Why employees should be segmented, too

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on April 16, 2010

Sales incentive and reward programmes offer businesses many benefits and advantages beyond a simple increase in sales, according to Jennifer Kallery of Maritz Loyalty & Motivation, who suggests several ways in which companies can defend their spending on such programmes while still being sensitive to the current economic climate.

As companies make hard financial decisions in reaction to a slow current economic climate, many organisations have undergone changes that impact employees and their performance.

But Kallery suggests that providing the right kinds of rewards for the sales force can not only increase sales in the short term but also boost productivity. The key to this strategy, however, is to know which employees to reward, and how.

"Workforce segmentation is a way to effectively engage and motivate your sales team and channel partners," explained Kallery, vice president for Maritz Loyalty & Motivation. "When each segment is leveraged to its fullest potential, the 'people investment' of a sales incentive programme becomes much clearer and easier to justify."

In order to maximise such an investment, an incentive programme should target those who have the most potential for improvement – i.e. employees who have significant opportunities for growth, as well as employees who are strong performers but who might currently have a low level of interest. The principle is exactly the same as the one commonly applied to customers.

The three key steps involved are:

  1. Continue rewarding and recognising your top performers because they are the best and quickest ways to maintain and grow client accounts.
  2. Identify those employees who need additional training, or who aren't the right "fit" for the company. These are typically the bottom 20% who are contributing very little to company growth. When challenged and coached appropriately, many of these individuals can reach the performance levels of an "average" employee (typically the middle 60%).
  3. Contrary to popular belief, you should specifically focus on the middle 60%. This is where managers can have the most impact and influence behaviour most positively. In fact, this group of "average" performers has the greatest opportunity for growth. Encourage these people to exceed personal and company goals, and align their incentives and rewards with the value of exceeding those goals.

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