It's the perennial challenge for any business. How do you keep your employees motivated and engaged so that they come to work every day and give you 110 percent? How do you ensure your distributors or channel partners provide your business with loyalty and profitable revenue growth?
The trick, it seems, is to not succumb to the quick and easy commission programs that over time have not proven to be successful and do nothing more than just cost you time and money and effort. Worse still, if your employees walk or your channels take business elsewhere, the incentive program just ends up being one big cost around your neck that is hard to change.
I remember when I was at Sensis (the Yellow Pages company) we had a great sales incentive program that culminated in an annual trip each year to some exotic part of the world. The sales people were motivated by this program to over achieve so much more than if you gave them the cash equivalent for the desired outcomes. Why did the annual trip to Hawaii or the Bahamas or New York or some other amazing place work so much better than other programs? Why were the sales team so engaged that they looked forward each year to making the list of high achievers; so much so that they would sacrifice the equivalent reward in terms of salary increase!
I believe that the answer lies in understanding how sales people behave and what makes them come to work every day wanting to over achieve. If we can somehow capture the essence of what drives outstanding sales behaviour and drive it with a great sale incentive program then surely sales success will follow - assuming you have the right sales people to begin with.
One thing I noticed, for example, was that the involvement of a spouse or partner in the program meant the pressure was on the salesperson both at work and at home! What spouse doesn't want to go to New York next year and so reminds the sales person to work a little harder and longer to qualify and make the trip again and again each year?
What techniques does your business use to incentivise your employees or your sales channel? What works and what does not? I have a list of about 10 - 15 things that I do for my clients that have resulted in sales success, employee engagement and channel loyalty. I am always, of course, adding more to the list from my work with medium to large businesses.
Want to know more? Contact me directly for a discussion on how some of my clients achieve outstanding sales success or employee engagement. Let's have a chat about your sales incentive, employee engagement or channel commission program. Let me know in the comments below what has worked for you. I would welcome your thoughts.