IRF Survey Explores Top-Performing Incentive Program Design

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A new survey by the Incentive Research Foundation found that 80% of companies use individual sales quotas..

A new survey by the Incentive Research Foundation reveals commonalities among top-performing incentive programs.

With 60% of all U.S. businesses using non-cash sales rewards and spending $23 billion annually, companies are scrutinizing incentive program design more than ever before. The survey, Designing for Successes: Effective Design patterns for Employees and Sales Programs, found the following best practices: Top performing companies are two times more likely to have a consolidated program or single employee program across the company; Non-cash rewards are an effective motivator for engaging employees who take on non-core job roles; and Incentive programs are most successful when they are designed to reflect and enhance the organization’s corporate culture.

The top objectives of employee programs are improving morale (84%), improving productivity (58%), and improving customer satisfaction (48%). The most prevalent types of awards in employee programs are gift cards (71% of businesses), merchandise (38%), award points (36%), and travel (30%). Over 80% of U.S. firms use more than one award type. On average, businesses use more than seven types of awards for sales incentives.

When it comes to ROI, the three performance metrics most often used are product sales in dollars (66%), net new customers (49%), and product sales in units (37%). Individualized sales quotas are used by 80% of top performing organizations.

Download a copy of the survey here.



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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.