It’s time to get your sales incentive strategy in place, so you can crush the competition next year. What are you doing to be sure you have the attention of your sales force, they know what to do, and they're 100% committed to hit your goals? Here are some great examples of what your competition is doing right now:
Your program should include everyone – and I mean everyone – in your channel or your sales team. A channel partner with small sales now may land a big project next year. A junior sales person needs a path to grow into a bigger player. Give everyone a reason to get behind your company and your goals.
One of our distributor clients has had great success this year with a tiered program. Top producers are rewarded with an amazing incentive trip that includes unforgettable experiences and genuinely valuable networking. But those channel partners without sufficient sales to make the trip are not forgotten. They’re part of a program focused on growing smaller partners into big ones. They’re eligible for rewards points for merchandise and gift cards. And if they reach the maximum goal, they can work towards the trip. It’s an approach that’s uncovered increases in sales through the entire network, capturing unexpected sales at the lower end and building relationships for the long term.
Your program has to stay front of mind all year. A launch brochure is forgotten if you don’t follow it up with other media and useful information.
Your competitors are running videos on LinkedIn, encouraging channel partners to sign up for the program. Those with inside sales teams are holding webinars, letting people know what it will be like to win, and delivering advice on succeeding from previous top performers.
In a mobile world, your sales force is on the go. One of our clients is delivering performance tracking to their participants with an online platform, a mobile app, and an emailed eStatement. How are you letting people know if they’re on track?
When people feel the reward is too far away or the goal is unattainable, they quit trying. There goes your incremental increase across the field. The top performers will keep going because that’s what they do. But you’ve got to make it worth the effort for everyone else.
Put milestones in front of everyone. Give them a reason to get from one to the next. One of our clients puts anyone hitting a mid-program goal into a raffle for a travel reward. Another gives gift cards to anyone on pace. And for those hitting the goal early? Challenge them with another goal and an additional reward – a round of golf or a suite for the incentive program? To be competitive, you have to be strategic about giving people reasons to keep striving, no matter what, until the program ends.
What’s the competition doing? Are their top sales people going to Hawaii for a week? Your team probably knows, and your incentive program needs to be just as good or you could be vulnerable to poaching. And channel sales? That’s even more critical. When your channel partners have a choice, the incentive can make the difference. Yours needs to come out on top so you get to keep the share of mind and wallet.
The incentive needs to be worthy of the effort to achieve it, and at least as good as the competition’s. Rules must be simple. Rewards must be attainable. Incentive travel is hands-down the reward of choice for most sales incentive programs. There’s prestige in being at the event. And the experience of a perfectly delivered program is absolutely unforgettable. That’s why our Travel team works so hard to be sure that every participant is treated like the winner they are. They’ll never have a better experience once they win big on your program. And that will be linked to your brand as an employer or partner for the long haul. We’re ready when you are. Let’s work together to design and deliver a program that will crush the competition, be easy to administer, and will represent your brand in the minds of your sales force every day until they achieve their goals. Give us a call or email us at [email protected] and find out how our strategic team can help you drive sales.
As Vice President of Engagement Strategy & Corporate Services at Next Level Performance, Susan serves on the board of the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), and chairs the IRF Research Committee. She has also served on the board of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) and is a past president of the Recognition Council, and a past member of the Performance Improvement Council and the Incentive and Engagement Solution Providers (IESP). She is interested in the strategies and benefits of employee engagement, incentive, and recognition programs. An avid traveler, she is also passionate about the art and science of incentive travel.
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