Defining who will engage with your paying consumer and ensuring that this group is motivated and engaged is critical to driving business growth. However, these people may not be the typical “sales” folk.
Here’s the story of one of our customers who operate across the world through distributors and retail outlets. This industry leader in engine lubricants engages thousands of independent workshop mechanics globally. These mechanics are their greatest asset in understanding customer sentiment, and they are undoubtedly the brand’s advocates on the ground. Therefore, they have become the real sales folks!
The first challenge our customer faced was being able to connect and register with the mechanics across multiple geographies. They were only connected to 40% of all the potential mechanics. Therefore, scaling engagement and training across these mechanics had become cumbersome, expensive, and irregular. In their market surveys, they uncovered that only 10-15% of the channel could clearly communicate core brand messages. This pointed out the traditional training methods were becoming ineffective and expensive. The engine oil giant also wanted its mechanics to be lubricant experts and brand advocates.
The company also wanted to create positive disruption by ensuring that these mechanics were motivated enough to sell the brand’s premium products. Their traditional processes to incentivize sales were not working as rewards did not reach the mechanics on time.
So what did we do that was different, you ask?
Mechanics work in stressful environments. Their customers come for vehicle services, oil changes, wear-and-tear repairs, etc. While they go from one transactional job to another, how do you motivate them to promote and sell a premium lubricant from your brand?
So, we conducted research, which showed that paying consumers are willing to listen to “trusted mechanics” who are knowledgeable and communicate the value. Creating a trusted advisor calls for continuous training and soft skills development. Training alone will not create the “advocate” you desire. Therefore, we need to motivate mechanics to change their behaviour.
From a mechanic’s perspective, there was a need for easy to access learning content. They believed in learning and selling, which would reward them for positive behaviour. But, they also wanted to be rewarded instantly and continuously.
As I had explained in my earlier blog, this, therefore, was a mindshare challenge. We needed to get the mindshare of the mechanics to promote our customer’s brand. This called for innovatively integrating Sales Enablement, Engagement, and Rewards to increase the mechanic mindshare.
Here’s how we made it happen:
From an engagement point of view, we knew were dealing with mechanics and workshop owners. Therefore, a mobile-only strategy would work best in this scenario, primarily because access to PCs/Laptops would be difficult for the target group. Hence, messages were sent on Whatsapp and via SMS to motivate the mechanics to easily download our engagement app.
The app was created to enable the mechanics through bite-sized content for easy of learning and recall. These multimedia cards contained simple info, quick videos, and interactive content, which was sent to the right mechanic and at the right time, which in this case was when the mechanic was free from his transactional commitments at work.
The streaming of cards was followed up by a quick quiz; gamifying the experience to create better learning. Points and rewards were awarded for participation and successful completion of these quizzes and learning activities. Leaderboards were published regularly to create a spirit of competition and inclusion. The rewarded points were later converted to sales-readiness scores and updated daily on the app, which could be accessed by the mechanics.
Our customer’s aim was to also drive premiumization, while engaging, enabling, and rewarding their mechanics. Hence, various special programs were developed with the motive to reward points to mechanics that sold premium products. To track this process seamlessly, each product was marked with an individual QR code, accessible after the seal was broken, which was scanned, and duplicates were checked in real-time. Points were awarded for each sale made.
Making activities fun and engaging, while also educating the mechanics and rewarding sales, we organized a selfie contest that was created to aid the sale of premium lubricants sold to customers. Not to forget, this activity was also gamified with rewards! We also made the entire rewards process easy for the mechanics; the redeemed points could be converted to cash or gift coupons just at the click of a button.
These activities needed to have a lasting effect, therefore, the mechanics’ dashboard was updated, regularly to ensure that they could easily access all the information they needed, instantly. Automated personalized notifications were sent to each one of them, intelligently discovered by analyzing the data that was created for different use cases including non-participation, low sales-readiness scores or to motivate them to sell better. Regular surveys and polls were also conducted to get real-time feedback and customer insights.
And what impact did we see?
We strongly believe that every action needs to be followed up by impactful results. We got our customers to work on their numbers and noticed that post the first set of activities and engagement, they tripled the number of mechanics on board when compared to a quarter ago, which must also mean that mechanics were forwarding the registration messages to their colleagues and other workshop owners! And most importantly, our customer’s premium product sales grew by 400% compared to their last quarter sales.
Here’s what we inferred from this project:
- Go mobile-only or a mobile-first. This works better with a target group that has ready access to smartphones
- Keep training materials and engagement content “bite-sized” in order to enable quick learning and easy recall
- Gamify everything! This drives a real behaviour change and creates a higher level of engagement
- Reward instantly because nothing drives motivation like continuous rewards and instant gratification
- Be data-driven. Lots of good data is available with the group that sells a brand’s products, which can help the brand identify opportunities for innovation, automation and develop new sales insights
Training, Enabling and Empowering 1000s of Mechanics requires a innovative Sales Enablement Platform. Check out Streamz’s sales readiness solution