Chances are you’ve heard both sides of the debate: do employee incentive programs really pay off in the long run or not? While it seems like a no-brainer especially in a sales-based organization, many do fall on the negative side – they don’t believe in rewarding workers for “doing their job” and they feel incentives artificially inflate performance in the short-term.
The reality? We’ve been there, done that and worked for companies that did and did not support added perks for performance. At the end of the day, that icing on the cake IS the secret sauce. Sure, many employees, especially when starting a new job, are motivated by hitting their target numbers and by recognition. But, knowing there’s something out there – something great – is a surefire way to get your team to give a little extra, think a little more creatively and dig a little deeper. According to The Incentive Research Foundation, executives’ goals are now shifting to programs and rewards aimed to encourage inclusion (and the sharing of knowledge), building relationships and promoting employee engagement. And, at the end of the day, that could be the difference between locking down the deal and missing the mark.
Reasons to consider layering sales contests into your performance structure:
1. They build meaningful, long-term pipelines
Incentivizing teams builds your pipeline, from initial prospects straight through to closed deals. But that’s just the beginning. Well-managed pipelines grow company revenues 15% faster than businesses lagging in their funnel-building. In other words, reward programs drive sales today while laying the groundwork for stronger performance tomorrow – it’s the ultimate win/win.
2. They promote good sportsmanship
Done right, employee incentive programs can promote serious team bonding which, in turn, can drive enhanced teamwork, enhanced performances and an ability to think and act outside the box in a BIG way. A good example? Our President’s Club incentive, which has been a huge success for ePromos.
So how does it work? Our top performers get an all-expenses-paid four-night trip to Mexico for themselves and a guest. We look at everything from sales to growth level to performance in choosing our list. We also choose two Circle of Excellence monthly winners at random. This monthly incentive program recognizes top performers month to month, giving them the accolades and company-wide recognition they deserve.
What’s incredible to us is watching the sportsmanship that surrounds both the performance-based winners and the Circle of Excellence picks. While people want to go on the trip, of course, they’re thrilled to see their colleagues get the recognition they deserve. It’s powerful and it’s palpable, and it’s a BIG reason we continue this program year after year.
3. They drive healthy competition
That said, everyone knows the parameters of the President’s Club rewards – where they need to land, what earns them extra kudos and ultimately, what they need to do to make the cut.
While, again, everyone has an incredible attitude, there’s something about competition and social motivation that drives even the most mellow seller. Research shows upwards of 50% of people benefit from having tangible competition. For us, that translates to significant increases in everything from prospecting to customer engagement to sales. And for our team that translates to more success, more commitment and a better chance of getting to Mexico!
4. They promote bonding and team building
Whether it’s a few winners grabbing drinks poolside or a frequent President’s Club winner mentoring a newcomer back in the office, there’s a pervasive sense of camaraderie that touches every aspect of the President’s Club – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. The trip is, of course, a mega-bonding experience, but just the idea of the trip is enough to create team-building and mentoring opportunities year-round. It’s powerful and it’s been a major win for our company, our employees and the daily environment we work in. Be sure to look into employee incentive programs that encourage team bonding.
Structuring your incentive systems:
That said, it’s not just trips and commissions that move the needle for businesses. One successful company we know developed a series of exclusive branded premiums for their employees. Because the only way to score a 2-in-1 Charging Promotional Portfolio (clients LOVE these) custom watch, Cutter & Buck® Custom Duffle Bag or show-stopping crystal award is to top the sales leaderboard for a given month, quarter or year. Having – and displaying – these gifts became marks of achievement, and something staffers were proud to show off.
The point? Regardless of your approach, incentives work. Focus on high-value gifts and giveaways that will resonate with your team and then build up and out from there. Done right, these campaigns can drive powerhouse results from sales to morale to team-building – experiences that we, at ePromos have had with our President’s Club campaign since its inception.
Looking for more employee recognition ideas for your business? Call us now, the Promo Know-How People to talk through some fun sales contest ideas and giveaway options. Planning a sales event? Here are 15 Worth-It Tips.