To stay competitive, you have to stay on top of the trends in Sales. Here’s what we’re seeing in the marketplace, and what you should be thinking about when you launch your next program, whether it’s a sales sprint or a year-long program:

  1. Be careful what you wish for. Did you ask your sales force to get sales at any cost? Did it overwhelm your operations team and not bring any repeat business? You want the right customers: the ones who actually want and need your product. That’s the only way you don’t have to pay the price for finding new customers. Every. Single. Time.  Here’s what Yale had to say about it. They also suggest getting your sales people closer to the rest of your business. Action Item: Be clear on what you’re trying to gain from your sales incentive and design your program accordingly.
  1. Short-term wins for long-term gains. The technical term is hyperbolic discounting. In plain English, that means that people will choose a smaller short-term payout, over a bigger long-term payout because it’s hard to stay focused and have faith that the big reward is attainable. But you can harness that instinct to keep your sales incentive engaging.  Action Item: Give smaller rewards early in the program that keep the sales team excited, then consider a mid-program goal to launch them towards a big finish.

sales chart and cash rewards

  1. Don’t make the cash mistake. Especially in a sales organization, it’s easy to fall into the cash trap. But did you know that cash goes to pay the bills and is forgotten. An experience, merchandise, or even gift cards are remembered, appreciated, and given greater value than cash. That’s more effective in building successful sales. There’s a lot of research behind this and you can check it out here. Action Item: Don’t take the easy road. Give rewards that make a real difference.
  1. Go mobile. 77 percent of Americans have smartphones, according to Pew Research. If you’re like me, your phone is with you pretty much wherever you are. It’s the way people live in 2018. Action Item: Your sales force is probably on call 24/7. Be sure that your program is, too, with a mobile app to track sales throughout the campaign.
  1. Keep up with the Joneses. There’s 3.8% unemployment.  Your employees and channel partners have options. They expect you to be at least as good a partner as any of your competitors. Your recognition and incentive programs must stay up to date to compete for talent and mindshare. Action Item: Give your sales people a reason to sell your products and services with industry-leading incentive programs. If you don’t, your competitors will.

Need more information? We can help. You can find us here.

Or, try our white paper: Designing and Implementing and Effective Sales Incentive Program.

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About the author

As Vice President of Engagement 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. Favorite travel destinations: Costa Rica, Iceland, Switzerland, and Maine.

Susan Adams
Vice President of Engagement
sadams@nxlperformance.com