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We’d all like to be motivated one hundred percent of the time. It would make for more energy, more productivity, and greater profit. But alas, we’re human, and in today’s competitive market, dealers and manufacturers alike can find themselves experiencing burnout. The problem comes when that burnout negatively impacts sales—and eats into the bottom line.

Many manufacturers offer sales incentive programs with tangible goals to celebrate their dealers’—and in many cases the dealer salespeople’s—dedication and drive, which can stoke motivation and counteract the effects of the daily grind. But successful sales incentive programs are about more than just a one-time gift or a monetary reward.

Here are eight basic strategies to get you started.

  1. Build a program that is mutually beneficial.
    A sales incentive program should create common ground between the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and its dealers. Creating an incentive program centered on the wants and needs of your audience is essential if your overall goal is to drive sales. Who doesn’t love a free vacation or a customized gift? These are popular incentive options that dealers will love.
  2. Align your program with the company’s goals and performance gaps.
    One-time gifts don’t do much to motivate sales representatives. Instead, evaluate your sales goals and performance gaps, then build an incentive program that works to meet those goals and close those gaps. For example, a manufacturer could plan an annual incentive trip, then update the requirements at the beginning of each year’s program to align with the company’s overall goals for that year.
  3. Make sure the goal is tangible.
    Setting unrealistic goals or expectations will only work to frustrate salespeople and dealers, and many will give up before they even get started. Instead, create an incentive strategy that puts all dealers—those with large dealerships and those with small businesses—on an equal playing field. When they can visualize their own success, dealers and salespeople are more likely to participate in your incentive program.
  4. Make sure you stay organized.
    A successful sales incentive program requires an extreme attention to detail. Have a database that keeps track of dealer information, progress, and (if applicable) points that help the program run smoothly. You can always refer to this information to target past years’ winners, find the names of top-performing dealers, and encourage those who have shown improvement.
  5. Make sure you promote the program.
    For a sales incentive program to produce results, people have to know the program exists and understand how it works. Create a kick-off event that generates buzz and excitement, or craft a unique “letter” that informs them of the program’s parameters. You could even create a video brochure to get the dealers excited about and engaged with the program.
    Program details should be easily accessible, and you will want to regularly communicate updates. Set checkpoints to announce contenders so the dealers can keep track of program leaders and engage in healthy competition as the program deadline approaches.
  6. Stick to your budget.
    It can be tempting to make your sales incentive program as “flashy” and exciting as possible, but make sure you don’t break the bank. You want the program to motivate dealers and increase company sales. Maybe a weeklong trip to the Caribbean or some far-off paradise isn’t within your budget this year; you can still plan an incredible, shorter getaway somewhere a little closer.
  7. Find a way to measure results.
    Prior to implementing the strategy, analyze your sales. Then, once the program is complete, take a look at the numbers again. Make sure you check in with your internal sales channel or regional managers about dealer performance, and consider reaching out to individual dealers to get their feedback on how you can align the sales incentive program with their dealership’s goals and performance.
  8. Get some feedback.
    Nothing is going to be perfect on the first try. Send out a survey to gauge how the dealers feel about the sales incentive program. The feedback allows you to see whether the program has made an impact, what could be improved, and what they believe could make the program better. Take the feedback into consideration as you build next year’s program, so you can continue to drive engagement and sales.

Ready to implement a sales incentive program for your company? Kinetic has the experience to help get you started. Reach out to our team today

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