Motivating sales people to sell more of the right products at the right time can be a challenging, not to mention expensive exercise. It requires careful planning and organisation to achieve positive results and a good return on investment. However, there are tools available to make this process easier, such as online incentive and rewards platforms.

Channel marketers can maximise sales partner engagement by deploying the targets, trackers and themes incorporated in tools like these and, ultimately, obtain the desired results while having a lot of fun. Here are some key points for your sales incentive programmes.

Sales people need motivation and, whilst a rewards and incentives programme is an ideal route to this, you might need to offer a bit of encouragement to get them started:
• Offering desirable prizes is one thing, but sales staff respond extremely well to a bit of healthy competition.
• Setting clear, achievable targets during a promotion creates focus and drives excitement, which in turn boosts engagement and has an immediate impact on seller behaviour.
• How you choose to create the spirit of competition is up to you and can be driven by your rewards programme.

Incentives platforms that feature a points banking system make it easy to set targets, which drive enthusiasm across the board:
• If participants know that each individual’s efforts will be rewarded incrementally, they will be more motivated to pursue every sale, rather than being demotivated by targets they perceive as too high.
• You can set your incentive platform to log (and recognise) each sale at various milestones as the campaign progresses; for example seller of the day / week, number of sales versus value of sales. This approach will also facilitate easy measurement of the effectiveness of your promotion and report on its achievements, as points can be easily logged and totted up.
• Consider team awards that share the accolades when targets are achieved.

Incorporating a theme or topic can also generate interest, be it short term or run for a longer period:
• For example, if your promotion is wrapped around a themed reward like Christmas, you can maintain interest over a sustained period of time as the interim topics and rewards shift.
• Make sure you determine and communicate timescales from the beginning of each new project, as it will set the pace for your sales people and affect how long they have to accrue points towards their goal rewards.
• A good technology-based rewards and incentives tool will keep theme-based campaigns cost-effective – all you need to do is update your dashboard design in line with each new topic.

To be sure that your channel sales incentive programme is having the desired effect, it’s important to be able to measure results.
• Being able to track progress really helps to keep the momentum, as it allows you to notice and respond quickly to flagging activity, perhaps by issuing a motivational communication or a call to action.
• Tracking should be a two-way function, so that sales people are also empowered to check how they are doing. The checking is itself a measure of engagement, and also allows you to motivate them further every time participants log on, whether educating them about the product, reminding them of key objectives, or simply providing encouragement.

Lastly, your incentives and rewards tool should be able to handle a promotion from start to finish, including how sales equate to the points banked by each sales partner:
• How you decide to collect and present this data is a matter of choice and there are options to suit every business. You might prefer a user-friendly league table that is updated daily or weekly, or an automated feed that updates in real time or even a combination of the two.
• However your system manages the data, it should be efficient and transparent, so that sales people can submit leads and managers can verify the conversion, streamlining the process to save time and effort.
• For your programme to motivate, it needs to be accessible from all sides, so that sales people can easily see how they are doing, and data is readily available for managers to download use for reporting and rewarding.

In conclusion, a rewards tool should fit neatly into your business model and work with your processes and targets to minimise effort and maximise results. The right platform will make sales incentive programmes easy and successful; the technology is available, you just need to make it work for you.

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