10 key considerations when designing your sales incentive programme

10 key considerations when designing your sales incentive programme

The most common mistake in implementing sales incentive programmes is to look at the programme as a simple “do this and get that” proposition. Creating a successful sales incentive requires taking time to consider the specific objectives, the target audience and how the programme will be communicated.

These 10 essential considerations will help you build a sales incentive strategy to deliver your objectives and measure your results.

  1. Why are you using an incentive programme and what is it designed to achieve?
    Consider both your purpose – for example, improving teamwork – and your programme objectives, such as an increase in sales or sign-ups.
  2. Who are the incentives aimed it?
    Like any good strategy think about the audience it’s aimed at – who they are, what do they want and what will motivate them.
  3. What are the current obstacles?
    Find out what is currently preventing goals from being achieved and make sure you have a good understanding of what might stop your intended audience from taking part.
  4. What is the right structure likely to be?
    There are multiple factors to consider here. From what the goals of the programme are and how participants can achieve them, to whether you have “all or nothing” targets, close-ended or fixed reward structures.
  5. How will essential communication be achieved?
    You might have the most beautifully designed sales incentive programme in the world, but if none of your participants know about it then it’s not going to be very effective. Design a communication strategy to introduce the programme, sell it to the participants, provide the necessary education, keep motivation levels high and report on success.
  6. Which incentives will work best?
    Cash is a common choice but has little emotional impact and non-cash rewards are often perceived to have more overall value. So, using rewards such as travel or experiences can often be more motivating for participants.
  7. How much can you spend?
    Incentives that deliver ROI are based on realistic budgets that make it easy to see where the programme is justifiable. Budgets need to be broken down into setting up the programme, ongoing administration and the value of rewards – not forgetting that all-important element of communication.
  8. How will you measure programme success?
    This might be in terms of individual success – for example, numerical sales targets. Or the impact on the organisation as a whole – for example, a noticeable increase in overall sales. Consider whether the programme should be measured against non-financial as well as financial goals, such as more newsletter sign-ups.
  9. How will you evaluate programme administration?
    These are the benchmarks against which you’ll be able to measure whether the programme is creating a heavy administrative burden or integrating easily.
  10. Where will you seek feedback and conclusions?
    A lot of qualitative data can be drawn from business results, but this should be backed-up by quantitative sources, such as participant surveys.


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