Trip, merchandise reward everyone

The brief summary of your company's performance to date indicates a definite opportunity to implement a simple yet effective alternative compensation system to support your already successful motivational efforts.We would enjoy working with you to develop a detailed marketing plan once...

The brief summary of your company’s performance to date indicates a definite opportunity to implement a simple yet effective alternative compensation system to support your already successful motivational efforts.

We would enjoy working with you to develop a detailed marketing plan once you have made the decision to move forward with this concept.

The plan would address your corporate objectives, your corporate mission, the profile of each participant, desired return on investment, product mix, quotas, and so on.

However, to give you some direction and to answer some of your questions, we would like to start with the following concepts.

It is clear that you have identified the need to move away from a pure monetary reward system, although money seems to be a key motivator.

We would agree that an alternative compensation program will complement your motivational efforts. Exceptional performance must be recognized with exceptional rewards.

Other issues

We would also like to highlight several other issues before proceeding further:

- In today’s pressure-filled society, there is a growing need to recognize the support organization that delivers the product your sales team has sold.

- We have also recognized the need for training in the launch and management of an incentive program.

- Communications form the backbone of your program. Clear, concise and consistent messages must be communicated at all times.

We encourage communicating with all participants, throughout the planning of the program, to better understand their motivations and to review and get support on quotas.

Your results will be that much better if the audience has been part of the design team.

Based on the high standard of living enjoyed by your sales team and the desire to include spouses or guests in your plan, we would recommend an incentive travel program.

Reward

A trip would reward everyone for a year of hard work. It would give you a chance to bring the team together and share the success of your company.

It would provide a chance for further education (thereby mitigating the taxable benefit issue) and recognition.

The qualifications for the sales aspect of this trip would depend on whether you wish individual targets, team goals or a combination. Targets would be based on units sold or dollar volume due to the high price point of your product.

As this is your first venture into incentive travel, we would like to suggest some guidelines.

The destination should be in keeping with your corporate image. It should be easily accessible. It should not be too elaborate, making it a tough act to follow. We often suggest a three- to four-night program the first time out, as it allows you to build in the future.

Any trip should be designed and fulfilled so that it becomes a dream come true, but going to Paris for a week may not be the right choice for a first trip.

Measurable criteria

For the non-sales audience, we would work with you to establish a variety of measurable criteria which would allow us to include them in the program.

This group provides the support for the sales team. They deliver the product. With the high pressure of meeting customer demands, you need to keep up morale. Happy, motivated people are more likely to provide quality service and products.

We have, in the past, successfully introduced a premium and merchandise program to complement an all-encompassing alternative compensation plan.

This element can be used for the non-sales portion of any given plan, as well as rewarding specific results throughout the year.

These activities might be for individual or team efforts over a particularly difficult selling period, or simply to maintain interest and excitement.

Both the trip and the merchandise would be incorporated into the communications pieces.

As mentioned, the success of any marketing strategy lies with the quality of the communications campaign.

In order to obtain maximum results, we recommend a campaign from launch through to follow-up. All materials used must contain the same message and quality for which your company has become known.

We suggest launching the program at a company gathering at the end of this fiscal year or at the beginning of the new year.

As a launch piece, we encourage the use of video to ensure that the messages are consistent, clear and concise.

It is the purpose of this launch to communicate the goals of the program, the rules, and, of course, to build excitement in the rewards.

A theme/logo must be designed which reflects the program’s objectives and the overall company direction.

Throughout the year, a series of promotions will be undertaken to maintain motivation as well as communicate ongoing results.

If the sales team is aggressive, internal competition can be encouraged by announcing all results. This decision will be determined by your corporate philosophy as some corporations do not encourage internal competition.

Each promotional piece will maintain the same look and be supported by print material of a tangible item (something from the destination, or a premium item.)

As a guideline, 5% to 10% of the budget should be set aside for this area.

Over time, we have found that many incentive programs fail simply because the management team was not committed or lacked training on the management of the concept.

We recommend that you consider a properly structured training program to ensure that the plan is professionally rolled out and that the management team or anyone involved in the roll-out is committed.

As you can see, there are many aspects to engaging in an alternative compensation program.

In answer to your question, ‘Where do we start?’, our reply would be to choose a company with which you feel comfortable and then work together to fulfill the components.

Don Brommet is president of Markham, Ont.-based Partners in Performance. Partners in Performance consists of gtc, (a full-service incentive travel company), Image Management Group, (a full-service rewards and recognition company) and Maximum Productions, (an in-house production facility.)