Incentive Program Communication Could Improve, Study Finds

Nearly 40 percent of end users find company program communications less than effective, according to results of the Incentive Federation Program Design and Support Study.

In white papers that discuss the study’s results, the Incentive Federation, Inc. (IFI) examined several aspects of company programs: award program spending; program goals and objectives targeted by companies’ incentive programs; and how companies utilize communication, technology and reporting within their incentive programs.

Trends in the study include:

  • Companies frequently run multiple sales and channel programs connected under a unifying theme or focus, while employee programs are typically conducted as stand-alone initiatives.
  • Channel programs are often paced such that some programs are offered every year, with additional programs added during the year to address specific goals. Half of sales programs follow this pace as well. Employee programs take many forms; some firms have yearly programs while others launch programs on an as needed basis to meet specific organizational goals.
  • While most end users believe in the importance and effectiveness of their program communications, 39 percent find their program communications less-than-effective and 29 percent aren’t convinced of the importance of communications to a program’s success. Almost 60 percent of end-users would like to improve their program communications.
  • The typical company spends less than $50,000 per year on their program(s), regardless of the program audience. IFI says that this is due to the vast number of small businesses in relation to larger firms.

Most of the IFI’s findings are broken down by program type—sales programs, channel programs and employee programs. Sales programs are focused on increasing overall sales, with morale improvement among the organization’s sales force being a close second. Channel programs focus on improving the productivity of channel program employees—nearly all of the companies surveyed said that this is a priority—and sales-specific goals, such as increasing product or service sales, as well as overall sales and market share, are also frequently the reason that channel programs are implemented. Employee programs are put in place to improve morale, productivity and customer satisfaction, and to recognize employee years of service.

The survey polled reward and recognition end users in firms with annual revenue of $1 million or more. Respondents had some level of responsibility for non-cash programs for their salespeople, for channel/dealer partners (the end-user company’s distribution channel), or for their employees.

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