When the economy goes belly up like it has, the first thought many of our clients have is “How fast can we get an incentive program running”. More often than not, these are hastily conceived and ineffective in the final execution. So sit back, relax, and consider these:
Don’t hand out free tickets to people already standing in line.
Many incentive programs result in rewarding people who would have bought/sold anyway, so all you’re doing is reducing margin and showing no incremental gains.
Define who really controls the sale/purchase and reward that level.
There are at least 3 levels to consider: The customer/end user, the sales rep, or your partner company. Rewarding one or more than one can all be effective, but be sure the level you are targeting will be most effective at otherwise changing behavior. After all, it doesn’t matter how much you reward a sale if the customer isn’t buying, does it? Understand who controls the sale/purchase of your product and focus on that level.
Don’t forget the communications!
From my perspective, most programs succeed or fail not in the design, but in the execution. I have seen some great programs that have really compelling graphics and slick prizes, but have failed because their partners and other stakeholders either didn’t know of the program, thought it was too complex, not relevant to their needs, or details of the program simply got lost in the clutter with the barrage of messaging directed to potential participants from all sides. Decide who needs to be involved to make the program a success and focus on them to make sure they embrace the program.
Equip your stakeholders for success.
Don’t forget the basics, make sure your partners have the sales tools and product understanding to make your program a success. A sales incentive won’t drive sales without a compelling value proposition.
The old adage: Keep It Simple Stupid applies. Don’t make the participation cumbersome- keep the rules basic, and make sure the program is easy to understand and to participate.
Any one of these tips above can be fodder for future entries, so stay tuned.