Counselor Survey: Distributors See Opportunity With Incentives

A new survey from Counselor magazine shows that more than a third (35%) of industry distributors sell incentive programs, while many expect they’ll soon begin doing so, believing initiatives provide ample opportunity to help grow overall sales. Of companies that don’t sell incentive programs, more than one in five (22%) expect to begin pitching the initiatives to customers within the next 24 months. About 86% of prospective incentive sellers are considering adding the programs to build their book of business with current customers, while 61% are looking into providing the initiatives to stoke sales with new customers.

Among the 65% of distributors who don’t sell incentive programs, sentiment about the initiatives was generally positive. Eighty percent agree (strongly agree 24%, somewhat agree 56%) that the programs will strengthen their relationships with clients, while 76% agree that the programs will provide clients with good ROI. Additionally, nearly 70% of distributors who are not currently selling incentive programs believe that the initiatives are a growing part of the promotional products business, while 80% say the programs would help differentiate them from competitors.

Enthusiasm was even greater among companies already selling incentive programs. Nearly all (99%) agree that the programs work, while 96% believe the initiatives allow them to forge firmer ties with clients. Ninety-three percent believe incentive programs provide customers with good ROI, and 80% agree that clients are interested in hearing about incentive programs. Meanwhile, 72% agree that incentive programs are a growing part of their business, with 25% strongly agreeing and 46% somewhat agreeing.

Encouragingly, more than nine in 10 distributors who responded to the survey believe there is a diverse variety of promo products available to the industry that can be pitched as part of incentive programs.

When it comes to the type of incentive programs distributors are selling, the most common is client appreciation programs; 59% of distributors providing incentive programs sell this variety. Other programs include employee retention (51%), sales incentives (42%), referral incentives (35%), employee wellness (33%), loyalty incentives (28%) and travel programs (7%).