How to guarantee improved performance through sales incentive and motivation programmes

Why many incentive and motivation programmes don’t work

The reason sales incentive and motivation programmes fail is that management believe all they need to do is:

  • set a target and offer an incentive (cash or kind) for exceeding it – ignoring a level playing field and creating a perception of unattainability in the process
  • incentivise the top 10% of the salesforce and virtually forget the rest
  • trot out the same old, same old structure with little recognition nor creative thought
  • tackle the short term / immediate problem
  • invest, without considering under or over investment
  • push most of their budget into reward, forgetting that communication is the most important element of an incentive and motivation programme, followed closely by measuring and monitoring
  • ask for sales to happen without attempting to understand participants and teams key motivators
  • ignore recognition, after all, staff get paid don’t they?.

A unique approach to solving the problem

Proper incentive programmes work because management understand the angles and implications of business improvement strategy and take the time to:

  • calculate a rough ROI (in advance) and allocate the appropriate amount of money needed to achieve the required result
  • measure the individual and team motivators in advance, through a unique tool called Motivational Maps
  • create a programme theme delivering real benefit and impact to the participant. This is the motivational banner and call to action under which we will rally the troops
  • create peer pressure through leaguing participants by turnover band (irrespective of where participants are in the country), by district, by region and nationally
  • launch the programme correctly to management. Then make successive levels of management (national, regional, district) cascade the launch to their teams whilst ensuring that every presentation is identical
  • measuring and monitoring improved performance on a week by week basis
  • over communicate by 1000% (this is the most dynamic and important part of any incentive programme) ensuring that individuals and teams receive weekly comparison performance reports
  • build a recognition element into the overall programme, such as our online recognition system
  • build learning into the incentive programme. Make the individual’s reward dependent on the individual’s learning performance. Quality equals quantity in the long run
  • oh and I forgot: structure the award element of the budget (by no means the largest) to reward percentage improvement over target, little and often, but with ‘something aspirational’ at the end.

Motivational Maps – the initial key to unlocking the door to productivity

Motivational Maps is a unique, on-line, self-perception inventory – it is not a psychometric instrument like Myers Briggs for example. The result is a diagnostic instrument that works on an individual, team & organisational level to produce an astonishingly accurate account of where the ‘energies & emotions’ are being directed, and how strong they are.

An individual’s happiness and success at work is partly determined by whether or not their core ‘motivations’ are being met. Understanding how people are motivated and optimised means that this set of tools can be used for: Reward Strategies, Management Development, Appraisal, Leadership Development and Team Building.

What are the motivators?

There are 9 key motivators and this is what they measure:

Relationship motivators Achievement motivators Growth motivators
The defender

Seeks security, predictability and stability

The director

Seeks power, influence and control of people / resources

The creator

Seeks innovation, identification with new, and expressing creative potential

The friend

Seeks belonging, friendship and fulfilling relationships

The builder

Seeks money, material resources, above average living

The spirit

Seeks freedom, independence and making own decisions

The star

Seeks recognition, respect and social esteem

The expert

Seeks knowledge, mastery and specialisation

The searcher

Seeks meaning, making a difference, providing worthwhile things

How does Motivational Maps work?

Ultimately, profit comes from productivity (being productive in negotiating deals, in driving down costs, in producing quality products, or even in the back office being super-efficient and on-track) – it is all about productivity. And productivity comes from performance, of individuals and teams.

Motivational maps works by illuminating individual and team motivators so that management get the opportunity to stimulate these highs and lows (for individuals and teams) in order to improve productivity.

Without the motivational energy there can be no performance no matter how skilled an individual is, or what the strategy dictates.

 What does it provide?

Motivational Maps delivers:

  • Individual Reports, so that individuals see a mirror image of themselves and are advised of strategies to maintain their most important motivators and correct any
  • Group Report, for managers running a team
  • Organisational Report, for company directors seeking to take their business onto the next level
  • Motivational Maps deliver … Maps for refining the recruitment process (for HR professionals) which greatly enhance superior selection when team building/upgrading the level of employees required.

Formal individual and team feedback is essential as a second stage to the process, as this pulls the motivation scores together and illuminates the interplay of the motivators and key outcomes for success.

What’s different about Motivational Maps?

It is a unique process for starters but there are other benefits and differences too. It:

  • is less expensive and better value than other systems
  • creates robust reports for multiple end users that identify what actions the individual, mentor, team leader etc needs to take as well as the profile of the person or group
  • places the 9 Motivators in rank order and provides Personal Motivation Audit which represents the extent to which individuals feel their top three motivators are currently being satisfied.

Note these scores are not fixed, as motivations can change so regular mapping ensures individuals are always aware of their core motivations at that point in time, and can adjust strategies and approaches accordingly.

The sales incentive and motivation programme bottom line

Examining incentive and motivation programme results (over many years) for blue chip utilities, media, financial services, fashion, recruitment and stationery companies has shown:

  • the strategy works no matter what the industry
  • business improvement post incentive and motivation programme has never fallen below +13% above target
  • far from being a pipe dream (as one MD recently told me), it is a proven fact with case study information to back it up
  • the processes work for large and small companies.