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by Alex Palmer | January 22, 2016
When the leaders at Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating sought a way to bolster sales of Ductless HVAC units, they recognized a prime opportunity lay in strengthening the performance of the company's contract salespeople. Tapping Atlanta-based Incentive Solutions, the company (also based in Atlanta), charged the rewards and recognition firm to help it increase market share and awareness of the brand among HVAC contractors. Together they devised Ductless Rewards, which awarded participants as they entered sales on the program's online platform, adding funds to Visa prepaid cards that could be loaded throughout the promotion and could be reloaded in future campaigns. The program's effective implementation and impressive results are what makes it this year's winner of the Motivation Master Award in Channel Sales.

"We were trying to think of ways to motivate contractors to quote Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating on every job as well as win over some contractors selling competitor brands," says Leah Montgomery, marketing manager for the south business unit of Mitsubishi Electric Heating & Cooling (pictured above). "We thought about a variety of options, but landed on the gift card spiff." 

The main goals of the program were to increase sales overall and more specifically to gain sales from contractors who had not sold Mitsubishi Electric before. They looked at where certain units were being sold, the number of units specific contractors were selling, and how many contractors were new to Mitsubishi's system when cross checking with the company's CRM.

"We found that we had numerous contractors that sold quite a bit of our products, but were not in our Diamond Contractor program," adds Montgomery. "This gave our sales staff the ability to call on those contractors and introduce them to the DC program."

Run over two months in the fall of 2014, the program was announced internally and to distributors via bulletin two months prior to program launch, and to eligible participants one month prior to launch. In addition to sending out program bulletins, Mitsubishi kept Ductless Rewards on the minds of sellers through weekly social posts on Facebook and Twitter. Participants were also sent an email invitation to the program, as well as follow-up reminder emails to those that had not accepted.

Once underway, participants were awarded for entering sales of eligible products via the online portal for the program. If approved, the participants were awarded with a re-loadable VISA card on which their awards would continue to be loaded throughout the promotion as well as any future promotions.

The program proved a strong success, driving an increase of 45 percent just in the units sold that were claimed as part of the program. According to Incentive Solutions, the program generated an overall ROI of 307 percent. 

"Initially, the promotion was scheduled to run for 45 days, every fall," says Sarah Smith, account manager at Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating. "However as a result of the great success of this program, the Company has just completed their first ever Spring promotion as well as recently launching a Summer promotion."