Companies in the U.S. spend $90 billion on incentive programs and rewards each year to boost business and keep everyone who works for them happy. So shouldn't these efforts be working? On the one hand, job satisfaction is on an upward trend, but on the other hand, it's still not where it used to be - leaving room for improvement. Is your channel incentive program failing to motivate your sales reps? If so, maybe the fault lies in one or more of the following areas:
1. Uninspiring Rewards
Are you cutting corners by offering cheap, unappealing rewards to your sales representatives? It's a common mistake, and one that ends up costing money. If the incentives you're offering don't excite or inspire your team, your people will not go out of their way to meet set goals and objectives. That impacts your bottom line on the sales side, making the poorly performing incentive program a wasted expense. It's a lose-lose proposition. Instead, offer your people rewards that are truly rewarding. Dispense of the price markups, outdated plaques and weird gadgets they neither want nor need.
2. Standardized Incentives
Even if you understand the importance of offering incentives and rewards that have value to your reps, do you know what motivates them? It most likely isn't the same for everyone. Generational, financial and even gender differences can impact what your team members find valuable enough incentives to perform. If you're limiting the choice of your rewards, you're probably leaving a lot of people out. Work some variety into the mix to ensure that there's something for everyone.
3. Complicated Programs
How difficult is it to participate in your company's channel incentive program? Are there forms, steps and waiting periods? Can participants easily check on their performance metrics and how close they are to meeting goals and earning rewards? If the whole thing is a headache and too complicated, it won't work. Your program needs to encourage participation rather than deter it.
4. Poorly Researched KPIs
Are you researching and tracking key performance indicators? Well-researched KPIs offer invaluable data on how your teams and individual members are performing, how they're applying their skills and whether they're meeting or missing goals and milestones. Because performance is the driving factor of sales incentive programs, the data measuring needs to be precise. Base your goals and objectives on accurate KPIs. Otherwise, you'll just be spinning your wheels and throwing darts in the dark.
5. Unrealistic Sales Goals
This one should go without saying, but unfortunately, it's another common mistake. Many businesses operate under the mistaken idea that continually raising sales goals inspires their representatives to perform better. If those goals are unrealistic and not supported by real data, however, this approach usually has the opposite effect. Ultimately, not meeting goals demoralizes the team and motivation is lost. At this time, workers will often go looking for a new job. Be realistic in your goal setting to ensure it inspires your reps to perform and compete for attainable rewards and incentives.
6. Choosing Rigidity Over Flexibility
Adaptability is key in a successful channel incentive program. If you're monitoring and tracking KPIs and setting realistic, research-based goals, change is inevitable. But if you're locked into a rigid setup, what will you do when circumstances change and your team needs to be responsive? A flexible program allows you to make changes when necessary and delivers the message that your people are being heard and accommodated. This will help to ensure that they stay motivated.
7. Delayed Rewards
In sales, what happens when a prospect wants to "think it over"? Typically, that sale is lost. A good salesman closes the first time, because delaying that close leads to failure. But that's not the only place in sales where delay is a bad thing. If your representatives are waiting far too long for their rewards, the program fails to be an incentive. You expect verifiable results, not promises, from your people. Treat them with the same respect, and deliver a return on their successes as soon as possible with a program that doesn't have unnecessary built-in delays for rewards delivery.
8. Focusing on Temporary Results Instead of Changing Behavior
Are you encouraging short-lived results over true behavioral changes? Contests are fun, and they can rev up a sales team to meet a specific goal when business is lagging. But this approach doesn't impact behavior over the long term. Your program needs to drive change in how your reps perform their job every day. It should help them want to become more effective salespersons. This approach is key to permanent change that inspires success.
9. Failing to Build Trust
If you want a motivated team that remains loyal to your company, trust is imperative. It doesn't matter how exciting and snazzy the rewards you offer through your program are if trust, respect and communication aren't part of the relationship you build with your reps. Be fair and honest, and deliver on your promises. Communicate issues when they arise, and treat reps with the respect they deserve. They're far more likely to do their best when they feel appreciated and valued.
10. Expecting Incentive Programs to "Do It All"
Finally, understand that even the best channel incentive programs won't deliver stunning results if more issues exist. Products, services, support, company culture and other factors can and do impact how well your team performs as well as how successful you'll be at retaining top talent. These programs are a tool that can impact performance, loyalty and retention. But you must do the rest.
Put a channel incentive program designed to truly motivate permanent behavioral changes in place to help both your business and your sales team. Talk to the professionals at CoreCentive, and learn how we design personalized solutions that can motivate your team players.