This past weekend, I was enjoying some unseasonably warm temperatures in the suburbs of Chicago. Seeing that it’s early in the calendar year and we’re in the low 40s, I could afford to get outside and enjoy a bit of this rare good fortune.
My neighbor was out on his driveway, and I thought I would walk over and say hello. He manages a large sales team and was talking about their rewards incentive program being the biggest and most grandiose that he’s ever seen in his 14 years with the company. Knowing I’m in sales, too, he was quick to share the details of what he’s been witness to.
While they are a multimillion dollar company, they haven’t paid much attention to staff promotional incentives until the past few years. In 2009, the reward for the top monthly sales winners (those in the leading 10 percentile) was a $75 pay bonus. In 2010, that prize moved to $100 and stayed there in 2011.
But for 2012, his company is hoping that major monthly, quarterly and yearly business incentives will spur on the sales team. The monthly prize is $250; the quarterly prize is two round-trip airline tickets; and the annual prize is a week in Paris, accommodations and airfare.
The company’s intentions were spot on and January sales are through the roof. The sales team is captivated and driven by rewards in an exponential fashion. He remarked that he’s never seen anything like it. There are alliances among team members, aggressive (yet appropriate) weekly goals, and a healthy intensity he’s never seen.
What was remarkable was that sales were in good shape before they were amped up to this level. The team appreciated the smaller prizes and were still motivated to do excellent work. He mentioned a bit of wisdom that stuck with me.
“I’m glad we didn’t get crazy with these sales incentives early on in our program. I really credit the slow build to where we are today. It’s a decisive year for our industry and the need to do well is very present. It’s my intent to keep it at this level and slowly escalate it again down the road. But if you’re just starting out, don’t go in guns a-blazing!”
Restaurant.com isn’t offering you Paris-level rewards. But what we do have are monthly and quarterly incentives large enough to capture the attention of your team to turn up their game a notch in an effort to win a great reward.
On my short walk home, I wondered if a trip to Paris would motivate me. Sure it would, but for right now, a warm winter in Chicago is all I need to get me moving.