Incentive - January/February 2010 - (Page 21)

STRATEGIES PAUL HEBERT: Calculations & Conversations Don’t Rely on Program Data Alone to Determine ROI T Illustration: Chad Crowe he call to measure ROI has never been louder. With negative press about corporate events and new age gurus deriding incentives, it is imperative to prove the value of incentive programs. These programs must generate positive returns. That’s just smart business. However, in our quest for quantitative proof, we are left with another problem: lack of context. I once did a survey of sales managers after a sales incentive program, asking whether it influenced them to run their businesses differently. The survey data said no. I would have concluded that the sponsor should stop its dealer incentive programs because they didn’t influence behavior. However, in follow-up one-on-one interviews with a sample of program participants, I asked this question: “Did you look at the standings that came out every two weeks?” The answer was resounding. One person answered, “Heck yeah. I wanted to make sure we were in one of the top three spots every reporting period. I also wanted to make sure I was ahead of Bob.” It turned out that the participants did not want to admit to the sponsor that they can be influenced, but the program did, in fact, affect their behavior. So don’t rely solely on data alone. They need context, which can only come from conversations. 1. Take the Time to Talk Make qualitative proof a part of your analysis plan. Conduct interviews. The true value for clients, and what all incentive managers should offer, is interpretation of numbers. Any selfrespecting incentive tracking system can spit out the units sold, the dollars collected, and the customers contacted. Turn the numbers into a story. 2. Before Your Program Probably the most important conversation to have with your participants is the one between programs. Make sure you debrief program participants about the last program before you start your next one. Nothing is worse than perpetuating bad program design. 3. After Your Launch Make sure you connected with the audience. Do participants understand the program and its rules? Is there anything that can be done to better explain the program? While many companies do surveys to grab this information, having conversations with participants will give you the details you can’t get from evaluation forms. 4. During the Program Touch base at least twice with a representative sample of participants to gather qualitative feedback on the progress of the program. If the program is longer, seek feedback more than twice. Compare your interview notes to the survey data that you’re also receiving. Can the data now be interpreted differently? 5. After the Program Repeat step 1. Talk to people. It’s revolutionary, isn’t it? As a salesperson said to me once, “It’s amazing how much more successful you can be when you actually talk to clients.” The same holds true for incentive programs. Paul Hebert is managing director at i2i, an incentive design consultancy, Over the past 20-plus years, he has worked with Fortune 100 clients to develop non-cash reward and recognition strategies within overall engagement plans. | January/February 2010 | Incentive |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Incentive - January/February 2010

Incentive - January/February 2010
Editor’s Note: Shift Happens
Cover Story: Incentive’s 2009 Grand Motivation Master Winner
7 Steps for Running a Non-Sales Program
Original Research: Incentive’s 2010 Reader Forecast Survey
Primer: 3 Tips for Getting Through Airport Security
Strategies: Calculations and Conversations
Travel News: Where to Go
CityCenter Opens, Aiming to Redefine Las Vegas(Again)
Bermuda Still Works
Potentials: Here and Now
Electronics: The Revolution Will Be 3D!
Online Gift Cards Make It Easy

Incentive - January/February 2010