Why good communication is key to driving your end of year sales
With four working weeks to go until Christmas, most of us are about to be swallowed up by the annual round of last-minute deadlines, target chasing and, of course, celebrations.
For people in B2B marketing it’s also a big time of year for incentives which reward sales teams, customers, channel partners and introducers for last minute opportunities, sales and of course loyalty.
Most organisations will already have budgets agreed for end of year incentives and plans ready to implement. Whether your plans are in place, or you’re in the process of taking decisions, there is one thing I think every organisation should be prioritising to ensure the end of year incentive programme delivers the desired return on investment: getting the communications right.
While much of media coverage of end of year reward tends to focus on the nature of reward, the act of saying thank-you in a way which engages and motivates is an opportunity missed by many. From my experience I think every organisation should prioritise communications in three areas:
- For the individual - the personal thank-you: Core to the motivational power of incentive or reward is a thank you which is delivered face-to-face, one-on-one. It transforms reward from an impersonal to a personal act, ensuring the reward process is genuine and the resulting relationship creates an incentive to perform in the future. Sales people, channel partners and key account contacts need a programme which recognises and puts time aside for this.
- Praise for the team: Internal incentives and reward are often delivered mechanically, missing the opportunity to recognise individual performance in the context of a team. A second area for communication to focus on is in reinforcing the work of the team and communicating thanks to groups of employees whether these are the marketers who manage your channel partnerships, key account managers or the sales team itself. Saying thanks through end-of-year team meetings gives you a second chance to underline messages about achievement and performance and show that team performance matters as much as individual contribution.
- Thanks from the top: The last area to think about is how a ‘thanks from the top’ can be delivered to give maximum impact to your end of year reward and incentives. Obviously, the size and nature of the organisation will dictate who this comes from and how it is delivered but it gives the opportunity for people hidden from view in the day-to-day to step out and say a meaningful thank you. Again, this applies to key accounts, channel partners and sales teams who may not have regular contact with the senior team. Taking time out to deliver a personal thank you not only underlines the reward itself but makes the thanks appear more genuine and the contribution more valued.
At the heart of all of this should be a process ensuring you deliver the right corporate messages with consistency and timeliness. This requires planning right now. Done in a rush and without thought – as is too frequently the case –poorly executed communications can do as much to demotivate as give the boost your organisation needs.
Colin Hodgson is sales director for incentives and motivation at Edenred