3 Incentive Strategies You’re Not Thinking Of

by | Apr 5, 2018 | Blog

I’ve always disliked the proverb, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

Whether or not you’re an animal lover, you have to admit it’s a pretty gruesome way to describe an otherwise benign idea: the idea that there’s more than one way to get a job done.

What is perhaps even more surprising than the origins of the original saying, is that this obscure and outdated reference doesn’t seem to have been properly updated to fit these modern times. How about:

“There’s more than one way to order a Big Mac.”

“There’s more than one way to Google an answer.”

“There’s more than one way to stream Game of Thrones.”

These are all a bit more 21st-century. But still, I think we can do better:

“There’s more than on way to incentivize success.”

Now that’s more like it! Here’s a proverb that encapsulates the modern world while providing a reference that everyone can probably understand.

Because when it comes to incentives, the most common method generally involves sales, usually by incentivizing salespeople to sell more. As a result, when most people think of incentives, my guess is this strategy is the one that typically come to mind.

But as we’ve been saying all along, there’s more than one way to incentivize success, particularly if you’re willing to see the big picture and admit that ROI isn’t always so black-and-white (or in our case, black-and-red).

Sure, the most direct way to turn a profit is through increased sales volume. However, this can be accomplished through a variety of methods.

In fact, there are a number of different types of incentive strategies that can improve a company’s overall outlook, whether it’s through an improvement in brand recognition, company culture, internal efficiency, or something else.

The key to incentives, in other words, is about recognizing the gaps in your business strategy and finding effective, often innovative ways of filling them.

With that being said, here are a few different incentive options at your disposal, in addition to the traditional sales-based incentives:

1) Customer Loyalty

Instead of providing extra motivation for the people who sell your products, why not do the same thing but for those who buy your products?

This type of customer loyalty incentive is probably the next most commonly used incentive strategy and for good reason.

According to Harvard Business Review, acquiring a new customer can be between 5x-25x more expensive than simply retaining an existing one.

Thus, something like a frequent buyer program can improve sales efficiency by enabling a company to spend less time establishing new relationships and more time strengthening the ones that have already taken root.

2) Employee Recognition

Sales is just one unit within a company’s overall hierarchy, and because its primary focus is dollars-and-cents, it’s often the easiest to incentivize.

But what do you do about the rest of your employees, whose lack of engagement can be just as detrimental to your company’s bottom line as your sales team’s?

Maybe you want to motivate your customer service team to provide the best quality service and acknowledge those one or two members who have really gone above and beyond.

In this case, a customized individual incentive at the end of the year or quarter could be the way to go.

3) Channel Partner Enablement

Any salesperson will tell you that selling more is a task that’s easier said than done.

What if the product you’re trying to get your channel partners to sell is so complex that they’re having trouble articulating its benefits to end-users?

Maybe they haven’t been properly trained to understand its nuances, in which case an eLearning incentive strategy could be the key to filling this knowledge gap and boosting sales efficiency.

In fact, according to an Ambient Insight Report, 42% of polled companies claim that eLearning has boosted revenue and generated 26% more revenue per individual employee.


These are just a few of the ways that incentive strategies can be successfully utilized to boost ROI even if they’re not directly sales-focused.

That’s not to say that sales incentives aren’t also effective means of improving your company’s sales performance, because they are; the point is that there’s more than one way to incentivize success, be it through a customer loyalty program, an employee recognition incentive, an engagement or enablement strategy, or something else.

When it comes to considering which incentive program is right for your company, remember that a sales incentive isn’t your only option. And if nothing else, let’s leave the cat out of it.

Incentives are our specialty. Reach out to us at 888.220.4780 or marketing@hmiaward.com to see what strategy will work the best for you.







Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash

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