Introducing Annual Segment-Specific Incentives for Global Equipment Manufacturer

A global equipment manufacturer was experiencing sluggish sales on a global basis due to a downturn in the economy. The client needed to maintain existing loyalty and increase sales within specific product categories in their dealer network. Specifically, they needed to increase sales within the 25 product categories that are most vulnerable to competition and sluggish industry performance. They also needed to demonstrate that a dealer incentive would be fully funded via incremental sales, because without this they could not get approval.

To accomplish these goals, we needed to recognize and reward loyalty during a time when most manufacturers were decreasing or eliminating reward and incentive programs. We needed to determine influencers within each dealership and understand the demographic profile of these influencers, since many potential winners had never left the US. Similarly, we had to ensure that the program would excite the specific mix of possible attendees, whether a dealer principal or a manager. Finally, we had to determine measurement criteria, the qualification period, and the marketing needed to promote this program.

We began by designing a unique and exclusive program where the top 25 dealers would qualify, based on their product sales over an eight-month qualification period. We then prepared a once-in-a-lifetime Caribbean travel experience based on this specific employee demographic within the dealer network. Next, we designed a promotional mailer announcing the contest and promoting the destination, which drove excitement and competition across the dealerships. The next step was creating an online agenda that provided plenty of leisure time for couples while still maximizing networking opportunities with corporate executives and other dealers.

The hotel was strategically selected to fit the size of the group and ensure plenty of opportunities for attendees to have spontaneous interactions with the executive team during leisure time. The program agenda included at least one group activity per day in order to maximize communication between dealers and the executive team. Evening activities were designed to surprise attendees with special celebrity guests welcoming the group to the destination. We also hosted evening receptions at private islands and gave special gifts and awards throughout the trip.

100% of attendees rated the trip favorably and expressed the desire to qualify for the next incentive trip. 90% of attendees gave the trip an Excellent rating. What’s more, corporate executives were able to contract additional product sales onsite and solidify relationships within their dealer network. In addition to this success, the contest resulted in $2MM in incremental sales and succeeded in fully funding the incentive program—with profit to spare. Based on this achievement, the client received approval to continue with segment-specific incentives annually. This is especially significant, since at a corporate headquarters level they only operate their incentives every other year. The Corporate office continues to receive calls from the dealer network requesting contest criteria for next year’s trip to ensure that they qualify.