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March 4, 2019

Does your incentive plan have a purpose?

At MotivAction we like to say, “design around your goals and let nothing muddy those waters”.  It’s true in any program we design, whether it’s for employee engagement, a meeting, conference or event, and especially with a sales incentive program.

We see many organizations spending excessive amounts on sales incentives without a focus on the end in mind. A sticky-note session or two with the right stakeholders can go a long way in crystallizing your goals so that when the design process kicks off, you know you are moving forward in lockstep. Below are a few thoughts to noodle as you begin the design phase of your incentive:

Are you leading with a plan, or just focused on the wow? In a world of endless possibilities, there are many shiny objects that can derail your plan. Start by defining your objectives, then keep sight of them and act only on the tactics that will help you most effectively achieve them. There will be plenty of good ideas in every brainstorm — but only a handful will be suitable for your purpose. Use only the ones that breathe real life into your strategy. Save the others for another program at another time.

Are you working from the inside out? Does your program drive alignment throughout the organization? It’s nice to reward your performers, but there’s more to it than that. Start with engagement across the workforce, create programs that motivate the middle to excel, and think of the top tier awards as a top performer loyalty play.

Are you driving long-term stability or just short-term satisfaction? Does your incentive strategy lay the foundation for future organizational success, or simply reward the Now? Think about things like role-to-the-goal initiatives that reward long-term behavior, coupled with period-based incentives that address fluctuations in the business. And tie your sales team incentives to your customer loyalty strategy to set your organization up for long-term success.

Can you reach the stakeholders who matter the most? In some organizations it’s enough to motivate management. But oftentimes you have to reach the frontline to truly impact your objectives – for instance, a gas station attendant or retail associate. With a strong assortment of engagement tactics, a full reward catalog and a mobile phone number, there’s a way to motivate nearly any stakeholder in an organization.

With defined objectives and a little passion and creativity, there are few barriers to success in today’s incentive world. We probably have a few ideas that can elevate your plan already.