8th Annual Motivation Masters Award Finalists: Sales

Every internal sales force needs support from the organization. Good organizations provide them with selling tools like product fact sheets and spreadsheets to manage accounts. Great organizations take it a step further and provide them motivation to sell. These four programs make that easy.

1. Next Level Performance, a Dittman Company
Oct. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015

To have a strong finish in Q4 2015, an investment and retirement firm needed to inspire and motivate its sales force, getting team members to hit the division's total combined revenue targets for the year. Since travel was known to be an effective motivator with its sales force, Next Level Performance, a Dittman Company, designed the Great Escapes Free Spirit Winners individual incentive travel program so that the winners would be able to choose from hotels, flights, and events anywhere in the world, or combine different options to make the ultimate package, without preset selections.

As a result, the firm surpassed its established objectives, with Q4 and goal results showing that 39 percent of participants qualified for a reward. (During the previous quarter's sales campaign, which was not associated with this program, only 19 percent of participants qualified for a reward.) An additional 60 advisors qualified during Q4, as compared to the previous quarter.

2. Hyatt/Maritz Motivation Solutions
Jan. 1, 2010 to Aug. 17, 2016

Maritz administers the Chicago-based hotelier's Hyatt Gold Passport Associate Rewards program. Designed to motivate associates at Hyatt's 650-plus properties -- and non-U.S. Global Contact Centers -- to sign up customers for Hyatt's Gold Passport Program, the program engages associates in the bigger picture of Hyatt's success, ensuring that engagement translates into an experience with every member and potential member. Associates who enrolled new members and captured key member data were rewarded with points, redeemable for tangible rewards through Maritz's online global catalogs. In addition to this base program, Hyatt introduced individual and team promotions that included both double- and triple-point earning opportunities. A further refinement in 2015 and 2016 gave a select audience the opportunity to earn an all-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas to participate in a Run Through the Warehouse event. Since its inception, the program has seen triple-digit growth.

3. Microsoft/Aimia
July 2014 to June 2015

The Americas Gold Club, developed by Aimia for Redmond, WA-based Microsoft, is a mixture of sales attainment and employee recognition as, in addition to sales professionals, the incentive is available to HR professionals, administrative assistants, and a host of other employee categories.

In 2015, the travel award took winners to the Bahamas at The Cove Atlantis with 1,100 winners who enjoyed exclusive activities, Bahamian cultural events, and a farewell event that featured a performance combining projection mapping with contemporary dance, leading to an unforgettable after-party. Based on the survey results, participants say they considered it a main motivating factor in their employment with Microsoft; in fact, 99 percent agreed that winning the trip had a positive impact on their commitment to the company, and 98 percent agreed that the trip would motivate them to exceed their goals and objectives for the next year -- so they can win again.

4. Caesars Entertainment/Creative Group
Sept. 1, 2015 to present

Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment needed an incentive to drive incremental sales, increase training participation, and create a sense of cohesion within a geographically widespread sales team. Creative Group developed Caesars Choice, a rewards program that was launched at the annual sales meeting. Participants were able to earn monetary rewards in sales-focused incentives; and points for rewards -- such as peer-to-peer and manager-to-peer recognition -- the winners could redeem for retail merchandise, gift cards, group incentive travel, individual travel, and unique experiences.

Overall results and feedback about the new incentive program and platform have been overwhelmingly positive: 92 percent participation in sales training, 87 percent program engagement, with 92 percent of participants rating the overall program as "excellent" or "above average." In tweaking Caesars Choice, regional programs have recently been introduced to increase the number of faceto-face meetings with clients, close more business with low-probability clients, and meet short-term expectations earlier in the quarter. One of these saw five of nine teams go 20 percent over goal, and one exceeded 40 percent.