Case In Points

By Malcolm Fleschner

When PSC, Inc., a Portland, Oregon-based provider of data capture solutions for retail supply chains, was looking for a new incentive program for its distributors and resellers, the company opted for a solution from American Express Incentive Services (AEIS). Coordinated by Victor Errante, the president of Distributor One, a St. Louis marketing agency and authorized distributor of AEIS services, the goal of the program was to clear company inventory while winning mindshare among participants.

To achieve this goal, Errante created a program called PSC Rewards, which provides distributors and resellers with reward points for selling specific PSC products. The points are tied to dollar amounts and recorded onto Amex cards, designed and customized for the program, which then can be redeemed for products and services anywhere the American Express card is honored.

Understanding that the needs of every sales organization are unique, Errante set about designing the program by first familiarizing himself with the client as well as its products, selling process and aspirations. Next he collaborated with an AEIS representative to match the company’s goals for the program with the best possible strategies for motivating the target audience.

Having developed a framework using the AEIS delivery mechanism, card funding and fulfillment systems, Errante turned his attention to determining the right reward structure and rules, recognizing the client’s need to maintain flexibility even during the course of the program.

“One of the great benefits of an incentive program is that you can start and stop it at any time,” he explains. “We could announce a three-month program, get the claims in and then start another. With a 24-month card we can run four or five quarterly programs during that period. We help PSC identify products that need to be moved through the channels and assign them a point value. The program helps to get new products off the ground and to penetrate accounts in which PSC is not currently involved. The program offers a point of differentiation in the marketplace.”

In place for three years now, the PSC Rewards program has proven a great success, Errante says, so much so that the company has plans for expansion.

“We have found that a group of highly dedicated salespeople participate the most in the program,” he says. “The next step will be incorporating ways to put levels of training in the program. The distributors and resellers have to understand the products and have knowledge on how to sell them. Scanners are not the easiest things to sell. But a careful blend of training and incentive could make it a whole lot easier.”