BY Mark McCowan

A 5% improvement in the middle 60% yields over 70% more revenue than a 50% improvement in the top 10%.” — Sales Executive Council.

Is your agency team clear on what you expect of them? Do you recognise them for a job well done?

Incentive programs — in businesses big and small — are a very effective way to bring out the best in your people. To have them working at a higher standard and keep them working for you longer. Does everyone on your team believe that if they improve their performance, they will be recognised?

Tips to Bring out the Best from your Team

Running a good incentive program for a sales team is not difficult. It does however take work and most importantly, consistent effort from management.

Every business has different opportunities and challenges. Nevertheless, the following are my proven tips for success to ensure your incentive program works.

1. Keep it Simple

Pick only one or two objectives and ensure they are goals that each person can impact. For example, don’t have ‘agency profit’ as a goal. There are too many variables that your sales team can’t impact.

2. Reward Actions & Results

For example, a sales target and a training goal. Recognise the effort people are putting in to improve.

3. Communicate

As often as possible. Ensure everyone knows the goals and results. Meet every day for five minutes to keep everyone up to date. Use a whiteboard to publicise results.

4. Team or Individual?

Ideally, both. Teamwork produces better results than one or two stars leading the way. However you also need to enable your high performers to shine. Reward everyone on your team if the incentive program goals are achieved and also recognise the high achievers in front of their workmates.

5. Keep it Short

Your program goals and the associated rewards cannot be too distant. Daily, weekly and monthly objectives, with frequent low value rewards and recognition, work best.

6. Surprise and Delight

Allow for some ad hoc reward and recognition. Let your team — or an individual — know you appreciate their efforts, even if it may not be part of the ‘formal’ program.

7. Be a Champion

Agency owners and managers need to champion the program. Talk about it. Give a shout out to results and good performance. Let your team see you care about the program.

Mark McCowan is the director of account service and client development at Synchro Marketing. Since 1994, Mark and the team at Synchro Marketing have worked with major Australian and New Zealand companies to bring out the best in their workforce and customers. Programs designed and managed by Mark have earned awards from industry bodies such as the Australian Marketing Institute, the Incentive Marketing Association and the Australian Psychological Society.


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