A strategically planned, well-executed incentive plan is an enormously valuable tool available to sales and marketing executives to help increase revenue and brand loyalty. They’re designed to create a demand and stimulate an action to buy.
If executed properly, a sales incentive program can be a substantial competitive advantage for your company. Yet the fundamental problem still exists: sales incentives are structurally and strategically much the same as they were 30 years ago…before the Internet erupted. Your campaign should be smoothly executed and you should have an effective program. Therefore we’ve crafted three key components to turn your incentive programs into a competitive advantage:
1. Be strategic.
Customize your programs and get intentional about every dollar in your marketing spend to get your greatest ROI. You should be asking yourself: When I run a sales incentive, rebate or co-op program, do I run it the same way nationally? Am I considering geographical differences? Channel differences? Seasonal changes? And even market dealer/retailed adjustments? If you aren’t then you’re missing a huge opportunity.
Sales and marketing managers today have access to data which helps aid in targeting the right audiences. You can increase the value of channel marketing dollars by using data to your advantage and create specific targeted programs.
Pro-tip: Create sales incentive programs that address unique business needs in a local market, that also recognize a local problem or opportunity or the local social/economic graph – and do that nationally. Imagine how effective that would be.
2. Be flexible.
Be committed to the program outcome not the program specifics for maximum effectiveness.
The availability of new information and/or changes in major socio-economic conditions can drastically impact the effectiveness of your incentives program for any number of reasons. You have to be prepared to adjust your program specifics to achieve the desired sales results.
The flexibility to make small but significant changes will add a very personal element to your incentive programs and will have an impact on brand affinity, loyalty and excitement all which contribute to increased sales.
3. Be responsive
Create and execute changes or new programs within 48 hours to capitalize on opportunity.
In order to be successful you must have a highly responsive incentive strategy paired with a system that is able to easily and quickly implement desired changes.
As an example, imagine a sales associate is struggling with a certain channel, territory, or even a specific store. You should be able to execute a sales incentive program within 48 hours to fix the problem. It’s best practice.
However, responding to problems is only one component to being responsive. Another is a proactive strategy and systems that allow you to capitalize on opportunities that present themselves before your competition has time to react.
Regardless of what industry you are operating in, business now is just too competitive to be running archaic systems and programs that are not giving you an edge. You should be leveraging an automated vendor, one that allows you to perform strategically and efficiently.