Incentive Program Design: How Do I Pick a Goal for My Incentive Program?

by: Luke Kreitner November 7, 2019

You know that you want to create an incentive program to help you accomplish your business objectives. But where do you start? When it comes to incentive program design, the first step is determining a goal for your program. Your goal will inform how you structure the rest of your program.

When picking a goal for your incentive program, it’s important to sit down, look at your situation, and determine where an incentive program creates the biggest opportunity for growth. Who can you incentivize to make the biggest impact? For example, would you get a bigger ROI from incentivizing your customers or from incentivizing your sales reps? Are there any weak points in your organization or bottlenecks in your channel that an incentive program could help you address?

A Look Inside the BthruB Incentive Program Playbook

Answering these questions will help you choose the type of incentive program you want to run. An incentive programs can improve multiple aspects of your organization. But for effective incentive program design, you should limit your focus to one or two primary goals for your incentive program.

Page 10 in the BthruB Incentive Program Playbook provides a guide for helping you determine a goal for your incentive program.

Incentive Program Design Goals

As you can see, it’s important to keep your goals SMART. That stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-driven, and Timely.    

Specific: Identify what you are trying to accomplish and why this goal is important. Figure out how you are going to accomplish this goal. Choosing a specific goal will help you focus your efforts. The more specific you are, the more likely you will be to achieve it!

Measurable: Numbers don’t lie. Effective incentive programs are measurable. You should pick a goal that you can track your progress towards and calculate an ROI. This is where incentive program KPIs come into play.

Achievable: It’s great to shoot for the moon, but be realistic. Challenge yourself, but make sure your goal is attainable. Doing so will help you get buy-in from other members of your organization and enable you to design a program that can accomplish your goal. You can always optimize, improve, and add additional promotions once you’ve already nailed down your initial strategy.

Results-Driven: Begin with the end in mind. It might be helpful to take the time to write down exactly how achieving your goal will benefit your company. This will help you stay motivated and focused.

Timely: Create a timeline and stick to it. Time limits create a sense of urgency and let you monitor your progress.

After you’ve determined your goal, write it down! Doing so will make you 40% more likely to achieve this goal. OK, now let’s take a look ahead at what comes next!

How Do You Create an Incentive Program?

Follow these 10 steps to design and manage an incentive program.

1. Determine Your Program Goal

Select a goal for your incentive program that is specific, measurable, achievable, results-driven, and timely.

2. Establish Program Budget

Structure a budget for your incentive program. Most organizations face some sort of budget-limitations for their program, so be sure to allocate your budget where it will make the biggest impact.

3. Analyze Your Audience

Take a look at the demographics of your target audience. Segment your audience and identify which members have the most influence over helping you achieve your program goals.

4. Select Rewards

Based on your goal, budget, and the interests of your audience, choose the incentive reward that makes the most sense. Reward options include debit cards, gift cards, merchandise rewards, and travel incentives.

5. Identify KPIs

Which metrics can you track, before, during, and after your incentive promotion, to make sure you are on track to achieving your goals?

6. Choose Incentive Platform

Pick an incentive platform that will engage your participants, streamline program administration, and enable you to achieve your goals.

7. Market Your Program

Spread the word! Make sure your participants are aware, informed, and on board. Check out the best practices for program communication.

8. Train Participants

Incentive programs drive behavioral change, but behavioral change takes time. Make sure you are engaging your participants and training them to be successful in your program.

9. Manage Your Program

Monitor performance, clean up your database, set up promotion parameters, and perform any other administrative functions as necessary.

10. Analyze and Improve

Take the time to review your results. Establish what worked and what didn't and what can be improved to generate an even bigger ROI for your next promotion.

Need Help with Incentive Program Design?

If you want to learn more, we strongly encourage you to download our new incentive program e-book, which explores each of these steps in-depth. If you have any questions, give us a call!

Signing off,

Luke Kreitner

VP of Sales
Incentive Solutions

About Luke Kreitner

Luke Kreitner is the VP of Sales at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that specializes in helping B2B businesses accelerate growth, increase sales, motivate channel partners and retain B2B customers.