You invested countless hours planning and executing the perfect sales incentive program. The awards selection captured attention immediately. The goals were carefully selected to require growth and be attainable. The communications and tracking campaign kept participants engaged for the entire program. Now, your people are just receiving those packages of awards. Your colleagues and management have been patting you on the back since the final program results come out, but the sound of silence from your participants is deafening. Why aren’t they sending thank you notes? Why aren’t they raving about the program and their rewards? What’s going on?

The same can be said for sales compensation. Incentive compensation plans are often far too complex. This complexity is usually the result of trying to make the plan fair or trying to please every stakeholder. In turn, this complexity makes these plans difficult to understand. Salespeople are busy. They spend most of their day visiting customers, and that’s what we want them to be doing. We also want that time with customers to be focused on the things that leadership believes will improve their performance and the company’s performance.

Whether you’re receiving a reward for outstanding performance from your company or being recognized by a vendor as a valued partner, it should feel special.

You have sales goals to reach. You need your salespeople to reach their goals to get you there. But if you’re like most sales leaders, 40 to 70 percent of your people will fall short of their quota. You have to get the sales reps to change their behaviors. You must get them in line to produce results.

U.S. companies spend more than $17 billion on channel incentives annually. Distribution channel partners are vital to getting goods and services to market, bt the right program structure is essential to maximizing ROI. Here are five things you need to remember as you develop your channel incentive program.

Theresa Thomas, VP Strategic Solutions, Hinda Incentives

Have you ever daydreamed about cloning your top sales performers? Think of it. No more endless recruiting to find a salesperson like Jane who qualifies and closes sales in record time. All your customers would have the pleasure of only dealing with your best of the best. It would spell the end of those awkward review meetings. 

Jim Valenti - Raul Garcia

Google “Millennial generation” and you’ll get over 28 million hits. Business began thinking about Millennials long before they first entered the workforce around 2000. And with good reason, they are the largest, most diverse, highest-educated and arguably the most connected generation America has ever produced. Their impact on every aspect of every business, whether as customers, partners, employees or suppliers, will be monumental. Leaders ignoring this generation do so at their own peril.

Ric Neeley

Sales is a lagging indicator. Tracking it only reflects what’s already been done. It’s like getting the final score of a football game after it has been played. It’s already too late to do anything to change the outcome. If you want to win a game, you better be looking at leading indicators like yards gained, first downs achieved and time of possession while you’re playing.

Mike Donnelly

We’ve all heard that “success is a journey, not a destination,” but whoever said this obviously never had to achieve annual goals and quarterly targets.

Mike Donnelly, President, Hinda Incentives

We’ve all heard that “success is a journey, not a destination,” but whoever said this obviously never had to achieve annual goals and quarterly targets. Executives know the dire consequences of missed goals, new product failures, or losing share. These things get you thrown off the bus quickly, bringing your journey to a screeching halt. And yet, to arrive at a destination, you must make the journey.

Sales & Marketing Management is the leading authority for executives in the sales and marketing field.

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