchase or sell, and willingness to share among other things.
  2. Vividness Nudge: This behavioural economic principle, which is commonly applied in creative communication collaterals, is another effective technique that helps to stay top of mind and provoke actions, as well as drive results. Vividness nudge involves creating communication materials using high-impact visuals, bold headlines, and typography with an intent to grab eyeballs and thereby prompt action.
  3. Availability Bias:This is another behavioural economic principle that clearly demonstrates how the minds of humans try to predict possibilities with limited information. As a sales leader, you can make this work in your favor by using specific examples and relatable stories to increase your channel partner’s perceived risk and their willingness to perform a certain task.
  • Rewards that drive performance and ROI

Several studies have shown that one of the things that motivate channel partners to act is real-life experiences & rewards. Let it be trips to popular destinations, concert tickets, luxurious merchandise, or rewards that are hedonic in nature. It has also been observed that when people are offered hedonic rewards, something they can show or talk about among their friends and family members while reiterating their success story, their chances to take instant measures increase manifold.

When sales leaders design a channel program, they must consider these behavioural patterns to inspire their channel partners. Lastly, the principle of sociability, too, shows immense results, as it enables your channel partners to share their rewards experience with friends or family or on social media bringing a greater brand affinity and connection.

Having behavioural economics as a core to your channel loyalty program design helps to inspire channel partners with the right motivational nudges and drive measurable results with consistent all levels of performance, incremental sales, and brand association.  Ultimately, it is a win for brands, channel partners, and the sales teams. At BI WORLDWIDE, our single focus is to enable their loyalty and engagement strategies by leveraging behavioural economics, research, and 70+ years of experience in inspiring channel partners, sales teams, and employees.

This article is written by Sukesh Jain, CEO BI WORLWIDE India and is also available on CXOOutlook

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