by Leo Jakobson | November 15, 2011
It’s our pleasure to announce the finalists of Incentive’s third annual Motivation Masters Awards. We have been collecting nominations for most of 2011 and narrowed the field to a dozen entries in the following categories: sales, channel partners, and employee engagement/recognition. 

Our awards celebrate the most effective, most creative, and best incentive and engagement programs of the year, showcasing what truly great incentives look like.

We will announce and profile category winners and the Grand Motivation Master in our January issue.

Sales Incentives
DEX Imaging
DEX Imaging, the largest independent dealer of Konica Minolta and Kyocera document-imaging equipment in the United States, has worked with Dittman Incentive Marketing for 10 years on DEX ­– In the City by the Bay, a high-end travel program to San Francisco designed to drive sales during the traditionally slow April to July season.

Results: Year-over-year sales grew by 18.5 percent in 2010. Since the program’s launch in 2002, sales have risen 908 percent. 

Leading Multinational Computer and Tech Company
The iSell program was developed in 2006 by MotivAction to help the tech firm introduce its call center technical support agents to selling extended warranties. Company goals have been to increase sales and engage tech support staff and non-sales managers with selling. The points-based program has offered per-sale rewards and codes that managers use for spiffs and recognition.

Results: To date, extended warranty sales are up 255 percent among frontline agents and 400 percent among Tier Two agents (who have fewer sales opportunities). 

Channel Sales
Avis Budget Group
Avis Budget Group began working with Aimia (formerly Carlson Marketing) on the Unlimited Budget loyalty program for U.S. leisure travel agents 15 years ago to increase market share in the highly competitive field, identify agents who support the brands, strengthen brand awareness and loyalty, and integrate short-term bonus promotions. Points are earned on reloadable debit cards for Avis and Budget car rentals as well as with partners like Hilton Hotels for stays. 

Results: Over 15 years, transactions grew 300 percent per participant; for the fiscal year ending March 2011, agent enrollment grew every month.

HON, an office furniture maker, has worked with Maritz for 15 years on an incentive channel sales program for dealers and dealer sales representatives (DSRs), combining a tiered, points-based merchandise rewards program with an incentive trip for the 50 top DSRs. The program avoids a one-size-fits-all approach, using instead a patent-pending solution that analyzes and segments each DSR with a lifetime value score that predicts future profits, measures engagement and loyalty, identifies both high-value and at-risk DSRs, and identifies segments for targeted promotions and communications. 

Results: In 2010, the HON Honors Program saw ROI of nearly three to one, $36 million in incremental sales, and a 12 percent increase in sales of included products versus a 2.5 percent increase in non-included sales.

Merial is the animal health division of global pharmaceutical company Sanofi, producing products for pets, livestock, and wildlife. The Merial Rewards Program, created by Aimia, seeks to identify and engage the veterinary clinic staff who are responsible for dispensing products to pet owners. The program incentivizes them for promoting coupons and rebates and for appropriately dispensing Merial products. The pharma company’s online, points-based program uses a cobranded, reloadable Visa rewards card. 

Results: Participating clinics have substantially higher sales of qualifying products, and participant growth has been more than 15 percent per year for the last three years. 

The Time to Drive Success contest was part of the broader, ongoing Montblanc Rewards Program with Dittman Incentive Marketing. It seeks to increase “mind share” of sales representatives and drive sales. The contest’s goal was to increase participation and sales of Montblanc’s luxury Swiss watches at 200 U.S. and Canadian retailers over six months. To grab and hold attention in a fiercely competitive market, the rewards were $50 and $100 prepaid gift cards, plus a sweepstakes for a Mercedes-Benz automobile.

Results: Sales volume in both units sold and revenue increased more than 100 percent versus the prior year. Program participation jumped by 1,144 percent. 

Nu Skin Enterprises 
Nu Skin Enterprises, a global direct marketer of ageLoc skin care products, turned to Don Jagoda Associates to create a three-month launch promotion that rewarded successful distributors and attracted new ones. Participants from 51 countries had to submit personal headshots along with photos of people who were the same age as them but looked older, and explain why ageLoc was chosen to keep their age a mystery. Winners were selected weekly based on their youthful appearance versus their actual age. The promotion used social media heavily.

Results: Year over year, sales jumped by 15 percent and distributor growth by 13 percent. 

Research In Motion
Research In Motion, maker of BlackBerry devices, partnered with AV Business & Communications on a three-month channel sales program for telecom firm Telefonica/Movistar salespeople in 13 Latin American countries. Each month, participants were eligible for Visa prepaid cards worth $300 to $1,000; top achievers were eligible for high-end BlackBerry accessories. Also, the top salesperson in each country qualified for a high-end trip to Argentina, as did the best regional enterprise solutions salespeople.

Results: Sales grew 30 percent. Most countries achieved their national goals, and six exceeded them by five to 25 percent. 

Toyota Australia
Toyota, Australia’s auto sales leader, was hit by both a lack of new models and a widely publicized recall in 2009, which led to flat sales and damaged customer perception. Working with Synchro Marketing Australia, Toyota launched the three-month Toyota Sales Revolution in July 2010 to “refocus, challenge, and motivate” dealer sales forces and increase sales of six car models. Participants had personal quotas for each model and had to pass monthly product knowledge quizzes. Retail gift card vouchers worth $20 to $200 were given for each sale over quota, based on a wheel spin—with payouts controlled to average under $60.

Results: Toyota sold 5,542 cars over quota, and total net sales grew 10 percent over the same period in the previous year. 

Volvo Construction Company
Volvo Construction Equipment has worked with Payback Incentives to automate a channel sales incentive program for dealers that also identifies key customer prospects. The web-based program, which uses reloadable American Express cards, is flexible enough to be customized by region, location, and even individual. Over the program’s five years, Volvo has turned a list of 10,000 prospects—half of them bad—into one that’s 85,000 strong and current.

Results: Volvo credits the program with sales of $9 million a year—of which $7 million is from incremental sales. Participation has risen to 85 percent, and Volvo has significantly built its list of prospects.

Eli Lilly Canada
Eli Lilly Canada worked with Achievers (formerly I Love Rewards) to replace its complex, top-down recognition program with a 360-degree, web-based program that allows for both manager and peer recognition. All existing program budgets were rolled into the points budgets of managers and supervisors. 

Results:  In one year, Eli Lilly Canada’s engagement scores on its employee survey jumped from middle to bottom of the pack to number one worldwide. 

Waste Management
Waste Management has worked with Staples Promotional Products’ incentives and recognition division since 2007 on My WM Recognition, a broad employee recognition and engagement program for its 45,000 employees. The points-based program uses a catalog of merchandise awards, gift cards, and individual travel. Originally aimed at improving J.D. Power and Associates customer satisfaction scores by motivating customer-facing employees, the program now includes safety initiatives, wellness participation, service anniversaries, and manager and peer recognition.

Results: Usage of the My WM Recognition web site and recognition activity among the Waste Management constituency increased by an average of 1.5 percent every month, and employees remarked about positive 
program experiences.