3 Ways Technology Makes Sales Incentives a Better Fit for Dealerships
By Steve Damerow, CEO, Incentive Solutions
Exclusive to the May 2017 Edition of Dealer Marketing Magazine
The definition of an incentive program is broad. Anything you do to motivate salespeople can be considered an incentive program. You can tailor a sales incentive program in a thousand different ways to ensure it captures the enthusiasm and interest of your unique audience. This flexibility is a double-edged sword, though, and causes many dealership sales incentives programs to fail. Why? It’s because sales incentive programs often lack structure and clarity. Inconsistent program marketing (or none at all) may make the goals and specifics of the program unclear. The program may be a management headache, or maybe salespeople forget about it because it’s not meaningfully tied to overarching sales goals.
The Incentive Research Foundation found that few companies see the full benefits of an incentive program, which could be a 25-44% performance boost, due to problems in the program’s construction.
Online and mobile incentive technology ties together many of the loose ends that plague incentive program implementation and management, making them easier to structure and oversee. Here’s how going digital revolutionizes dealer sales incentives success:
1. Gathers promotion and tracking
Sales incentives go with the territory of managing auto dealership sales teams. While sales rewards can spark motivation and ignite lagging performances, dealerships eventually face the problem of “incentives fatigue.” You always offer the same old sales rewards, which lose their novelty, or the same top salespeople always outperform everyone. Motivating top performers isn’t always the best sales strategy. A Qvidian study found that “a 5% gain in the middle 60% of your sales performers can deliver over 91% greater sales than a 5% shift in your top 20%.”
Managing sales incentives through an online platform can help you keep incentive rewards diverse and exciting, so you’re motivating a larger percentage of your team. Instead of offering cash, you can reward salespeople with online points—i.e., a digital currency they can spend in a rewards catalog with a broad range of items to choose from.
Online technology also lets you manage multiple sales promotions with different goals, so you’re not always dangling the same old carrot in front of your team for the same old behaviors. You can offer varying rewards for salespeople who get customers to extend warranties or schedule aftermarket inspections and maintenance, for example. Meanwhile, you simplify the process of managing all these incentive efforts because you can schedule multiple sales promotions and communicate to program participants, as well as collect invoices, receipts and other claims validation documentation all in the same place.
2. Communicates program info
Participant engagement is crucial for sales incentive programs to succeed. Taking your incentive program online allows you to amplify your program’s marketing and communications. With an online database of participant contact information and digital communication capabilities, you can send messages to the entire participant audience or select groups.
Diverse and flexible communication capabilities let you reach your audience the way they want to be reached. Send push notifications and texts to Millennials who live on their phones, or flyers to Baby Boomers who check their mailbox at the same time every day like clockwork. Consistent, branded content that reaches everyone in the program ensures everyone is active and on the same page.
The other advantage of digital incentive program communication? It works both ways. Participants keep their customer data accurate for you by updating their program profile information. They can connect to the program through their phones in the middle of a sale to upload documentation like extended warranties or upsell invoices in order to claim incentive rewards.
Sales incentives are all about tapping into emotional and psychological inner drive. With digital tools to make your incentive program communication easier and more effective, you can keep salespeople’s attention.
3. Encourages product knowledge
Knowledge leads to confidence, and a salesperson with confidence is more likely to close, right? Right—a CSO Insights study showed that salespeople who exceed expectations in training are 10% more likely to close deals than those whose training needs improvement. But it can be tough to keep the entire team well-versed in all products and services, not to mention adding on additional knowledge and training that helps improve the customer experience.
By connecting online training initiatives to sales incentive technology, you can deliver instant rewards to your team for training participation. Customize your online training content to specific product information and set your program to deliver automatic, online reward points to participants for completing quizzes. A convenient, instantly rewarding training incentive plan will keep salespeople’s product knowledge sharp and allow you to easily diversify their learning. Provide ongoing training on aftermarket services to help educate customers on maintenance inspection results, for instance. This addresses the problem of only half your Millennial customers understanding their inspection results and makes it more likely for them to refer other customers.
Incentive programs don’t have to be temporary sales strategies that change behaviors for a little while then fizzle out. Online and mobile connectivity allows you to keep up the momentum and awareness of your program, ensuring it continues impacting sales motivation. Use online technology to make your sales incentive plans fast and agile enough to keep up with your unique, ever-changing dealer needs.
Steve Damerow is CEO of Incentive Solutions (www.incentivesolutions.com). He is a recognized expert and published author, and hosts the national radio show “Business Matters”. Incentive Solutions currently manages more than 100 incentive loyalty programs in the automotive sector. Steve Damerow can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; 678-514-0203.