Beyond ‘do this, get that’
Traditional sales incentive programs focus almost entirely on carrots—hoping that incentives by themselves will propel people to extra achievement. But extensive research suggests that incentives alone only generate short-term success, can cause some salespeople to “sand bag”, “rob from Peter to pay Paul,” or worse: engage in sales practices that run counter to your organization’s brand and values.
The most successful, sustainable sales performance strategies combine rewards and recognition with your communication and learning strategies. This ensures that your people know what to do, are capable of doing it, and feel inspired by both the awards and their colleagues to perform.
1 | Identify clear results and actions to be promoted and measured to ensure people do what’s necessary to succeed. Having these measures helps determine if your program actually contributed to success.
2 | Train sales managers to coach people regularly—based on each individual’s needs. Provide your managers with the training tools necessary and reward them for inspiring their teams.
3 | Communicate concise tips and success stories regularly so your people can learn from and feel inspired by their colleagues. Conduct pulse surveys to identify potential issues or opportunities.
4 | Design your program to reward both the top performers and the “middle 60%”—based on incremental performance. Use customized leaderboards that highlight achievable actions required to meet every salesperson’s next goal. Create excitement and buzz with carefully designed aspirational rewards designed for your audience. Recognize people in a personal and/or public way based on the personality of the recipient.5 | Monitor the KPIs regularly: participation, engagement and ROI, to identify the need for more application of coaching, communication, and rewards, or to identify any other underlying issue outside of your sales force.