Top Three Questions to Ask When Designing a Sales Incentive Program

Sales incentive programs have the power to spark passion within your sales force. Especially in a competitive market, there is increased pressure on the sales team to go the extra mile. Recent studies show, successful incentive programs can motivate sales people to go above and beyond, boosting their performance anywhere from 25% to 44%. There is no one-size-fits-all program – a reason why there are so many different systems and approaches. But, successful incentive program design always begins with good questions. Start by asking these three key questions:

What is it that we are trying to achieve through this incentive program?

The goal of most sales incentive programs is to modify participant behavior to grow sales and keep sales reps engaged. Answering the questions below will help you better define your objectives:

Am I rewarding the right behaviors and performance indicators? Without understanding what needs to be rewarded to achieve the company’s overarching goal, it is very difficult to bring value to your program. This is an important conversation that you need to have with all stakeholders involved with the program. Incentives help modify sales rep behavior so using them in an efficient way is essential in achieving your sales revenue targets.

Have you established attainable goals and rewards to target your top, middle, average and under performers? There’s an adage that states the top 20% of your sales team generates 80% of sales. These top-tier employees tend to claim most of the praise and available rewards, leaving future top-tier producers hidden in the crowd and feeling unvalued. An effective incentive program also targets promotions to the next 20% tier of capable employees, laying the motivational groundwork for their entrance into a top-tier.

What is the overarching goal of my company? Am I targeting the right behaviors to achieve that goal?  If the goal of the program is to increase referral sales and that is not clearly targeted by the program, then the program is set up for failure. Referred customer usually have a longer tenure with a brand so promoting referrals can increase the number of loyal customers. The point of the incentive is to really understand the customer, cater to their needs, and provide the right solution. However, if you decide to reward all sales equally, then reps would sell at all costs because this is the rewarded behavior.

Do my desired performance objectives align with a worthy reward?

If the program is designed correctly it should produce results that optimize workflows and increase engagement. Clear rules for the program need to be set up and communicated with the participants. Below are a few questions that will help you better understand a successful program design.

Are the goals achievable? Is everyone getting a fair shot? Goals are supposed to be challenging but if the targets are set out too far, there is a loss in engagement over time. The goals should be set where everyone gets a fair shot at achieving them. The idea here is to drive more engagement and with more sales targets being achieved, sales growth will follow.

How motivating is my plan? If your program is structured to get sales reps to sell more than they currently do, you are motivating them. Remember, this includes all sales reps, not only the high performing ones. Also rewarding behaviors such as attaining additional trainings or certifications can go a long way in creating a company culture that rewards higher education.

Are my reward choices in line with what employees prefer? For an incentive program to work—for employees to be engaged—there must be a reward that has a high perceived trophy value and is appropriate for the desired goal. If the goal is to boost sales performance, a once in a lifetime travel opportunity reserved for the best-of-the-best remains one of the most powerful motivators. Through travel incentive opportunities, morale is boosted, productivity is heightened, and employees return from vacation re-energized and ready to make sales. Prepaid reward cards are another great reward solution. Prepaid reward cards provide the flexibility, freedom, choice, and all-around motivational power you need to drive success. Plus, with the convenience, variety and customization that prepaid cards offer, it’s easy to see why so many companies are choosing prepaid rewards for their corporate incentive programs.

Am I communicating program rules and updates clearly with my participants? It may seem obvious that communication is an important element in incentive programs, but far too often communication is the most overlooked piece of the puzzle. Even the most exciting, big budget program runs the risk of failure if your message is not articulated clearly, thoroughly and often to those you wish to reach.

What tools and processes are necessary to produce the desired result?

Am I using the best tools to monitor and run this program? One of the most important part of running a sales incentive program is having the right platform with the tools you need. Running sales incentive programs offline and through spreadsheets can be cumbersome, inefficient and costly. You need a nimble, web-based platform where participant and program interactions are recorded, analyzed, and utilized to enhance the program as well as the participant experience.

