While training is serious business at Beckton Dickinson (BD) and Company, a medical technology company based in Franklin Lakes,
New Jersey, the company likes to send its troops to off-site training in sunny climes. In March, Shannon Smoot, a sales consultant
in the BD Pre-Analytical Systems division, was sent to Arizona to a Foundations of Negotiations seminar, conducted by an outside
company. "My manager and I choose two or three of these seminars for me to attend each year," she says.
Smoot admits these seminars entail a certain time commitment, but she says it's refreshing to get out of the office to exchange
ideas with peers in a new setting.
"While the annual incentive trip is still an important part of recognition, it's usually based on sales production," says
Dave Caldwell, vice president, pharmaceutical sales for Maritz McGettigan. "Some companies, however, have added different
criteria for those to qualify for the trip, such as successful completion of training. This helps the reps better train the
doctor and prepares account planning and other business tools," he says.
"When companies take the time to plan training in a resort setting, for example, it's saying to the troops, 'You're worth
it, you earned this,'" says Dick Gaeta, president of Premier Incentives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, who has put together
training meetings in conjunction with travel programs. "Bringing people together in a more relaxed setting gets them to share
ideas on different topics, or different problems they've seen crop up," he says.
Rick Dunaj, vice president of global sales for RPMC, and organizer of the Grammy event extraordinaire, began the event with
a top-secret product launch. In addition, the program had two components: sales volume and market share. "Because this company
wanted to take market share away from a competitor, the top twenty percent sales reps with the highest market share in six
months won the top-tier award. We also had awards for anyone who achieved a stretch goal, anything above six percent, say,
won a Tier 2 award, which was slightly less than a Tier 1," Dunaj says.
RPMC also managed the online communications, marketing and merchandising of the program. With a private password, participants
could log on to the RPMC site to discover program details, from contest rules to the vast array of awards. Winners could forgo
the Grammys in favor of the SuperBowl or ski or spa travel packages.
Incentives à la Carte
"The definition of incentive travel has definitely evolved over the years," says VIKTOR's Bondy. With more and more individual
choices, corporations often select their desired incentive menu items à la carte to encompass many specific goals."
Michelle Croil, event manager for Venue West Conference Services, Vancouver, BC, certainly had her work cut out for her when
she was enlisted by an international pharmaceutical company to bring together the company's 60 top international sales reps.
Her mandate was to first reward these top achievers, then provide team building activities and an environment where counterparts—most
of whom had known each other for years, but only by phone and e-mail—could network, strategize, and work together. Two days
of intense meetings were scheduled for after the rewards and team building.
How else can a sales rep get to launch a rocket from the deck of an aircraft carrier ?