Tech Savvy Incentives

By Malcolm Fleschner

The Sony Corporation has a wealth of experience with sales incentive programs that seek to motivate its own global sales force. They also know a lot about providing enticing and valued prizes for other organizations’ contests.

As Sony’s experts point out, electronics make ideal incentive prizes because there’s something for everyone, from a plasma TV for the baby boomer rep who seems to have everything or a digital camera for the tech-savvy Gen X rep who likes to keep up with the latest gadgets.

That said, there’s more to running an effective sales incentive program than just tossing an electronics catalog on the table at a sales meeting and yelling: Go get ’em! Sony suggests the following tips for effectively using electronics to maximize a contest’s motivational impact.

1. Since sales professionals have plenty of experience with sales incentive programs and are usually up on changing technology, try to choose items that are newer or that have more innovative bells and whistles. The point of an incentive prize often is to offer items reps likely wouldn’t purchase for themselves, so don’t go with a stripped-down, bottom-of-the-line model.

2. The value of the item you choose should be approximately 3% to 5% of the income participants receive during the contest’s duration.

3. If your sales team is composed of folks of different ages, backgrounds and interests, make sure your awards platform appeals to all their diverse lifestyles. Also, because family and friends play a role in motivating salespeople, try to choose items that can be appreciated by many people at once.

4. For short-term incentives, don’t limit yourself to small-ticket items. Include a few that require a serious stretch to win and your reps might surprise you with their efforts.

5. Brands do carry weight with participants. So even if you can get a small discount by going with a generic or no-name manufacturer, make sure the cost savings are worth what you may give up in brand-name appeal among the contest’s participants.