Is my platform simple enough for the participant to stay engaged? If your platform is too complicated for the rep to interact with, program participation will be lower than expected. This is a huge problem with a large number of incentive platforms, they are too complicated and don’t offer any real value to the participant.  In order to ensure high engagement levels, a simple, easy to use platform is key.

Do I have access to real time reporting? Are all the program interactions being recoded and reported to me? Metrics drive sales incentive success. Be sure you are gaining valuable insights into your program and your participants with intelligent reporting that tracks: participant enrollment, progress, claims, top performing products or locations, awards funded, redemption and more.

We hope these questions help you figure out how to build a successful sales incentive program, as it pertains to you.

To discover more about these programs and how they can boost your revenues click here to contact us. JNR is a proven single source for strategic partnerships and solutions, offering an experienced team of employees, progressive technologies, best industry practices, and a network of worldwide resources, which support our ever-evolving portfolio of unique, effective and memorable business solutions.

Written by: Shay Malhotra, Marketing Manager | Card Services & Technology Solutions


It seems like only yesterday JNR was a small, five-person enterprise owned and operated out of Las Vegas by us, Jim and LuAnn Jalet.  We were veterans of the hotel and hospitality industry who had worked together and shared a passion for quality and service. When we realized a void existed between hotels/resorts and busy clients in the managing of large-scale events, we conceived of offering a one-stop solution for incentive, event and entertainment management. That’s how it all began…

In 1980, the hours were long, the clients were few, and there was no money for additional staff.  Now, some thirty-five years later, the hours are longer, the client roster includes many of the nation’s leading corporations, and an incredible staff of 80+ keeps things moving at an energetic pace.  It has been a challenging, demanding and wonderful journey!  We are very proud of the growth we’ve achieved and recognize that our success has come from the relationships we have established with our employees, clients and suppliers.

What began with a core idea thirty-five years ago has developed into a thriving enterprise through hard work, integrity, values, careful nurturing and prudent management.  When we started JNR, we created a company where people would enjoy coming to work. One of the many reasons for the organization’s success is our belief in treating employees much like an extended family.  This philosophy has proven very effective, with the average tenure of current JNR employees being 10-15 years; several individuals have been with JNR for more than 20 years. We are very fortunate to be surrounded by extremely dedicated, knowledgeable, experienced and passionate people.  Each person on our JNR team brings something unique and valuable to our process and they exhibit a level of care and pride about their work that is refreshing, respected and appreciated. We know the strength of our organization lies in our team and we want them to know how important they are to us.  We have been able to evolve and thrive over the years through a true collaborative effort.

We value the successful partnerships and genuine lasting relationships we’ve developed throughout the years, and are fortunate to enjoy friendships that reach far beyond the business realm.

We have gained the respect of business partners around the world and our client’s say that, even in today’s highly competitive world, JNR stands alone as the one company that never compromises on quality or service, and delivers on every promise. We have always focused on our client’s needs and take the initiative to make things better by delivering exceptional programs and events, at a superb value, providing everyone with extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime memories.  We are proud of our reputation.

We express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has supported and believed in us.  If you work with JNR, we thank you.  If JNR is new to you, please take a look at our site and let us know how we can help you:

You have our assurance that your decision to work with JNR will be appreciated and one you will be pleased with.  You have our promise.


Thank you,

Jim & LuAnn Jalet


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

South African Spotlight: The Top 10 Attractions in South Africa

We continue our whirlwind adventure around the world by highlighting the top 10 destinations in the majestic country of South Africa. This multifaceted nation offers a wide spectrum of activities for those who are more culturally inclined to thrill-seekers craving an adrenaline rush. From exotic safari expeditions in one of the revered national parks to shark diving in the chilling waters, the wildlife in South Africa truly cannot be beat.

