Q&A: The Evolution of Enablement and Loyalty Programs

17 March 2020 | Business Intelligence, Partner Enablement and Loyalty

5 Questions: With Jochen Friesch, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Aximpro. He shares expertise on the current landscape of enablement and loyalty programs and what the future holds.

  1. As MD of a company that offers solutions for enablement and loyalty programs, how have business needs evolved in recent years and how have you had to evolve to meet these needs?
    We have been doing partner enablement and incentive programs for more than eleven years. A lot has changed over these years. However, the basic have stayed the same: A successful program needs to be simple to understand, beneficial and easily accessible for participants.

    We currently see that pure loyalty for sell-out is an important part, but programs need to include the aspect of going the extra mile. Furthermore, programs needing to be aligned with the specific goals of a vendor are becoming more relevant. In this regard, business intelligence (BI) and predictive analytics are playing crucial roles.

    Whole user engagement has always played a major part, but new ideas and features should now be more streamlined and focused to succeed at running an engaging program. In addition, attractive benefits for users are of course always very important.

    Finally, compliance in all areas, not only in terms of GDPR, but also in terms of legal and taxation topics will continue to be very important and relevant.

  2. What are the major basic changes you experience now?
    Solutions are becoming more complex. Oftentimes it’s much more than just a pure enablement and incentive program. If you want to grow in revenue or partner footprint, you need to cover the entire process – from getting the perfect potential partner data to onboarding partners. Naturally, a great incentive program includes sales enablement, but also communication to and through partners. It’s not only about engaging the partners, but also to make them successful.

    Another important part is in terms of reports and data analytics to steer the entire solution in the right direction. We see this demand as companies request these types of modules from our product and solution portfolio.   

  3. What aspects are becoming increasingly important in partner enablement and loyalty software to ensure user engagement and desired action?
    Gamification is a good driver of engagement. Gaming and challenges are in the nature of the people. So, it is a good way to drive usage and focus of a program. Gamification also offers a great possibility to support additional goals – rather than purely sell-out. Rewards are, of course, also very important for motivation and engagement. We see a trend here for more individualization.

  4. What does the future hold for partner enablement and loyalty programs?
    Generally, the possibilities of BI and predictive analyses are evolving. Therefore, we will see a much higher degree of program personalization. It will cover all areas, such as individualized and much more intelligent incentives that drive ROI, communication, rewards and content.

  5. Finally, from your expertise, what other aspects would you point out as being relevant moving forward?
    Partner demographics are changing and will influence incentive strategies. This is especially relevant to the customer-facing roles. Plus, more and more Millennials will be the target audience. This will drive the programs and the features into a much more consumer-driven direction – to cater to their needs.

    Changes within social behaviours also need to be considered. Individuals that hold customer-facing roles see themselves as trusted advisors toward their customers and influence buying behaviours. In future, concepts should also include strategies to support this important aspect. 

About the Expert: Jochen Friesch is Managing Director (MD) of Aximpro, a multinational software development, as well as omnichannel marketing and consulting company. He co-founded Aximpro in 2008, with the vision of accelerating companies through their sales channels. Before this, he gained experience in various roles within the IT industry, including a position as MD of an IT manufacturer. Jochen holds a Diploma in Economics and Computer Science from Reutlingen University.

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