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12 ideas about incentive programs

Oct 19, 2017

Written by: Walter Ruckes
(View Author Bio)

Collaborative meeting for incentive ideas BI WORLDWIDE Latin America.


At BI WORLDWIDE, we use the principles of behavioral economics to create the best engagement strategies on the planet. We work with expert academics who advise us on the latest research on human behavior, engagement and decision-making. We use non-cash rewards and recognition to engage and motivate employees and sales teams. Check out our case study, blog posts and white papers library to see how our customized and results-driven solutions have helped clients all over the world.

According to a survey by BI WORLDWIDE, sixty percent of sales executives design and implement their own incentive programs. If you are one of those do-it-yourselfers, here are a few tips to make your program work BETTER.




1. Don’t assume everyone is automatically enrolled – ask for a commitment.

Make them sign up, choose a goal, or publicly raise their hand saying they want to participate.


2. Keep it simple.

Too often incentive compensation and incentive programs don’t make the connection between the behavior and the award. You don’t want to hand out an award and have the recipient not know why they earned it.


3. Reward both activities and results.

Example: Put together a BINGO card that rewards for balanced performance and engages everyone on your team. Have an award for the most cards completed – AND a drawing for all cards completed. It will keep more people participating in the sales incentive program longer.


4. Don’t give everyone the same goal.

Unlike quotas, which need to be strict to pay out for top performance, your incentives can reward for improvement. Set short-term, small goals and your team will be even more motivated.


5. Segment your audience and communicate differently to top performers than you do to middle and bottom performers.

The more specific your challenges, the better.


6. Include managers.

The fastest way for your sales team to check out is to have their manager disengaged. Give managers a percentage of their team’s earnings – or give them their own goal.


7. Publicize progress with a tracking chart or standings sheet.

And don’t do it only at the end of the program – let them know daily, or weekly, how they are performing.


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Walter Ruckes

Walter Ruckes

Vice President of Sales and Channel Engagement

As Vice President of BI WORLDWIDE’s Sales & Channel Engagement Group, Walter Ruckes's primary focus is to develop sales and channel engagement strategies and solutions that change the behaviors of sales people, distributors, dealers and channel sales representatives. An expert in sales incentive strategy, he educates sales professionals around the world on how to best engage their sales force through sales engagement strategies, solutions and best practices.