Jeff Cagle on Best Practices for Manufacturing Industry Incentive Programs

When implemented correctly, incentive programs can boost sales performance by up to 20%. How can manufacturers “correctly” implement sales incentive programs? Jeff Cagle shares insights on this in a new article published on He recommends the following best practices:

Define Your Goals and Audience

Today’s business managers and executives expect to know exactly how each departments’ initiatives contributes to revenue. The best way for channel marketers and sales professionals to prove the value of their efforts is to begin those efforts with specific goals and plans to meet those goals. Start by choosing a specific segment of your channel as your manufacturing industry incentive programs’ audience, and make sure to develop a method of tracking that segment’s performance against a comparable segment not participating in the incentive program.

Use Non-Cash Incentive Rewards

The effective cash vs. non-cash rewards on recipients is very interesting. Behavior economists have found that the following factors cause tangible, non-cash rewards to be more effective than cash:

  • People’s emotional and physical responses to non-cash rewards tend to increase the perceived cash value of a reward beyond.
  • Salary is cash, there recipients are likely to mentally relate cash rewards with salary. As a result, cash rewards come to feel more like an entitlement.
  • If the recipient sees a cash reward as an indulgence, earning a non-cash reward provides a way to feel appreciated and enjoy a reward without guilt.
  • People enjoy recognition for their achievements, but don’t necessarily want to brag. Tangible rewards are highly visible, so recipients feel their achievements are evident without bragging.

Use Incentives for More than Sales Promotions

Wise manufacturers use incentives for more than motivating sales. There are many actions manufacturers can encourage that will indirectly contribute to growing revenue and achieving corporate goals, such as:

  • Collecting sales data in the form of sales claims documents such as invoices, receipts, warranty registrations, etc.
  • Rewards can motivate sales reps and contractors to increase their product knowledge, expand their skill sets, earn certifications, etc.
  • Manufacturers can increase sale value and facilitate more positive customer experiences by rewarding channel partners for getting these aftermarket and maintenance services scheduled.

Integrate Data for More Personalization Possibilities

Integrating incentive program data with other channel management software, such as customer relationship management (CRM) or through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) platforms can yield more complete understanding of your channel customers and buying trends. With better understanding of your buyers, you can create more personalized customer experiences and proactive, not reactive sales and marketing strategies.

For more insights about manufacturing industry incentive programs, check out Jeff’s full article on