There are a variety of reasons as to why companies use incentive campaigns. From motivating their sales teams to enticing their audiences to make purchases, incentive programs have their advantages. It is important to remember, however, that what worked five years ago in regards to effective incentives very well may not work in today’s age and time.
In an article found in the Channel Marketer Report, Dan Hawtof, “urges companies not to incentivize all sales members or partners the same way.” It is imperative, he suggests, that incentive campaigns and programs evolve and adapt to the current preferences of recipients. As preferences change, so should the incentives. Let’s look at seven ways in which sales incentives are changing.
1) Sales Incentive Campaigns Are for so Much More
In the past, sales incentives were meant to close sales and that was about it. One objective. One goal. To close a sale. Nowadays, however, it has become about so much more than just driving sales. And while companies are moving past the traditional SPIF model, we are seeing how they are shifting their investment from a primary focus on sales incentives to focusing on various behaviors that move consumers closer to the sales process. Incentive purposes are expanding and so are audiences’ incentive preferences and expectations. Incremental incentives are becoming very popular and are encouraging positive sales behaviors; this is especially seen in businesses that have long sales cycles. See, it is these incentives and incremental incentives that encourage more engagement throughout the entire sales cycle.
2) Incentives Can Be for Anyone
From the customer to the sales rep to the marketing specialist, incentives can be for anyone. There are so many people that take part in a sales process, and each one should be rewarded. When you create a channel partner’s sales ecosystem, it becomes clear who plays a role in the sales process. This is why it is so pertinent that you define your sales ecosystem and incentivize each partner accordingly. From regional managers to support personnel, tailored incentives should be offered to each entity. How are tailored incentives created? Well, it first starts with partnering with the right sales incentives provider. This provider should be able to help you pinpoint your various audiences (the people you are wanting to incentive) and then create unique incentives that boost engagement and satisfy their incentive preferences.
3) Incentives Need to Be Simple
Over the years, it has become easy to see just how difficult incentive programs can truly be. Nowadays, though, to keep participants engaged and active, they want an incentive program to be as simple as possible. If the incentive campaign is time-consuming and cumbersome, you can count out any participants. The quicker the incentive process can take place, the better. With this in mind, you will want the incentive process to take place online, with access being made via a computer or smartphone. The easier, the better.
4) The Easier the Access, the Higher the Engagement
Mobile devices have really shaken up the incentive and sales incentives industry. No matter who the recipients are of your incentive offers, they will prefer to access them via a smart device. From administering programs to accessing their claim status, you will want to make sure your sales incentives and incentives come in mobile form and provide easy, convenient access to the recipients.
5) They Want More Incentive Options
The more options, the better. The more ways to use incentives, the better. The more features that incentives have, the better. Do you see a pattern here? The more, the better! No matter the incentives and sales incentives that you are offering, you need to make sure they can be customized to meet your audiences’ needs. Recipients want flexibility, and this is exactly what you need to provide them with; flexible options for using their incentives. For example, let’s say you have an incentive of two nights free in a hotel in Florida. You will want to make sure you offer at least three hotel options during any part of the year; this gives recipients a lot of flexibility and freedom in using the incentive, which will go a long way in enhancing engagement and satisfying their incentive preferences.
6) The Incentive Game is Changing
Millennials are definitely changing the incentive and sales incentives playing field. The lifestyle of Millennials is the primary reason as to why incentive preferences are changing. In fact, their lifestyles are quite unique when compared to those of generations before them. Millennials, although they work long hours, are often found working from home. They spend a lot of time traveling and have a unique way of spending their incentives. As mentioned before, they prefer flexibility. Just because they are home one week working from their home office doesn’t mean they will be doing the same the next week. Sales teams and partners are often on the go, and the incentives that you provide to them needs to be accessible and usable on the go as well.
7) Hybrid Incentive Approaches are Becoming More Common
While some companies like to incentivize on a company-wide or individual basis, very few have rewarded on a combined basis. That is all changing, though. Hybrid incentive processes are becoming much more popular and for a very good reason — they are seeing great results. Organizational incentives are offered for teams being able to meet specified goals. The individual incentives are offered to those who excel in the roles they play within the sales cycle. Having both incentive approaches allows the entire company to benefit, while those who work the hardest are rewarded with more incentives. It’s a win-win for everyone.
The purpose behind incentive campaigns is to influence positive sales behaviors. With this in mind, you should be asking yourself if your incentive program is evolving to meet your organizational needs and employee/customer preferences. If it’s not, it’s time for a change.