Appraising a Sales Incentive Plan Design Before You Hire an Incentive Provider

by: Steve Damerow May 24, 2017

A lot goes into the preparation of an effective sales incentive plan design. When you begin to evaluate various incentive plan providers, carefully assess all the details of the plans they offer to see if they line up with what you have in mind for your plan design. In the end, you will want to choose a company that has proven experience, satisfied clients, and the infrastructure to provide all the technical support you will need moving forward.

In a successful partnership between the incentive provider and the client, the incentive plan design will be dynamic and versatile. As time goes on and the client’s needs change, the incentive program provider should be willing and able to make the necessary changes to help the client stay relevant. This may mean making tweaks to the plan design or completely revamping it. Either way, flexibility is key.

As you consider how your business may grow and change from year to year, it’s important to find a company that isn’t afraid to grow and change right along with you. It’s not a one-and-done task when it comes to effective sales incentive plan design, so be sure the company you choose is up to the job.

Sales Incentive Plan Design that Meets Your Goals

The incentive provider you choose to work with should be in this business for the long run, just as you are. Even if your only project right now is a short-term promotion to bring in new customers, consider the fact that this will probably not be your last campaign. Whether it’s to boost employee performance, increase your client base or serve as a B2B promotion, have a plan in mind for the next step. You don’t need to create an entire strategy for the next five years. But you need a place to begin and then you must keep thinking ahead. The right company will guide you in the process and help you to take a proactive approach.

Select a plan designer who will work with you to achieve your stated goals as well as those related to future growth. The provider should have the technical ability to put your goals into action, whether it’s today, next year or five years from now. Keep in mind that as you reach out to your customers, business associates or employees with your incentive program, it will begin to change their behavior. Whether it’s an improved ordering process or creating incentive for employees to make more sales, these are some of the results you should see if your incentive plan is working. Your recognition, incentive or bonus plan should follow your own company's character and goals.

The beginning point for an incentive plan is to be sure it fits in with company goals, strategies and budget. Then identify which areas these plans will address. This could mean setting a goal for production numbers or increasing employee productivity. Keep the plan specific to easily monitor results.

Determining Performance to Measure Incentive Plans

Be sure your incentive plan has clear methods for measuring design performance from the start. Good communication between your company and the incentive program designer is a must here. Find out how the proposed design will handle measuring performance on a continual basis. This includes evaluation of basic operations, how the program is performing financially, how to address problems that arise and whether the plan is actually meeting the goals. If not, what will they do?

Discuss with any proposed provider how they will handle each of these factors so you’ll know what you can expect. Hopefully, the incentive provider has the experience and technical ability to change direction when needed, but find out up front how this will affect your expenses. How much flexibility is there in the original program’s plan and how much it will cost to make alterations as you go along? There are set up fees to get you going with your incentive program, but keeping it relevant as behavior changes might incur extra costs. Some companies do not charge for technology already in place, while others do.

Know What You Are Paying For When Ordering a Sales Incentive Program

As with anything, the bottom line in creating a sales incentive plan design is to know what you’re getting. You’re in this business for the long haul, so you want a provider with a good track record that will still be around for many years. Document everything from the beginning, including incentives offered, set up fees, the type of technical support and periodic evaluations. Ask ahead of time exactly what services they include and what types of additional services are available. If you are signing up for a specific type of package, such as gift cards, group travel or a reward and point system, find out the cost for moving into a new category in the future. With good communication, your program design will be dynamic and flow according to the reports and periodic evaluations.

We’re ready to help you get started with the best incentive program – contact us today!