How to Implement an Incentive Program That Will Work Right Out of the Gate

by: Nichole Gunn December 21, 2017

Learn how to implement an incentive program the right way from the people who put them to work for their clients every day. These tips come from a company with a tried and tested approach to building successful channel incentive programs across multiple industries.

Start a powerful sales incentive plan by following these simple tips:

Establish Your Program’s Objectives

A sales incentive program should have a clearly defined goal. Do you want an increase in sales? An improved reputation? Maybe you want to overtake a competitor in a particular market? The more you know about your objective, the better. Just remember to keep it as simple as possible.

You’ll need concrete examples to share with your partners. Make sure you’re ready to communicate with them in ways they will understand. This really is as simple as ensuring your materials are in the appropriate languages and that online communications are easily accessible or released at times when your partners will be available.

How to Implement an Incentive Program:  Outline Your Sales Incentive Strategy

Communication really is key from the beginning stages of a new incentive program until the conclusion. Without a clear guideline, your partners won't be able to understand your program or put it to work for either of your businesses.

It helps to seek feedback from your partners to formulate a winning plan in their industry and region. Your strategy should include how their customers can present your products to their customers and how they might package them for sale.

Determine How to Measure Performance

Implementing an effective incentive program relies on your ability to set achievable goals. Then establish an easy-to-share method for charting progress. Setting goals that are unreasonably high leave your partners feeling frustrated.

Partners will also avoid an incentive program that is too complicated to understand. Compensation should be as clear as possible. Your partners need to be able to quickly find out how they’re doing and what rewards they’ll be receiving in exchange for their hard work.

When Learning How To Implement an Incentive Program You Must Set Your Budget

Several factors will impact your budget. Some of them make planning more difficult than others. For instance, how long do you intend to run the incentive program? How many partners will take part? Will you have a closed or open-ended budget to fuel incentive activities? Your objectives will determine many of these points for you.

Some good industry guidelines are to spend no less than five percent of your expected compensation for the incentive period on your program. Less than that and you will struggle to connect with your partners. Ten percent of additional projected revenue during the incentive period is the high-end of estimates. However, a variety of potential budget guidelines also give you the flexibility you need when tracking non-sale objectives.

Select Appropriate Rewards

What will motivate your business partners? Tangible goods, certifications, access to premium products and other program benefits all affect them in different ways. It’s up to you to research which make the biggest impact when working toward your program’s goals. Without the motivation to achieve the incentives, your program will fall flat on its face.

It’s a good idea to segment your partners into different groups based on their role in a company – from basic sales guy to the CEO – and plan rewards accordingly. Track and respond to several different milestones at one time to get a comprehensive push by a company toward your combined goals.

For instance, the salesperson you’re dealing with might benefit more from personal certifications and token goods, like promotional clothing items, while the executives might be more interested in accessing special services available to top performing partners, such as special consumer financing programs.

Remember, successful incentive programs are mutually beneficial. They give your partners increased motivation to promote your products – or to promote them in new ways. Rewards should always reinforce your program goals.

Celebrate Partner Accomplishments

Whether you’re hosting a banquet in their honor or giving the company’s top execs extra vacation days for their efforts, taking time to recognize the partners who are promoting your products around the world is an important step.

Recognition counts in some regions much more than in others. It’s something partners will remember during your next event. It can have a big impact on whether future initiatives receive support. In other regions or industries, celebrations are a formality and more of your budget should go toward program rewards.

Discover how to implement an incentive program by watching the people who do it best. Contact our team of experts at Incentive Solutions to learn the latest rewards available to your global partners.