"There is so much evidence that incentives are effective tools in encouraging people to make time for online training," explains
Karen Renk, executive director of the Incentive Marketing Association based in Naperville, Illinois.
She explains that research has demonstrated a correlation between training and increased sales, pointing to an example from
the technology industry: "Microsoft put together an online training program for their dealers and distributors," she says.
"They found that those who participated sold up to one hundred and thirteen percent more than those who didn't."
One Program, Many Goals
Al Luzi, business development manager for the Des Moines-based ITA Group, says goal-setting is a vital step before program
design and implementation. "Management needs to focus on specific goals, such as increased sales and market share, to drive
the behaviors that support physicians," he says. The end result is "better service to end users."
Companies often overlook the fact that a single reward program can be used to motivate different behaviors at various levels
of the company. For example, GlaxoSmithKline in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, developed its "3*2*1 Challenge" employee-recognition
program to keep its sales force focused on patients, product benefits, and territory success. The program zeroed in on talented,
newly hired, relatively inexperienced sales reps, tantalizing them with 800 merchandise and travel awards such as high-end
electronics, sports and outdoor products, jewelry, and travel gift certificates. Employees could earn points three ways: awards
for an entire division when monthly goals were met, manager-endorsed points for recognition of positive changes in the sales
process, and points earned every month when they passed product quizzes within ten days of the product's availability. Winners
received a congratulatory e-mail detailing the number of points in their web-based account. The results were impressive: With
100 percent of eligible reps participating in the program, not only were goals achieved, but 97 percent passed the knowledge
assessment test and successfully adopted new sales techniques.
offerings: What Motivates Reps the Most?
Employees Rewarding Employees
Another approach to the same challenge is the use of "discretionary points" systems to motivate and drive a range of sales
techniques, according to Durrett, and they are not just the purview of management. Luzi agrees: "Peer-to-peer recognition
and rewards are critical as part of an overall program. If you have an umbrella program, you want to maximize participation
by offering different ways to earn points. The right peer-to-peer program will devise a system to reward and recognize the
contributions made by fellow employees." He says companies are increasingly emphasizing the value of mentoring in their organizations,
and peers can and often do reward their mentors with point rewards and recognition.
Luzi says peer-to-peer has gained greater popularity and acceptance because of Web-based measuring and communication platforms.
This technology not only provides more effective ways to distribute rewards but also measures the changes in activity. Luzi
believes reward recipients should have their achievements announced to everyone in order to broadcast their accomplishments.
"It all comes down to reward, measurement, and better communications," he says. (See "What Motivates Reps the Most?")