Written by: Brad Norton, Director, Incentives Strategy and Effectiveness, Boehringer Ingelheim; Kari Hanson, Sr. Account Director, Life Sciences Team, BI WORLDWIDE
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Get your sales force inspired and focused on their goals.
Competing priorities and multiple distractions make it challenging to capture and keep the attention of any sales team.
When introducing a new contest or incentive, once you’ve designed a rules structure and determined the rewards, a strong communications campaign not only provides reinforcement but truly becomes essential to a successful program.
A well-designed campaign grabs your participants’ attention and most importantly, keeps the key information top of mind—people remember what stands out. But beyond creating a buzz, you want your communications to drive activity and deliver business results like increased revenue, profit or product adoption.
Here are three proven ways to take your communications to the next level:
Make sure your campaigns support the same theme throughout. When your salespeople receive multiple tactics in a campaign—the visual launch email, the promotional rules overview, the personalized progress reports—they should be branded with a visual, memorable theme to make them quickly identifiable and associated with the same campaign.
One way we’ve had success is to select a vivid theme and specific color to use throughout each communication campaign. When the sales force sees those colors, they relate them to that promotion. When you’re ready to launch your next incentive program, introduce a new color scheme to set each one apart.
To grab the attention of your salespeople, the words and images you include in a campaign should elicit a strong emotion. We know from behavioral economics that emotions trump reason when it comes to decision-making and action. For example, if you’re introducing a new product, make sure the headlines, body copy and visuals create opportunities for an emotional response that elicits a behavior change. Advertising does this extremely well.
In our communications, we look for opportunities to individualize the message with variable info like name and personalized tracking metrics. An example of this might be a headline that welcomes them to the promotion paired with their baseline numbers to pull them into the communication as we then detail what’s in it for them and how they can achieve. How will you break through the clutter with your messages?
Finally, your campaigns should all be drastically different. Challenge your communications teams to think outside of the box. You can do this both through bold and vivid design and clever but clear messages. The goal is to be sure your program gets noticed and read. Here’s an opportunity to reach your audience in multiple ways. It could be a multi-pronged approach that starts with a creative email. You may incorporate something surprising like a digital scratch-off to share a fast-start bonus or reveal a group travel award like we have. Many new technologies can be integrated into a campaign to stand out—from personalized dashboards to one of our favorites: custom leaderboards that stack rank the audience to drive friendly competition.
Consider other avenues that make an impact like rewards-centric animations, or print and a branded dimensional item that reinforces the program. Examples range from stickers to water bottles to hats and shirts. Don’t forget to brand the box or envelope too so your information stands out from the rest.