The changing face of sales incentives

Craig Thomas
Director

The changing face of sales incentives

7th December 2018

The practice of using sales incentives to boost productivity and drive sales growth is well established. Most organisations already use incentives as a motivational tool for their own internal sales team, as well as independent channel partners such as dealers, distributors and resellers.

 

However, the nature of sales incentives is evolving - fast. Factors such as technology and the dominance of Millennial lifestyles have meant that sales incentives have changed significantly over recent years.

 

The importance of ease of participation

Technology has created expectations of convenience and ease of participation in any process or system. That includes sales incentive programmes. Traditional structures could be incredibly time consuming and involve paper forms, validation processes and waiting weeks for rewards. Today, the distance between performance and reward is shortened. The most successful sales incentives are designed so that the results are more instant and the process of involvement is simplified for participants.

 

The trend towards mobile

85% of the adult population of the UK now uses a smartphone, surpassing the 78% figure for laptops. We engage more with our 'phones than we do with laptops and desktops. This has created the expectation of instant, mobile access to anything that matters, including incentive programmes.

 

Incentives that go further than post-sale rewards

The traditional incentive structure rewards closed sales. However, today there is much more investment in rewards that are designed to reinforce core values and shape behaviours within your own sales team or your channel partners. The end objective may be the same - increased sales - but the focus is much more on encouraging the behaviours that drive those sales, such as lead follow-up and training. It's no longer all about only rewarding results.

 

A more holistic view of the sales funnel

Sales incentives are also being applied much more widely so that all those who have a role to play in the process of sales are engaged. Not just those closing the sale itself. This holistic approach views the final sale as the result of a team process that may involve everyone - from support personnel to regional managers, all of whom can be incentivised to help improve overall performance.

 

The need to consider the Millennial

The Millennial generation is beginning to dominate the workforce. Their needs and lifestyle choices are very different from those who have gone before. This is the first generation to have grown up with digital technology embedded in their lives and this is how they expect incentives to be administered. This is also a generation used to more regular recognition and rewards that genuinely add value.

 

Reward options really matter

The quality and range of rewards is an essential ingredient in today's sales incentive programmes. This is partly due to the influence of Millennials, and partly as a result of a more competitive employment environment. Diversity in the range of rewards is important - from physical gifts and merchandise through to experiential rewards. As is a structure that gives participants more flexibility and freedom when it comes to choosing how and when to redeem earned rewards.

 

Like any business practice, sales incentive programmes have to evolve to stay effective. Active design smart incentive programmes that will engage your participants at every level. Contact us today to find out more.

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