3 Keys To A More Competitive Incentive Program

As any business leader will tell you, there isn’t a universal formula for the perfect incentive program. What might be an effective program in one industry or company may not translate to a different business context. And in a world where employees have such unique demands and expectations, organizations simply can’t take this cookie-cutter approach.

That’s why a custom approach to incentive strategy is required in 2016 and beyond. It’s up to you to figure out which program type and incentive structure will work best for your organization, then execute these strategic objectives at scale. Let’s look at a few key steps that will help you build a more competitive incentive program specific to your business.

1. Discover motivating factors: 

Before investing in any business initiative, you need to perform a thorough discovery and investigation, and incentive programs are no different. Take the time to gather opinions and preferences from the workforce, and do your research to see what incentives truly motivate your unique staff.

Of course, incentives will vary from one department to the next and across different sales channels. Work with stakeholders from all corners of the company to gather data and map out a preliminary strategy that addresses these nuances.

For instance, a tire distributor will have a different incentive structure than an appliance manufacturer based on the type, scale and nature of the products being sold. It’s up to program leaders to set up these incentive dynamics in a way that best suits the channel in question and the business priorities of the vendors themselves.

The best way to easily source feedback and guide the design of your next program is to leverage your previous programs. How you access this data will depend on your incentive program management software, but begin by collecting as much relevant data as possible related to each claim. Over time, your past program data will point the way toward best practices and most effective next steps.

2. Leverage an incentive solution: 

To get your incentive systems up and running, you need a centralized platform from which to operate. This is critically important if you want to improve the efficiency of your program, speed up claims processes and ensure flexibility for future adjustments to your game plan. Without a single point of command, a new program may not fulfill its potential.

“Incentives insights lead to smarter business decisions.”

There are more advantages to having an all-in-one channel incentives management solution. For example, you’ll have an easier time governing these programs from a financial perspective, balancing costs with outcomes in a more transparent way. You can even track the impact of your incentive strategy using metrics such as time to purchase, as well as employee and customer loyalty.

Finally, you want your solution to support a full spectrum of incentive programs, whether they be SPIFFs, sell-through allowances or training modules. When you can manage these incentives from one software platform, you will have the visibility and control you need to combat risk and maximize the impact of your programs.

3. Refine programs continuously: 

You may be on the right track with your current incentive program, but as employee priorities shift with time, you’ll need to adjust your strategy in stride. Use your incentive solution’s reporting and analytics functions to see which channel incentives are positively affecting your bottom-line results and refine your strategies accordingly. Again – the way forward lies within your program data and the patterns you project from the past onto the future.

The best incentive management solutions will not only help you manage programs, but they will also assist in actively improving business development into new territories and with various product lines. It’s about more than incentives – it’s about a brighter future for your business.

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