Remember when you were young and asked to help raise money for your youth baseball team or scout troop? The first thing most of us did was scour the rewards page to see how much we needed to sell for the grand prize. Believe it or not, if you ever participated in such a fundraiser, even at a young age, you were engaged in a sales-based incentive program. You saw a prize that you wanted and set a sales goal to get there.
Many employers use similar tactics to encourage salespeople to sell more products. The program could take on many different forms, but as long as you are providing an incentive for specific sales, then it can work. Create an entire branded campaign around the program to reinforce brand awareness to participants. You can even add your logo to the incentive gift so they remember where they got the nice prize.
Here are some tips on implementing your own sales-based incentive programs:
- Determine a sales goal. What is it that you want your organization to accomplish? If you are trying to meet a certain sales number, then incentives based on sales volume work (salespeople win prizes if they sell the most or they can qualify for prizes at certain levels.) You can also use sales-based incentive programs to sell specific products. If you want to reduce inventory on a particular item or heavily promote something new, develop the program around only that product. Provide your sales force with supportive marketing materials and promo items for clients to help them succeed.
- Make the rules easy to understand. Whatever you choose, the rules should be simple enough for your entire sales force to understand and want to participate. The more complicated the program, the less likely anyone will want to participate.
- Rewards must be attainable. An incentive program only works if the reward is truly attainable. Don’t make the sales goal impossible. If it’s your first time, a tiered program may help you determine realistic goals while assuring that at least your lowest level prize will be achieved.
- Make it possible for everyone to win. When creating the contest, make sure everyone is automatically eligible. If you can do it, rewarding multiple prizes will encourage more people to engage with the program. If the program only rewards one winner, those salespeople at the bottom will feel that the prize is unattainable and lose interest quickly.
- Consider multiple incentive offerings. By offering a number of prizes, you’re likely to interest a broader audience. Not everyone is interested in the same thing, so the more prizes you have the more likely there will be something for everyone. This is a great opportunity for branded incentive gifts. Lower tiered prizes could be gift packs such as logoed office supplies, company apparel or a themed gift basket complete with items featuring your logo.
- Keep the length manageable and regularly engage your audience. If a program lasts too long, participants may forget about it or lose interest. Keep the length manageable and communicate with your sales force regularly to give them updates and remind them to participate. Host a kickoff event and provide themed shirts, notepads to track sales and other promotional items to get the team excited about the contest.
- Reward winners as soon as possible and recognize them publicly. Promptly distributing the rewards shows your audience that you care about them and value their commitment to your company. Remember to acknowledge winners in a company newsletter or press release, too. Everyone likes recognition, and seeing a peer gets recognized also helps fuel competition for the next round.
Have you ever hosted or participated in a sales-based incentive program? Share your tips in the comments below or on our Facebook page.