Optimize Your Sales Incentive and Employee Recognition Programs

When carefully designed and focused on the right goals, employee recognition and sales incentive programs are powerful additions to your marketing portfolio. And, all apologies to Mick Jagger, but just because something is worth doing, it doesn’t mean it’s worth overdoing.

These days, we’re overloaded with a steady bombardment of messages. From our multiple email accounts to social streams, we are drowning in a sea of information. The digitalization of our communication processes has made creating, storing, and promoting information almost free. Unfortunately, when confronted with too much information, our brains just can’t process it all (just look at these Remedies for the Distracted Mind).

Modern Problems, Ancient Brains

While we’ve come a long way from our Cro-Mag cousins, we’re still working with the same hardware between our ears. Our brains are much better at telling the difference between a rock and a saber-toothed tiger than deciding truth or false in all the messages we receive daily (#FakeNews is not making it any easier).

The same issues we have with modern communications have also crept into the world of employee recognition and incentive programs. Over the years, as the media has plastered the message – rewards and recognition drive employee engagement, recognition, sales growth, and performance – companies have responded. They took the message and thought, if one program works well, then seven more will work even better, right?

Choice Choke is a Thing

It’s proven that when faced with too many choices, people shut down and won’t choose anything. It’s called choice paralysis and is common in stores, online, and can happen in your company if you put too many options in front of your employees or channel partners. They’ll likely stop doing anything for fear of doing the wrong thing.

When we’ve taken a closer look at various companies’ standard “reward” practices, we’ve often found that departments and groups each have their own programs. Of course, they are funded by specific department budgets and focused on their needs. Often these programs hide in plain sight, as the “corporate” engagement program or sales incentive gets all the spotlight. It may seem like there is only one program and one focus for the company, but once you pull back the curtain, you’ll find multiple small programs running amok.

The worst part is that these disparate programs not only sap employee attention but are also often at odds with one another. One program will negate the impact of the other. For instance, one department may be focused on increasing efficiency, and in another, they are pushing for more leads – rarely do those two things exist harmoniously.

It’s All About Focus

In each of these cases, the losers are both the participants and the company. Everyone is acting in good faith – managers want to help by running programs that improve their department or advance their goals, but in their isolation, they fail to see the bigger picture.

Ultimately, running too many programs at once can raise costs and lower employee or partner performance. However, creative incentives backed by research and customized for your business can optimize your employee and sales incentive programs.

When we engage with a client, we dig into the ways they are currently influencing the audience’s behavior. We want to know every program and communication channel they are using (this video highlights our process). Our goal is to quantify how much they are asking their audience to pay attention to since we all know people have limited mental capacity. We help them focus on the saber-toothed tigers in their competitive set, instead of questioning every rock in their path.


Ready to Optimize Your Sales Incentive or Employee Recognition Program?