How do you fully implement an effective customer incentive program?

Executives who lead sales organizations, and for that matter, those reading this book, are not expected to have advanced knowledge of marketing strategies and social media. Nonetheless, those same executives should understand the principles of keeping your companies’ brand and products in the foreground of your customers. After all sales and marketing are one in the same, understand the correlation. We will explore straightforward concepts that will augment the efforts of the marketing department within your organization that are directly related building sales results. We will discuss programs that are directly related to the sales function and would be a compliment to the marketing division in your company.

Customer Incentive Programs – Airlines, car rental companies, credit card companies, and multiple other industries have proven that this is an effective way to influence customer purchasing habits. Incentive programs require a substantial investment for most organizations and they should be designed to provide significant return on investment to the organization. Incentive programs are widely used in private industry no matter how large or how small your company.

The key element to any customer incentive program is to properly design the program and features to the benefit of your company and the interests of the customer. These programs require the full participation of the benefactors as well as the employees in your organization, every single person involved in the program must be fully engaged in order to make the program a success.

It is highly recommended that you engage the services of a third party incentive-company. These firms will assist you in the development of the program details specifically suited to your business. In addition, these organizations have pre-printed merchandise catalogs, they have exclusive knowledge of resort properties, will administer the program tracking and will set up web-sites to enroll and track participant results.

These companies work on a commission base related to the travel itinerary and merchandise purchases. The investment in these incentive companies will provide a valuable resource to you and will enhance the overall customer experience and support the minute details of the program. Details to be considered when designing the program include:

What works for other companies does not guarantee success with your company; never emulate a competitors program, if one even exists.

Engage the service of a professional incentive company to assist in the administration.

Establish clearly defined rules and regulations and the rules should be easy to understand by the customer who will be participating in the program and easy to understand for the sales people who will be selling the program concept to the customer.

The rules defined into the program should always cover who will be eligible for the reward, especially if you are offering a travel incentive to a resort destination. Many times, companies will hand the reward to family members and the primary concept of a travel incentive program is to spend quality time with your core customers, not one of their relatives.

The program should be designed to promote the organizations strategic goals and product categories, make sure you consult other departments and thoroughly think about this objective to insure it is effective.

The program should be designed as a profit center rather that a company expense. Simply stated, the goal of the program should be to drive corporate profit at a higher ratio than program expenditure.

The program should be tailored to participants’ interests and the program should have attainable and measurable goals for the participant.

Reward employees with participation in the program for getting a high percentage of their participants to enroll and qualify, possibly design it into their compensation plan.

Insure that the program is quantifiable and accountable from an IT (reporting) standpoint. It is imperative that your company can track the data you designed into the program. If you designate certain base level purchases combined with performance goals, you need to make sure that these elements can be monitored and tabulated from an administration point of view.

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