Give Sales Participants Choices: Creating An As-You-Like-It Program To Ensure Maximum Engagement

Published: March 10, 2017

Craig DeWolf HeadshotPeople like to take charge of their own decisions. They value choice in all aspects of their lives, and incentives and rewards should be no different. Your sales teams and sales partners are vital contributors to your business and appreciate decision-making autonomy just like everyone else.

Provide your team and partners with effective motivation and thanks via rewards and incentives programs they can tailor to their liking. These can empower them to choose which reward they want and how they want to receive it—accommodating different preferences and providing a more personalized reward experience.

Several ideas for tailoring sales incentive programs with flexible choices include:

  • Rewardable activities: Today, incentive programs have moved beyond the traditional SPIF programs for sales people. Incentive design should also consider rewarding for behaviors that contribute to improved sales results, such as sales training and certification testing. However, a typical program may consider three to five pre-sales and post-sales activities, including customer satisfaction scores, presenting demo or evaluation units, and more.
  • Claim or claimless: Ease of administration is important to everyone as a driver of ongoing appeal and engagement. While many SPIF programs may require a claim form to earn rewards, certain activities that are managed in separate systems may circumvent the need for a claiming process by feeding the data directly into the reward platform.
  • Online rewards portfolios: Direct the sales people you are rewarding to an online catalog that provides them with a substantial reward selection. It should be easy for them to browse and choose the type of reward and delivery method they prefer. You can offer rewards, such as physical prepaid cards, e-gifts, virtual rewards, travel and merchandise. For rewards like prepaid and gift cards, you can offer further options, such as varying denominations and brands. Then recipients can also decide if they want their rewards to be delivered electronically, like with e-gifts, or in the mail, like with physical gift and prepaid cards. The potential reward and delivery combinations create opportunities to customize the reward experience.
  • The flexibility of cash: While travel and merchandise rewards are still popular with many marketers, participants, when given a choice, often opt for the flexibility that prepaid or gift cards can provide.
  • Physical and digital rewards: Despite the rapid adoption of digital rewards, physical options aren’t going away any time soon. Plus, if you use a co-branded prepaid physical card, the participant is reminded of your brand every time they open their wallet and use the card. Sales people that live a digital lifestyle may gravitate toward e-gifts they can store on a smartphone or virtual rewards they can spend online. Conversely, others may prefer traditional rewards they can touch and carry, such as plastic prepaid cards or merchandise. In fact, we find that people often redeem for gift cards that they intend to gift to others. Providing the option of physical or digital will ensure each reward recipient is comfortable.

Don’t approach your sales incentive program with a “one size fits all” mentality. Instead, provide sales partners the ability to make their own reward selections based on their lifestyles and preferences. Providing meaningful rewards can better motivate your sales team and equip your business for sales success.

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Craig DeWolf is RVP of Incentive Strategy at Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, an organization that develops new ways to give, receive and use branded value—including digital rewards, rebates and offers, gift cards, loyalty points and alternative payments.


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