How To Succeed in 6 Simple Steps
Key tips for success
First of all, your programme needs to stand out; it has competition. You need strong branding, a catchy title and interesting (and fun) communications. No one is going to read pages of copy and rules – keep it simple and motivating! To encourage people to sign up, why not include a "fast start" so that everyone can hit the ground running?
Set clear, achievable objectives for participants so that they understand exactly what they need to do. If you can, include a bit of healthy competition as most salespeople thrive on this! An alternative is to offer a tiered structure where people can choose their own targets – you'll be surprised how many people will sign up to a stretching target if the kudos for achieving it, and the reward, are sufficiently appealing.
"Launch and leave " is not an option! Don't let people forget how interesting the incentive is. Use social media, online communication and even old-fashioned "snail mail" to ring the changes and keep people talking. Tracking performance – of course, once the programme is underway, you need to keep people informed of how they're doing. As a business tool it's also vital so that you measure engagement and see if performance is flagging or exceeding expectations, and take the necessary action.
These should be both flexible and aspirational and most importantly, need to reflect your audience so you need to do your homework and find out exactly who you are trying to motivate. Reward catalogues often work well as they can offer everything from merchandise to events, special days out and even a year's supply of chocolate. One of our most successful incentives was based on people choosing their own reward and being given a target to obtain it. With regular reminders of what they were aiming for, individuals felt empowered and motivated!
Also, think about whether you want to create a top performers' league to recognise those people who are offering your business most support. A hosted event or weekend away may be the perfect means to lock in their loyalty.
Most incentives nowadays are run online and it's relatively simple to add in an element of training so that people can learn more about your products or attend courses and earn extra points or league ranking for doing so. This builds up knowledge within your channel partners and ensures people are confident in selling your product.
Whilst this should be an ongoing process, you will also need to review the programme afterwards, carry out some research with the audience and calculate the return on investment. Find out what worked and what didn't and prepare for the next one! Running the right channel incentive is never easy but if you focus on the key requirements and make sure you research your audience then you are well on the way to developing a mutually beneficial long term relationship with your business partners.