Getting it Right the First Time
Incentive versus long term behavioural change programme
What we're not talking about here are the ongoing motivation and recognition programmes which help to engage your staff and make sure they are all your brand ambassadors – that is an ongoing activity which affects how your people feel about working for the company. These play a key role in recruiting, retaining and engaging people in their daily roles; but they are a longer term cultural initiative. A sales incentive is tactical, usually short-term and designed to recognise specific people for achieving specific outcomes.
Getting it right first time
Key things to consider when setting up a sales incentive:
What do you want to achieve – and does everyone have the knowledge and skills to deliver it?
Are your processes and structures set up so that you can measure and report on the performance? Equally important is to look at how you are going to measure the Return on Investment (ROI); gathering your data at this point will ensure you can compare the "before" and "after" and work out the cost and profitability of those extra sales.
Goal setting - make them SMART. And that includes Realistic! Goals need to be challenging but also realistic. It's no good offering a brand new sports car if no one has the remotest chance of winning it. Vroom's expectancy theory has shown that people will weigh up the effort required versus the likelihood of success – and if the calculations don't add up, they won't take up the challenge.
Communication, communication and communication. We can't say it enough. However amazing your incentive may be, if no one knows about it, then it will fail. And that goes for ongoing communication too. People need to understand how they're doing and what they need to do or change in order to win. Nowadays there are a huge range of media so you can keep in touch with people on the go and ring the changes with a variety of ways to report on progress and remind people of the reward.
Make sure the reward is tailored to the audience; traditional sports based prizes may not appeal to a wider audience so make sure you do your research and offer the right reward – or even better, a portfolio of reward options!
Constant review. Once the hard work of setting up the programme is over, it's easy to get overwhelmed with the next project. But it's vital to the success of the incentive that you regularly measure performance and satisfaction to see whether it is meeting its objectives. And if it isn't, don't be afraid to make changes. The best incentive programmes evolve over time!
Finally, as well as publicising the winners and recognising the achievements at the end, make sure you work out your ROI so that you're ready with your business case for the next sales incentive!
Finally, and we would say this wouldn't we, consider using an agency. They do this every day so should be able to guide you through the common pitfalls. And those with decent platforms can provide a wealth of MI that will help you tweak the campaigns and maximise effectiveness.