How varying the mix and simplifying your incentives program means greater rewards for YOU!
Did you know that a company can increase sales by 50% by effectively tweaking its incentive programs versus investing the same dollars into advertising? Knowing which levers to pull makes a huge difference in the success rate of incentives. I have seen many creative variations in incentive programs ranging from contests to win cars, point systems, to SPIFFs. I have seen some dazzling programs fizzle out, while other, less exciting programs have increased sales numbers exponentially. I believe the success of a program comes down to four simple, yet significant tips to consider when revamping or launching a new incentive program:
1. Does Your Program Reward Different Segments of the Sales Funnel?
Depending on how your sales process is structured, incentivizing every individual for their role in a business opportunity can be one of the most effective ways to move it expeditiously through the funnel.
- Lead submittal – Gamify early stages with a fun contest or volume contingent reward. If the incentive is cash based or prize value is high, you run the risk of getting a slew of unqualified leads just to claim the incentive.
- Sales call or demo – Provide technical information and offer product demos, if applicable. This part of the process may not be relevant for everyone, as not every channel has an internal sales team and in some cases is linked with lead submittal.
- Quote submission – Reward at this stage to increase conversion rates. It motivates the salesperson to get numbers in front of the prospect, thus increasing the odds of a client pulling the trigger.
- Closed/Won Business – Emphasize incentives not compensations. This stage of the cycle is the most typical time to offer rewards. The trick here is to remember that this is an incentive, not straight compensation. If the standard commission payout is large enough, then a very small additional bonus may not be much of an additional motivator. Specific nuances can influence behavior, such as a payment if the business is closed within a specified time, a new business opportunity, volume incentives, or add-on services.
2. Are Your Incentives Easy to Claim?
Do you have a tool/partner portal? Is the claiming process manual? Or are payouts automatic? Sometimes the culprit to unclaimed incentive dollars is a complicated claiming process. If processing incentive claims puts a strain on your staffing demands, there are many expert, third-party companies that can assist with managing comprehensive incentive programs, from creation assistance to payout. If your organization has a partner portal, adding claim submission via the portal is one of the most convenient and familiar places to navigate. Of course, taking away the entire process of claiming altogether via automatic payout is the easiest for the salesperson, but not without cost and time for the company. In my experience, submitting claims via e-mail or form is the least preferable method, as it is inconsistent, is often inaccurate, and is dependent on assistance.
3. Are Your Incentives Communicated Well and Easy to Understand?
You can’t participate in something you don’t know about, right? Ensuring that all applicable parties know about your new, sparkly SPIFF is key. E-mails, flyers, partner portal homepage, product log-in screens, and newsletters are all good places to promote. Key information to include:
- Products that qualify
- Qualifying sales close dates
- Length of time to claim incentive
- Detailed process instructions
- Incentive amount
- Method of payout
- Processing time
- Exclusions or unique eligibility factors
- Contact information
4. How Long is the Claim Submission to Payment Time?
The more immediate the reward, the better the participation. I have seen the following rewards work well in this manner: gift cards/prizes kept onsite or expedited weekly incentive payouts. The key is to process as quickly as possible to keep momentum.
I hope that by sharing some of these simple reminders, it will inspire you to breathe some new life into your incentive program, resulting in increased abundance for the New Year!