I’ve been doing this incentive and reward stuff for a while and a huge hole in the process for most clients is measuring program effectiveness and measuring what is going on in their incentives applications.
Don’t get me wrong – most incentive companies measure/track sales, apply reward calculations and spit back the points earned and redeemed. They can tell you how many ipods were redeemed and they can tell you how long their customer service hold time was. They can tell you average earnings by person/division/group if you gave them that information. And that’s nice.
But that’s really a report on THEIR business... not a report on YOUR business.
How often do you get reporting from your incentive and reward company that truly affects how you might structure the program? Not often is my guess. Yet doesn’t your incentive company have the data that could provide you better information about your business? They know each person in the program (should probably know where they work, live, and potentially if they are male/female.) They might know who they report too (if you’ve given them an overall feed of employees from HR or in the case of a distributor program, from accounting.) The amount of data an incentive company may have on your target audience could be astounding. But only if you’re asking about it and looking for it.
Charlie Sheen – Top Performer
I bring this up because of a post I saw today on a blog I follow from a company called “Juice Analytics.” They took data on the pay of TV stars in different genres, networks, etc. and created a very interesting visual representation of that data. It’s not too important for this discussion what that data is (although it is interesting) – but what is important is that once the data is turned into a visual – it provides some interesting viewing. I’ve embedded the video below (feed readers and email subscribers may have to click through to see the video.)
Imagine The Discussion...
What if... and this is a what if... you could take this same approach with your performance metrics? Would you make different decisions based on it? Probably. Think about how you might want to review sales performance...
- Average by gender (like the video)
- Average by channel (in our case it could be distributors, jobbers, dealers, VARs, etc.)
- Median by channel and gender? (I like medians more than averages – a better representation of what is really going on IMHO.)
- By Product
- By Time
Since more programs simply spit out the “normal” stuff – you can only design your programs for “normal” stuff, making it boring. But if you could see your performance information in a different light – it might spark some interesting discussions such as...
- If females are redeeming more than males is your award mix skewed?
- Are certain areas of the country selling more of Product A but not earning awards? Is there a communication problem?
- Do you see any movement in the bubbles when you jump from product to product? Are some people excelling in one area? Can we leverage their expertise in training others?
- Did rewards increase during a specific period? Why?
In other words – you could create data charts that show you where you may be missing performance stars that don’t show up on your “average reports.”
Make It Interesting
Charlie Sheen may be a nut ball (although up until this week a very highly paid one – and that is a post of different color) but he is interesting. And being interesting is getting him a lot of attention right now.
Now imagine if you could make your data more interesting (and deeper – c’mon – stop settling for “average” reports from your incentive company – you’re not spending “average” amounts of money on your programs are you?) And if you could make your data interesting would you pay more attention to it? Would you use it more? Would you do different things if you could see information in three or four dimensions versus numbers in an excel spreadsheet or in an Excel-generated pie chart? Probably.
Make the data interesting and you might make some interesting changes in your incentive and reward programs.