Am I Ready For an Incentive Program?

by | Jan 5, 2023 | Blog

With the new year here, the “New Year, New Me” checklists are probably taking shape. In fact, mine is underway. It includes all the stereotypical acts of a “Better Me”: go to the gym three days a week, cook at home more, and read a new book each month. I bet there are many others that look quite the same. However, there should be one thing we should consider in the new year; how to improve our business.

There are many steps that we can take to make this possible, but we are going to talk about one of them today: implementing a new incentive program. This may seem like a big task, but we’ve done the dirty work for you and listed 7 key determinants to see if you and your company are ready to take on the “New Year, New Company” challenge!

What is the primary goal you are trying to achieve?

Understanding the end goal or the challenge you would like to overcome is the key to laying the foundation for a successful incentive program. This is the starting point of the exploration into the world of incentive programs. Skipping this crucial step can result in not becoming fully aware of the “why” of your program. Without the “why”, it can essentially lead down a windy and confusing path.

Who is the point of influence that you would like to engage?

In other words, who are the chosen ones? The Points of Influence, or the target audience, are the people that are going to make up the participant population. This group of people is going to be different for everyone. It can be your salespeople, your contractors, your customers, or your F&Is. By deciding who the program is going to be targeted to, you can make decisions on what kind of program you want to dive into, how to market the program to them, and which behaviors to reward.

What behaviors do you incentivize to achieve your goal?

You have now determined your goal and chosen the group of participants who you would like to include in your program. Next, you must decide which behaviors you want to incentivize. These behaviors can be increasing the number of sales, purchases, or completing e-Learning modules.

How are you going to measure these goals?

Once the behaviors are chosen, you need to decide how it’s going to be measured. Some questions to ask yourself are “what data do I already have?”; “what data do I need to collect?”; “How is the data going to be collected?”; and “How are we going to reward these behaviors?” You need to figure out where this data lives, so you and your incentive provider can determine which KPIs are right based on your findings.

What is the chosen behavior worth?

Along with determining the worth of behavior, you need to decide what value is going to be placed on them. Is it going to be transactional, per-sale, or growth based? All of this comes down to budgeting and what you are willing to spend to see the results that you want. This links back to the ROI of the program. What do you expect as the outcome of this program and what is it worth to you and your company? This can be done by running an analysis and modeling to create an ROI model and a budget to finalize the criteria of what type of program can produce these perspective results.

How is the program going to be marketed?

What channels are going to be used when promoting your new program? This is determined by step 2. When you understand who your audience is, you can also utilize target profiling to help determine their demographics and firmographics to help narrow down how to reach them effectively when marketing your program. What is going to be used to reach plumbing contractors is going to be different for a sales team.

What reward system is most appropriate?

There are a lot of rewards that you can choose from like a Group Incentive Travel, Points Based, or a Contest/Sweepstakes. Your decision is based on who your audience is going to be and what is going to motivate them the most. Understanding your audience is key to creating a successful incentive program. Without a well-rounded understanding of who they are, you might not be able to get them to contribute to the program.


Now as much as we wish our resolutions can happen overnight, this one cannot. To create a successful program, it takes constant trial and error and an all-hands-on-deck type of atmosphere to achieve your company’s resolutions.

If you would like to see how ready you are for an incentive program, take our promotion-readiness quiz!

Need more incentive insights? Check out these related articles.

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