5 Steps to a Successful Incentives Program

Posted by Kevin Chamberlain

Every business faces competition within its sector, so identifying your USP or finding some differentiating factor is vital to stay ahead. Customer-facing teams will feel this most intensely, which means your salespeople are usually the ones under pressure trying to maintain customer relationships in a highly competitive marketplace.

This is what makes staff recognition so valuable. Motivating sales teams and making sure they’re enthusiastic about winning business can make a genuine difference to your status, positioning you as a market leader.

1. Personalization

A successful sales recognition program will encourage your teams to perform at optimal level by giving them designated rewards for their achievements. It works by setting targets that are associated with an award, so that by reaching their target they will also achieve their prize, which makes reaching the target an even more attractive proposition.

For the best results, rewards should be made personal. Finding a single reward that everyone will want is almost impossible. To motivate everyone, rewards should be customized. The more your employees want the awards being offered, the harder they will work to achieve them. It’s worth making the effort to find out what drives each staff member and taking the time to develop good relationships with individuals.

2. Offering choice

Reward programs providing a range of awards that can be changed and updated bring an array of benefits for both the employer and employees. The more rewards you can make available, the more likely you are to find something that will motivate everyone on you team.

A wider selection also allows for rewards to rotate and update, so there is always something new being offered keeping it fresh. This approach also makes it possible to establish a tiered system of rewards, so that prizes of increasing value can be offered. This enables staff to work towards different and more valuable rewards as they progress or climb the career ladder. And again, this helps to maintain interest and motivation.

3. Friendly competition

It’s well known that sales people are naturally competitive, so implementing a program that lets individuals work towards their own awards will encourage friendly competition in the workplace. As long as it is carefully managed, this can provide a useful additional form of motivation.

It does need to be monitored and managed to be sure that team spirit doesn’t suffer as a result. In fact an incentives program will boost morale overall, because the rewards are available for all staff and not a select few. It is a really positive way of creating balance in the office, placing everyone on an even playing field and empowering them to achieve their best work.

4. Communication is key

Rewards programs generally enhance a company’s internal communications as they create opportunities to interact with the workforce. Management needs to explain what’s being offered and staff need to communicate their results back to the top.

There’s also the chance for public praise and recognition when targets are met and awards are presented, so communications are not only more frequent, but they are broadly positive too. This acts as an added motivator because, as staff sees individuals receiving praise and prizes, they will be driven to work harder to attain their own winning results, all of which leads to excellent employee engagement in the process.

5. In the know

As your sales teams become more focused on targets, they will want to better their own performance, which leads to improved product knowledge. The desire to win customers and hit numbers means they really need to know their products and services inside out.

A natural side-effect of this is enhanced engagement, as teams become more informed and better-equipped to convince customers. Overall, service will improve, which leads to happy customers who are likely to speak well of your business. Word of mouth recommendation is a powerful thing and the external perception of your company may very well be on the rise.

Providing staff with a personal reason to strive for their targets can only enhance your own business results; the better your staff perform, the better your business performs. Rewards programs improve sales and engagement, boost brand awareness and generally provide a rise in customer loyalty too.  It’s a great way to recognize staff effort and award a bit of a bonus to those going above and beyond for your business. Employees will certainly feel appreciated, which leads to loyalty and improves staff retention. When your staff wants to succeed, their performance will naturally excel. As customers reap the benefits of this, your profits will see them too.