Best PracticesMay 15th, 2017

3 Ways to Use Technology to Improve Your Sales Incentive Programs


The definition of an incentive program is broad. Anything you do to motivate salespeople can be considered an incentive program.

You can tailor a sales incentive program in a thousand different ways to ensure it captures the enthusiasm and interest of your staff. This flexibility is a double-edged sword, though, and causes many of these programs to fail. Why? It’s because sales incentive programs often lack structure and clarity. Inconsistent program marketing (or none at all) may make the goals and specifics of the program unclear.

The program may be a management headache, or maybe salespeople forget about it because it’s not meaningfully tied to overarching sales goals. The Incentive Research Foundation found that few companies see the full benefits of an incentive program — which could be a 25% to 44% performance boost — because of problems in the program’s construction. Online and mobile incentive technology ties together many of the loose ends that plague incentive program implementation and management, making them easier to structure and oversee. Here’s how going digital revolutionizes dealer sales incentives success.

1. Gathers promotion and tracking in one place

Sales incentives go with the territory of managing auto dealership sales teams. Although sales rewards can spark motivation and ignite lagging performances, dealerships eventually face the problem of “incentives fatigue.” You repeatedly offer the same old sales rewards, which lose their novelty, or the same top salespeople always outperform everyone. Motivating top performers isn’t always the best sales strategy.

A Qvidian study found that “a 5% gain in the middle 60% of your sales performers can deliver over 91% greater sales than a 5% shift in your top 20%.” Managing sales incentives through an online platform can help you keep incentive rewards diverse and exciting, so you’re motivating a larger percentage of your team. Instead of offering cash, you can reward salespeople with online points — i.e., a digital currency they can spend in a rewards catalog with a broad range of items to choose from. Online technology also lets you manage multiple sales promotions with different goals, so you’re not always dangling the same old carrot in front of your team for the same old behaviors.

You can offer varying rewards for salespeople who get customers to extend warranties or schedule service inspections and maintenance, for example. Meanwhile, you simplify the process of managing all these incentive efforts because you can schedule multiple sales promotions and communicate to program participants, as well as collect invoices, receipts, and other claims validation documentation all in the same place.

2. Communicates program info effectively

Participant engagement is crucial for sales incentive programs to succeed. Taking your program online allows you to amplify its message. With an online database of participant contact information and digital communication capabilities, you can send information about the program to the entire participant audience, or select groups. Diverse and flexible communication capabilities let you reach your employees the way they want to be reached.

For example, you can send push notifications and texts to millennial staffers who live on their phones, or flyers to baby boomers who check their mailbox at the same time every day like clockwork. Consistent, branded content that reaches all of the staff in the program ensures everyone is active and on the same page.

The other advantage of digital incentive program communication? It works both ways. Participants keep their customer data accurate for you by updating their program profile information. They can connect to the program through their phones in the middle of a sale to upload supporting documentation in order to claim incentive rewards. Sales incentives are all about tapping into emotional and psychological inner drives. With digital tools to make your incentive program communication easier and more effective, you can keep your sales staff’s attention.

3. Encourages product knowledge and confidence

Knowledge leads to confidence, and a salesperson with confidence is more likely to close, right? Right — a CSO Insights study showed that salespeople who exceed expectations in training are 10% more likely to close deals than those whose training needs improvement. But it can be tough to keep the entire team well-versed in all your dealership’s products and services, not to mention the additional knowledge and training that’s needed to improve the customer experience. By connecting online training initiatives to sales incentive technology, you can deliver instant rewards to your team for training participation.

Customize your online training content to specific product information, and set your program to deliver automatic, online reward points to participants for completing quizzes. A convenient, instantly rewarding training incentive plan will keep salespeople’s product knowledge sharp and allow you to easily diversify their learning.

For example, you can provide ongoing training to salespeople about your service department so they can educate buyers on their vehicles’ maintenance needs. This encourages return visits to your dealership for service, and makes customers more likely to refer others. Incentive programs don’t have to be temporary sales strategies that change behaviors for a little while, then fizzle out.

Online and mobile connectivity allows you to keep up the momentum and awareness of your program, ensuring it continues impacting sales motivation. Use online technology to make your sales incentive plans fast and agile enough to keep up with your dealership’s unique, ever-changing needs.

Steve Damerow is CEO of Incentive Solutions. He is a recognized expert and published author, and hosts the national podcast “Business Matters.” Incentive Solutions currently manages more than 100 incentive loyalty programs in the automotive sector. Damerow can be reached at [email protected] or (678) 514-0203.

Authored by

Steve Damerow

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