IMARK Plumbing Now: What key benefits has your company gained by participating on GainShare?
Nick Eleftheriou, Pioneer Industries, City of Commerce, California: Pioneer has seen outstanding results with GainShare, in terms of both sales and developing strong partnerships. In 2021, our sales with GainShare members who hit their goal grew 51%. For 2022 to date, our GainShare customers are up 35% over last year. This success is a result of the new and deeper relationships we’ve been able to build with these customers—essentially, we better understand what they need and make sure we deliver that.
For example, Pioneer has added numerous SKUs to our portfolio to meet the needs of IMARK members and their customers—like custom valve configurations and new bath accessories. We also work hard to maximize the value of IMARK co-op/marketing funds available to members. The right sales promotion at the right time is a great way to boost sales for both Pioneer and the member.
Matt Lemke, PRIER Products, Grandview, Missouri: We know GainShare members outperform (buy more from PRIER) than non-GainShare members. In 2022, GainShare members increased more than 35% vs. 2021 contrasted by non-GainShare members who increased about 10%. The additional GainShare incentive contributed to the dynamic growth, but we also deployed consistent and relevant communications to our GainShare partners. Resulting in the members knowing that PRIER is a partner in their business and aiding their efforts to achieve success. GainShare also provides PRIER an edge over non-approved suppliers.
If quality and delivery and pricing are similar, through GainShare and IMARK rebates, PRIER can offer bonuses others cannot. We still must have a quality product and delivery/availability is still non-negotiable, but GainShare adds an extra dimension for the members.
Barry Walter Jr., Barry E. Walter Sr. Company, Fort Morgan, Colorado: This is our first year offering a GainShare program and the outcomes and reception have been great. Having a GainShare program has opened doors to start serving IMARK members we hadn’t in the past and it has given us an opportunity with current customers to grow our relationship and increase sales. One thing I have noticed is that by offering a GainShare, it puts the member and suppliers in partnership to find areas of growth. Members that are very focused on the IMARK programs and IMARK relationships, in general, come in with a purpose for their GainShare programs. We are very pleased with GainShare and how it has helped us focus on IMARK members, which tend to be our ideal customer type.
IMARK Plumbing Now: How has GainShare aided your sales and marketing efforts for greater awareness on your product offering?
Lemke: Attempting to get time in front of the customer is paramount. We have found our customers prefer to do business with a manufacturer who has their best interests at heart. Being in the group and offering a GainShare plan allows the customer to be more profitable. Knowing they can be more profitable, they are willing to look at what other categories of product PRIER offers such as new products and/or product improvements.
Walter: We are a small family business (like many IMARK members), so we have a limited number of resources for sales and marketing. GainShare has proven to be a great opportunity to force multiply our sales and marketing with IMARK members. Whether it is members looking to grow their IMARK level or gain more rebates, GainShare is “free money” if you are already buying that product somewhere else. It has definitely driven members to be more intentional with their purchasing.
We get more inquiries in both phone calls and emails when a member is looking for a product even if they aren’t sure we make that product. As an added benefit, I have become great friends with members who we weren’t doing business with before. Being a niche company, quite a few of our existing customers had never participated in a GainShare before but this gave them an opportunity to do so. Ted Havel actually had a member or two contact him about their login information just so they could enroll into our GainShare Plan!
Eleftheriou: We encourage our sales team to dedicate time learning about each member’s business—what kinds of jobs are their bread and butter and what kinds of products and support would make those jobs easier. Having room to focus on GainShare members allows our team to make more informed product-mix recommendations and anticipate future needs.
We actively seek out member feedback and have launched new products based on the insight gained from these conversations. Pet-washing stations are a good example. Dedicated dog-washing stations are a popular amenity for the multi-res market. In response, Pioneer now offers a specific group of fixtures that are ideal for this use to make it easier and affordable for members to source.
IMARK Plumbing Now: How has your company communicated and coordinated the GainShare program with your salesforce?
Walter: Being a small family business, most of our sales team is in-house and they are doing the planning and follow up of the IMARK programs. We had help and guidance from Matt Lemke in coming up with our GainShare. He was instrumental in giving us feedback and he was the one that convinced me why we needed to do a GainShare Plan. Relationships are key for us, even relationships with other vendors. After implementation, working with our team to communicate the program to members was easy. We put a little marketing effort into it using our CRM for automated emails and called members that we were doing business with that we knew would benefit from it. There were quite a few members that searched us out after seeing us on the GainShare list.
Eleftheriou: We share monthly GainShare results with our sales team, which empowers them to adapt their approach based on real results. For example, if a member is close to their GainShare target, we reach out to see if we can help them reach it in a way that makes sense for their business.
Lemke: As the members submit their GainShare plans, each regional is notified along with what activities the member wants to pursue for the year. The regionals then work with local reps to schedule time with the members to complete the selected sales and marketing activities such as training, counter days, promotions, new product introduction, etc. Each month our sales team reviews the GainShare Status Report. This data allows us to follow-up directly with our GainShare partners and/or include the local rep to ensure progress is being made.
I also send monthly emails to all GainShare partners alerting them of sales updates made to their GainShare Status Reports. In addition, I use this opportunity to add “exclusive” content like new product introductions and/or PRIER news. Prior to Q4, we update all GainShare partners individually (usually by phone) to alert them where they stand with GainShare and what is needed to hit the next tier.
IMARK Plumbing Now: Please discuss the benefits gained from the Mid-Year Review Planning Tool and how this resource has assisted you and your sales team?
Lemke: Through the Mid-Year Checkup, the IMARK member and PRIER can work together to develop end-of-year tactics designed to hit GainShare targets. In fact, last week an IMARK member was working with the PRIER rep to specifically lay out a plan to hit the max GainShare payout by the end of the year. It looks like that will be very successful. The tool is a good two-way communication channel to work together to hit mutually beneficial goals.
Eleftheriou: Mid-year GainShare reviews are also helpful (and usually very motivating!). They are an opportunity to evaluate what’s working, or not working, while there’s still time left in the year to improve results.
Walter: The Mid-Year Review Planning Tool is a great way for us to get feedback and gauge how we can improve our performance for the IMARK member. It is basically a report card of our sales and marketing efforts and what the member still needs from us. It allows us to address any issues to help the member grow with us and meet their plan goals. It will also be key in analyzing our GainShare Plan for next year to see if it has any holes or what we need to improve upon to be more supportive of the relationships we are building.