Beat the Competition: Top Performing Manufacturer Incentives

August 10, 2020

No doubt about it. Manufacturing companies have been put under pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic. To make a strong comeback, now’s the time to renew your focus on motivation fundamentals and get strategic about sales, channel partners, and customer loyalty. To shed more light on Manufacturer incentives and best practices, the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) has released new research revealing What Top Performing Manufacturing Companies Do Differently in Incentives and Rewards. Here are four things you should know:

Successful Senior Leaders Support Manufacturer Incentives

In Top Performing Manufacturing companies, the IRF found that 98% have strong support for their incentive programs by senior leaders. The executives in these best-in-class manufacturers know that non-cash incentives are effective and get the results they need from increased sales to improved customer loyalty.

Reach Beats Exclusivity

Across all kinds of companies, the research consistently shows that successful companies go broad with their incentives. That means they are not just rewarding the very top salespeople. They are also rewarding for other desired outcomes, including purchasing growth of small to mid-size customers.

Fair, Simple Programs Get Results

Manufacturer incentive programs are becoming simpler.  Top Performing Manufacturers are increasingly making sure that rules are clear and easy to understand.  What’s more, rewards are given based on objective qualifications.

That’s consistent with best practices we recommend to our clients. We tell them to make it FAST (Fair, Achievable, Simple to Understand, and Tied to Objectives) to get the best out of the target audience. After all, when people know what to do, think that they can, and have no doubt the rules are fair, they’re more likely to get engaged with your program.

Choice is Motivating

According to the research, 90% of Top Performing Manufacturers offer incentive trips to their very best channel partners and customers. (Reality check: We know that’s complicated right now, but we also know that Manufacturers are booking Travel programs in 2021 and 2022.  When our Manufacturer clients are not able to travel, they are pivoting to points programs to deliver recognition and rewards to program winners).

Additionally, the IRF found that “a key differentiator … is the priority placed on flexibility of tangible rewards. Top Performers were nearly twice as likely to list this as their most important consideration when giving merchandise or gift cards.” Top Performing Manufacturers know that there’s power in choice. People are more motivated to chase after a goal when they know the reward will be personally meaningful. Nothing can provide more choice than a points platform with a robust Rewards Mall.

As the economy recovers, competition will be fierce. There’s no better time to set updated goals and design a program grounded in the strategies of Top Performing Manufacturer incentives.

Have questions about the research? I’m honored to be an IRF Trustee and to chair the Research committee. I’m available to talk things through or point you in the right direction any time.

Need information about strategies and tools to help you stay – or become – a Top Performing Manufacturer? Let us know. We’d be happy to help.

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