I have a conflicted relationship with the season of spring. On the one hand, spring awakens allergic reactions in me that lead to itchy eyes, a runny nose and all those other temporary maladies that make me feel less than great. On the other hand, I absolutely love to watch things grow – from a seemingly dead state to lush greenery and colorful flowers.
Our yard contains a number of potted plants, including a variety of peppers, tomatoes and jasmine. I find myself drawn to these pots several times a day just to see how much new growth has sprouted since I last checked. And I really look forward to returning home after my monthly trips to see how dramatically growth has progressed.
I think that there is a lesson about human nature to be learned from this – we like to watch things grow. And while that might seem like an obvious statement, I think that it has implications for the design and communication of channel sales incentive and customer incentive programs.
We hear from many clients that they are hesitant to invest in customer incentive programs that “award customers for sales that we’re already getting.” Yet they also recognize that their existing customers are extremely valuable and that retaining and growing them are paramount to financial success. So, what do we recommend to reconcile this dilemma?
Consider one of our more popular sales incentive program designs, in which our client awards its customer with redeemable currency only after that customer achieves some baseline level of activity (e.g., last year’s purchase volume). While this design can be financially attractive to the client, it can also pose a risk. And that risk is that the customer can lose interest while he or she is working toward the prescribed threshold.
This is where the lesson about growth comes in. Through regular progress reports (via email) and stylized graphics (e.g., gas gauges, thermometers, etc.) on the program web site, we can help the client communicate with their customers on how they are progressing (or growing) toward the threshold that will enable them to earn incentive currency. We’ve found that these techniques leverage the program’s participant’s natural interest in growth – and keep them engaged.
And once the customers have passed their thresholds, both they and the client are in a position to enjoy the benefits of growing together. Want to talk about growing a healthy, lush sales incentive program? Contact us here to find out more.