Fundamental Toughness

By Malcolm Fleschner

Whether you’re coaching a little league baseball team, running a volunteer fire department or coordinating a sales incentive program, when things begin to go awry one solution always remains: get back to the fundamentals. According to the experts at American Express Incentive Services (AEIS), every sales incentive program must consider these basic factors.

  • Performance goals should be clearly understood by all the participants and considered achievable.
  • Past programs should provide a blueprint for understanding what works effectively and what doesn’t with the crowd you’re trying to motivate.
  • Both at the outset and during the contest it is management’s responsibility to communicate what the members of the sales force are expected to do.
  • Rewards do not generate excitement on their own. The sales manager or sales vice president must talk up the prizes and sustain interest through ongoing reminders.
  • Participants should receive regular information about how well they’re progressing toward achieving goals.
  • Though it should go without saying, it bears reminding: rewards and recognition that are offered must be desirable or they will not drive the necessary goal achievement.

    Structure also is an important consideration because it will be a determining factor in the success of your program. AEIS suggests you ask the following questions.

  • From the company’s perspective, will the budget allocated for the contest generate a satisfactory return on investment?
  • From the salespeople’s perspective, is the reward enough of an enticement to put forth the extra effort necessary to win?
  • Does the program offer rewards frequently enough to sustain long-term interest and attention on the incentive program?

    By considering these factors and providing thoughtful answers to these questions before designing your team’s next program, you’ll be well ahead of the pack when creating a dynamic, compelling and motivational incentive.