The first rule of trade club

It’s not just about sales figures. Dealers, wholesalers and resellers are extensions of your brand, they’re communicating the benefits and technical features of your products directly to your customers. By gaining their loyalty, you don’t just ensure that your products are sold, but that they’re sold in the right way.

To do this, you have to better engage with your dealers and improve mutual understanding. In short, establish a relationship that provides benefits to both parties. Loyalty schemes such as the Tesco Clubcard have been successful in the B2C space for several years, but in the B2B world, people aren’t so easily won over. It takes more than a points scheme to engage sceptical dealers, you have to motivate them into what is essentially a business transaction.

Trade clubs are just one tool that you can use to do this. But to provide real value, they’ve got to be done in the right way. To help, we’ve developed five rules to gain total loyalty for your Trade Club.

  1. Check your data

At the start of any relationship, you’ve got to get to know your opposite number. And this particular relationship starts with accurate, fresh and complete data.

Who are the key decision makers in the business? What is their position in the business? Who is influencing decisions and what are their roles?

All of this data will show you how your customers build relationships in their business, what is important to them, and also make sure that their contact details are up to date.

  1. Check your data…again

Use available data to understand their current transactions. Use recency, frequency, value modelling (RFV) to understand your current customer base. Where are the opportunities? What potential can be driven from each segment? Use insight to assess patterns to predict behavior and use this information to identify what needs to be done to impact and change that behaviour.

Assess the potential of your customers. Not just in terms of their value, but their potential to be engaged with your business. Do some research, speak to the sales team, and understand their attitude and ability to grow with you.  Overlaying this more tangible insight over transactional data is the basis of a power trade club programme.

  1. Offers are still important, but are just one option

Sometimes a trade programme is just about offers, it’s almost an expectation that they’re included. But to be really effective, a programme needs more than just discounts.

Firstly, any discount should be thought through and insight-led. Reward people’s behaviour (transaction and attitude) accordingly and keep in mind that not all customers are the same or will respond to certain offers in the same way. Alter the rewards based on the performance of a customer over time.

Also, being engaged in any programme should bring other benefits to customers. Greater marketing collateral opportunities, marketing support, network support, and enhanced customer service. Measuring benefits to performance is powerful.

  1. Measure, measure and measure again

Any trade programme built on a robust set of data and RFV model should start and end with measurement. Keep metrics and how you’re going to get them in mind throughout and don’t just measure once but at several stages of the campaign.

You can even give yourself a head start with easy-to-use campaign management and measurement tools that are readily available, such as HubSpot.

  1. Remember that the network is your voice and your ears to the end user

Engagement and communication is as critical for members as supplying them with the collateral they require. Here are some essential questions to ask:

  1. Do they understand your brand? The key selling benefits? What you stand for and why you are different? The full product range?
  2. What are the reasons offered to recommend your product over a competitor’s?
  3. What feedback do you have in place to understand what objections your network receives about your offering?
  4. What processes do you have in place to address these objections (sales training, product training, and additional customer support?)

Keeping your ear close to the shop floor will help you to improve your processes and keep your members happy along with their customers.

To sum up

Quality data drives insight and insight drives a strategy for loyalty. This, in combination with effective measurement will not only create a more successful loyalty scheme, but one that your customers will fight to be part of.

At Palmer Hargreaves we have been involved with planning, developing and managing many Trade Clubs over the years. If you would like to know more, we would love to talk to you. Just give us a call or drop us a line through the form below. 


Topics: B2B Marketing