By RedBalloon for Business

Experiences at work: Sales incentives

“Incentives matter tremendously. You really want people to be rewarded for doing the right thing for the customers and the organisation,” Ramez Naam.

In this ten-part series, we suggest ways to ‘shift people’s experience of work’. The first article talked about employee connection to business purpose, and in this second post we look at best practice when it comes to using experiences as sales incentives for your teams, business partners and in a B2B context, and why it consistently delivers results.

Why experiences work as sales incentives

When redBalloon Founder Naomi Simson started experience brand RedBalloon in 2001 the business was all about delivering memorable experiences to customers – and that is a core purpose the business still stands for. Corporate gifting wasn’t necessarily part of the fabric from day one, however, only six month in, Simson saw the opportunity to provide experiences in the workplace. Experiences are a powerful tool for motivating employees, inspiring results and shifting behaviours.

It was Fuji Xerox who inspired the initial move towards putting experiences to work as corporate sales incentives. The business wanted to use RedBalloon vouchers to incentivise sales of their printers through both their own workforce and their third party distributors. They asked RedBalloon to build a special system for them as an incentive program, and while the platform didn’t exist at the time, they soon built it. That program continued for more than 18 months, and over the years major business players and small businesses alike have chosen experience vouchers as an incentive. As an incentive tool it just works, it’s unique, and it gets people talking – in the best way.

What the right sales incentive can achieve

Using experiences is a powerful sales incentive for business. Time and time again it has been proven that cash rewards are simply not as effective as non cash rewards in motivating people and inspiring specific behaviours. Shared experiences foster relationships – they generate conversations, create memories and build emotional bonds. These are all invaluable results that cash incentives cannot achieve.

Issuing experiences as sales incentives means the recipient not only feels special on receipt of the reward, but also enjoys the anticipation leading up to the event, the event itself and then the lasting memories and stories after the experience. The impact is much more significant than any material gift can replicate. That’s what RedBalloon saw with the Fuji Xerox example – the real power was in the storytelling that followed the sales incentive. And it also inspired those participants to keep performing in their sales duties.

Experiences create a tangible outcome and deliver the type of emotional connection to your brand that other incentives simply cannot. There is power in experiences simply because aspirational incentives are more likely to change behaviour, and be more memorable than cash or products. It is well worth considering them as a part of your sales incentive program.


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