Customer Loyalty and Referral Marketing Programs for Direct Sales Companies: Getting the Most Out of Your Personas

by Grace Miller |

Direct sales companies are quickly becoming a major player in the marketing world. In addition to generating billions of dollars in revenue, these businesses are gaining around five thousand new customers daily. Despite their success, direct sales companies can still benefit from optimizing their customer loyalty programs and referral marketing programs.

The Challenge

The modern consumer expects brands to show customer loyalty and to reward customers for making purchases. Studies are showing that, while many people sign up for customer loyalty programs, over half of these memberships remain inactive.  A good customer loyalty program will go beyond the basics of shopping rewards and help turn your best customers into ambassadors for your brand.

For direct sales companies, the challenge is even greater because the company works with sales representatives as well as end buyers. To truly reap the benefits of customer loyalty and customer referrals, a company must appeal to each of the several buyer personas to ensure a good ROI.

Incentivizing Actions

Most modern loyalty programs have expanded beyond the traditional “points for purchase” model. In addition to rewarding customers for spending money, companies have also begun to reward for advocacy and social actions. The specific types of social actions that your company promotes will depend on your brand and goals. For instance, if your brand story is tied to charity or the environment, you can reward your customers for volunteering or participating in an event that is tied to an important cause. Other actions can include writing ratings and reviews, interacting with your company on social media, creating or completing a digital profile with your company, and signing up for a newsletter.

While some actions can be taken by both your end customers as well as by sales reps, others can be specific. For instance, you can reward sales reps for attending company events or completing training modules. To implement a diverse rewards system, you will need a platform that allows you to distinguish between various buyer personas and create rewards and action programs that are logical and effective for each buyer type.  

Turning Customers Into Advocates

Rewards for Direct Sales

While customer loyalty models have expanded, direct sales should still be rewarded. You should select rewards that are logical and useful to your customers. This can include third-party gift cards, discounts, and even larger rewards such as concert tickets or spa treatments. The rewards that you choose to offer should be in line with your brand and should be appealing to your customer demographic.

As a direct sales company, you will need to reward your sales representatives as well as your end buyers. You can choose to keep the rewards equal, however, having special rewards for your sales reps has several benefits and will make the reps feel more special for the role that they play in your company. For instance, you can offer special training, company event invites or access to top products. No matter what types of rewards you choose to offer for direct sales, you will need an omni-compatible platform that can easily track points and allows for easy reward access.

Tiered Programs Make Loyalty Fun

Adding tiers to a rewards program can help boost interest and engagement. The tiers make your loyalty program more fun to both your customers and your sales reps while also differentiating your company from competitors. You can choose a simple tier design or model the tiers in a way that is relevant to your brand. For instance, if you are running a company that sells fitness equipment, you can start the tiers at “novice” and end with “trainer.” Ideally, each higher tier will have larger perks and rewards for customers to access.

Again, you can choose to have one tier system for your end customers and sales reps or implement a separate tier system for each.

boost engagement

Implementing Referral Marketing Helps Boost Sales

Direct sales companies essentially run on referral marketing. Fortunately, despite declining public trust in brands and corporations, consumers are still willing to trust referrals. In fact, studies show that customers who are referred by a friend are four times more likely to purchase. Therefore, even direct sales can benefit from customer referrals.

In direct sales, each customer—either an end buyer or a sales rep—works with a specific sales consultant. Supporting referral perks for customers as well as sales consultants can help motivate all types of customers to mention your company to a friend. A good platform will also allow you to amplify the power of your referrals on social media through unique referral codes that can be emailed or shared on social media sites. Such codes can help you track the referring customer and sales rep so that both can be rewarded. Meanwhile, social media posts are seen by all of your customer’s friends, which gives the referral more exposure than a single, person to person referral.

Optimizing referral marketing and customer loyalty can help direct sales companies increase their ROI and revenue.

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