Incentive Program Does More Than Boost Sales

Failure crisis concept and lost business career education opportunity. Lonely young man on a rock cliff island surrounded by an ocean storm waves.jpegUnexpected Outcome...

A Real Lifeline

"What you did here was to save a man’s life and provided our company with an opportunity to do that.” ~Incentive ROI Client

Many companies understand the basics of incentive programs and use them to incent their employees, dealers and reps to increase sales or improve other areas of their performance. Clients I work with take that another step further and use incentive programs to actually improve incremental Net Profit. But what I’m about to share is not about any of these outcomes. This is about something that shows how valuable, beyond the money, a properly structured and monitored incentive program can be to human life.

This particular company was operating their incentive program based on my ROI Model which requires a monthly monitoring of the program against the established baseline financial metrics. Those metrics are established based on discussions with the company management team before any program starts. Together, we agree on the baseline objectives and from there my model forecasts what the program can achieve beyond that baseline (which includes all existing marketing programs and/or other initiatives in place to help drive sales and other key financial metrics). This agreement meeting essentially is a forecast of what we both see as how this program might turn out. It is a true projected forecast of the outcome based on data points we have at the start. The incentive program management month to month monitoring is done to ensure the internal and external changes that happen in any company environment are not adversely impacting the ROI we have projected.

With this particular program we had our review after the program had been operating for 4 months. The company had regional offices around the country and when I created the program rule structure and ROI projection I had forecasted how each of those regions would perform. I noted that one region was doing far below what I thought would be a trend for this program. As a part of our monthly review process we verify both internal and external factors that I know can impact a program geographically. My review for this company showed nothing unexpected, yet the trends were still not indicating that we had a good projected outcome in one region.

I met with the CEO of the company and expressed my concern for this one particular region of the company. I honestly told him that perhaps I missed something or our message is simply not being received well by the program participants. I suggested that a member of the Executive Team pay a visit to the region to see if we could determine exactly what we missed. I left that meeting feeling I had done the best I could to make my client aware of a potential flaw in the program. Hard to do, but the right thing to do, at a stage of the program where a change could still be made to protect the investment.

About 3 weeks later I had an opportunity to play a round of golf with this CEO. This was not a review meeting or anything more than an opportunity to get some pay-back for our last golf outing which left me quite embarrassed by my play. After 4 holes of a much different experience, this CEO told me he wanted to tell me something I did that was so great he just had to share. I was thinking it was about a shot I made on a previous hole or perhaps a putt that even I was impressed with. What came out next not only left me with a new appreciation for how the design of my ROI Model makes an impact, but also made me feel like...

I was indeed creating positive outcomes for people and not just companies.

This CEO told me he sent his VP of Sales & Marketing to the region we discussed. After interviewing the region management team he came back and immediately asked for help from the company to prevent what could be a life threatening situation. The regional manager apparently had been going through a very difficult personal situation. The company of course was totally unaware of that. He began to dramatically change his personal behaviors, excessive drinking and starting to use drugs to get through each day. As this CEO was explaining this to me I could not help but think that I probably caused this person to lose his job.

I was shocked to find out my thinking was way off the mark.

The CEO told me that the company immediately rallied together to create a plan that would provide this employee with all the resources and help he needed to bring him back to the person they knew he was inside. At the conclusion of relaying this amazing story to me, the CEO told me something that changed my life too. He told me that,

“What your company does is far more than create better sales, profits and  improved cash flow. What you did here was to save a man’s life and also provided our company with an opportunity to do that. You should be proud of that.”

Enterprise Engagement Performance Management SolutionI am and continue to be. Most incentive programs have a sales-driven objective, however, our program designs and monitoring capability through our SaaS application (Enterprise Engagement Performance Management Solution) lead to engagement also, and not just for program participants, dealers and employees. In this case management engagement proved to be the impetus for helping their employee in a time of need. 

How could a sales incentive program lead to enterprise engagement? 

Do some ground work on the front end. What other business objectives or outcomes would you like to see in your business beyond increasing revenue? What's the effect of meaningfuls sales growth on the whole business? Need some ideas?

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Bob Dawson

Bob Dawson, CITE, Creator of Dawson’s ROI Framework 

Client Stories: Incentive Program Budget Success and Failure Stop Drinking the ROI Kool-Aid

Tagged with: Client Stories, Enterprise Engagement


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