Rewards Program, a Custom-Built Product

When done right, a high performing incentive program will provide the right rewards to the right people and achieve the greatest results. However, because each audience and organization are different, rewards programs contain variable components. There isn’t one off-the-shelf program strategy that will work for every business, but there are some key considerations to weigh out when planning a rewards program strategy. Taking these five practices into account will help in structuring an effective rewards program:

1. Define Your Goals

Performance-improvement programs have been around for a long time, but their value remains. New technologies and connected lifestyles are reshaping the ways that organizations can successfully engage and motivate sales partners and employees. Businesses are challenged to create incentive programs that are unique and personalized for their audience. As a general rule, an effective rewards program should contain no more than three goals that align with your company strategy. While increasing sales is typically the most common goal, specific behaviors can also be rewarded such as lead generation and sales pipeline health.

rewards program goals
2. Offer Reward Options

An effective spiff program or rewards program must offer reward choices that satisfy a potentially diverse participant group. Customers have different preferences, such as physical and digital rewards, award value, and varying delivery methods (electronic, mail delivery, in-office, etc.) When designing a program, you should also consider the magnitude of the behavior that you are rewarding as well as the frequency of that desired behavior. It wouldn’t make sense to send a rep on a trip to Maui for making a $100 sale, just as it wouldn’t make sense to hand out $20 gift cards to Amazon for a $100,000 sale.

For some programs, housing a rewards catalog with a wide range of options will generate a high engagement level because there’s something for everyone – regardless of how well someone performs. While in other programs, having a tiered rewards structure can help motivate performance output. It’s important to keep in mind that your participants’ preferences can also change, so it’s always good to refresh your offerings on a regular basis.

rewards program choices3. Select a User-Friendly Platform

In order to maximize participant buy-in, the rewards program platform should act as an extension of your business—not an additional process to take outside of a daily work routine.  For online programs – setting up smart forms and a simplified submission/redemption process will keep your audience coming back to the website. It’ll be an even better user experience if the number of required mouse clicks are reduced to make the process faster and more intuitive for the participant. Our Ignite rewards platform offers a painless, top-to-bottom solution for automating and reporting your entire program. Choose a software platform that works for your specific needs and empowers your participants to engage with your program without the headache.

4. Communicate the Rewards Program

Creating a great rewards program won’t do much if nobody knows that it exists. We often see well-built, exciting programs that become a company’s best-kept secret because of a lack of communication. It’s imperative to develop a communication plan to support the launch, implementation, and maintenance of the program. Depending on the size and geographic reach of your organization, keep in mind that there may need to be separate messages for audiences in different geographic locations, different departments, etc. For example, if you’re trying to reach a demographic that doesn’t frequently use email, they could miss a reward that is delivered digitally. Also, consider the frequency and channels for program communication. There isn’t one right answer for effective program communication because each audience will have different preferences.

rewards program communication5. Conduct Ongoing Reviews

All of the available options for customization can only be effective with regular progress monitoring and reporting of your program. It’s a best practice to set milestones and define success metrics that the program will continuously measure against. Establishing these parameters can help you can keep track of benchmarks like low redeeming rewards, so you can replace them with something that could be more valuable to the participant. You can also set up the same parameters for communication to figure out which messages will most successfully reach the majority of your audience going forward.

It pays to design a well-thought-out rewards program. We’re here to help you navigate through these practices, help select the right awards, and shape the best strategy to meet your business goals every step of the way. In fact, we wrote the manual on creating unforgettable incentive programs. Download our rewards program how-to guide and get your ideas in motion!

Pali Chhabra

Author Pali Chhabra

Sr. Program Manager | Expertise is developing successful sales incentive programs, marketing, and creative problem-solving.

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