What makes a good partner when creating your sales incentive program? – Part I

Aug 31, 2021 | Incentives & Recognition, Sales Incentives

Rewarding and recognizing your team is critical to business success. To do this, it’s imperative to create a sales incentive program. A well-crafted sales incentive program can do wonders for building relationships among your employees or channel partners and motivating your team around a common goal. Plus, all of this leads to boosting your bottom line.
There’s much more to creating and executing a successful sales incentive program than simply throwing a contest together and giving the top performers a cash prize. It’s harder than it looks, and homegrown sales incentive programs can stumble. In order to move the needle and really see results, you must turn to the experts for help.
It’s important to have the right team at your side. But how do you choose the right partner? Here’s what you should look for when evaluating your sales incentive program partners:


What technology platform does your partner use for your sales incentive program? This technology platform should include a “product-based” solution that leverages proven technology to enable efficient and effective implementation to meet your needs. Whether you are looking for an off-the-shelf sales incentive program, or a unique solution, the technology foundation is key.
Sales incentive programs should be available on one easy-to-use portal that’s accessible to all participants, whether they are at their desk or on-the-go. This portal should give all participants easy access to program rules (so they know what’s expected of them), easy tracking of all available promotions (to keep participants engaged throughout the process), and the reward types (so they know what they will get in return). Look for platforms that are built around a mobile-first design, which means the most pertinent information is easily accessible from mobile phones.
Speaking of rewards, how are you rewarding your top performers? Cash simply won’t do and multiple studies show it’s not an effective way to motivate your team. Instead, look for sales incentive program partners that reward participants with points. Your participants can redeem their earned points on millions of reward options, like name brand merchandise, gift cards, charitable donations, experiences and event tickets, or even vacations and travel. Better yet, your technology platform should allow for easy redemption of points from your participants’ device of choice.

Planning Skills:

Is your partner keenly focused on your program’s success? This requires a special emphasis on both your program goals and measurement from beginning to end. To establish your program goals, you must not only identify the desired objectives, but also understand any roadblocks to success. Consider all factors, including what’s taking place outside of your incentive program that you may not have control over, but that could negatively impact the ability for participants to perform. For example, current chip shortages in the auto industry or overall labor shortages could negatively impact your team’s success. Environmental factors like extreme weather or storm impact to certain regions could also play a role in derailing your sales incentive program. All of these scenarios must be examined and factored in.
Establishing baselines is critical to program success. Remember, the goal of any sales incentive program is to motivate your team to do more, which leads to exceeding your business goals and increasing your bottom line. You won’t know how far you’ve come, or if you’ve been successful at all, if you don’t establish a baseline at the beginning of the program. A seasoned sales incentive program partner can help with this.
Ongoing monitoring of program results is also a key component to any sales incentive program. Don’t wait until the program is completed to start determining if it was successful. Look for sales incentive program partners who will conduct ongoing monitoring of your program to highlight positives and negatives all along the way. Are certain areas of your organization underachieving? Perhaps more attention needs to be given to ensure they understand the program and know the rules to participate. Is there overachievement among some teams? Celebrate these successes to encourage others to follow suit. None of this course-correction is possible if you wait until the end to measure your program’s success, and this is where your sales incentive program partner proves valuable. They can be consultants that use modeling and analysis to help you achieve a high ROI.

Lynn Frye

Lynn Frye