South Africa lies at the very most southern tip of the continent where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, creating an awe-inspiring landscape with an abundance of once in a lifetime opportunities for business and pleasure travelers alike. Between the beautiful beaches, modern cities, stunning scenery and colorful cuisine, South Africa will be on anyone’s bucket list once these top 10 attractions are revealed according to Touropia:

  1. Cape Town: This bustling urban jungle set at the base of Table Mountain is the most popular city to visit in South Africa. Its spectacular natural setting and close proximity to white sand beaches and rolling vineyards has made it arguably the most admired destination not only in the country but the entire continent.
  2. Kruger National Park: Covering a wide stretch of bush and savannah in the northern reaches of South Africa, Kruger National Park borders the countries of Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Because of its dense animal population and the variety of its flora and fauna, the park is considered the jewel of South Africa’s extensive park system.
  3. Drakensberg: Meaning “Dragon’s Mountain” in Dutch, the otherworldly landscape is a must see in the rocky range bordering the small nation of Lesotho. The impressive peaks are sure to amaze any traveler with a passion for hiking or rock climbing these sheer escarpments.
  4. The Garden Route: One of the most dramatic and extraordinary drives in the world; the Garden Route is a scenic stretch along the south eastern coast of South Africa. This thoroughfare is dotted with exclusive foliage and diverse vegetation that can only be found in the region. Be sure to take snapshots of the numerous lagoons along the way!
  5. Cape Winelands: The Cape Winelands are a series of fertile valleys not far from Cape Town that produce some of the most sought after wines of the world. The rivers that flow through this region create an ideal landscape for many varietals, and an indulgent journey here is well worth it.
  6. Hermanus: Located on the southern coast of Africa near the Garden Route, Hermanus is a famous area for its shore-based whale-watching. The sheltered, shallow waters attract southern right whales that migrate to the region each year to mate and breed.
  7. Blyde River Canyon: Blyde River Canyon is the second largest canyon in Africa, offering walking treks through the rich diversity of flora and fauna. Visitors can enjoy views of magnificent escarpments, waterfalls and ancient geological phenomena. Guests also have the matchless opportunity to encounter all five of South Africa’s primates here, as well as hippos and crocodiles near the wetlands of Swadini Dam.
  8. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve: This inimitable game reserve is the only park under the formal conservation effort in the nation where visitors can see the Big 5 categories of animals exclusive to Africa – lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and buffalo.
  9. Addo Elephant National Park: Located in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa, the Addo Elephant National Park is one of the country’s larger game parks. This particular national park is famous for its elephant population that has a special, brownish skin color due to the red soil. Amongst the elephants, other animals like ostriches, antelopes and warthogs can be seen.

10. Johannesburg: Johannesburg is the economic heart of Africa and the most common entry point into the country of Southern Africa. With more than 3 million people, it is also the second largest city on the continent. In recent years, Johannesburg has put itself on the map as a location of vibrant energy and urban opportunities to find success and fortune.

This exceptional country will leave even a seasoned globetrotter with a sense of wonder, so be sure to check out this one of a kind destination in the near future, you won’t be disappointed!

For more information on how JNR can organize a truly spectacular South African incentive trip for your company please contact

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Andy Tallon


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo Courtesy of Donna Rohmer

The Best Sales Incentive Destination is…

One of the most effective ways to inspire sales professionals to perform to the best of their abilities and supercharge the bottom line of their employing company is to effectively incentivize them. While monetary compensation, perks, bonuses and gifts are valuable incentive tools, the power of experiential travel incentives is unmatched.

Elite salespeople are often rewarded for their victories in sales incentive programs by receiving trips that are typically called “Summit Club” or “President’s Club” and send them to destinations around the world for a vacation.

The destination choice for participants is extremely critical to the success of the program. While a trip to South Africa will be sufficiently enticing to most, it may not be realistic financially. On the converse, a trip within a four hour drive of your office may be low cost and easy to plan, but few will strive to win.

Incentive travel planners are tasked with the challenge of maximizing destination appeal and minimizing cost to achieve the greatest incremental performance increase for the lowest cost to optimize return on investment (ROI).

A recent study surveyed sales professionals in an attempt to determine what destination they preferred for sales incentive trips and found the following:

Ranking of Destination Preference

  1. Hawaii
  2. Caribbean (Jamaica, Bahamas)
  3. Machu Picchu
  4. Mountain Resort (Aspen, Vail)
  5. Florida Beach (Pensacola, Miami)
  6. Las Vegas
  7. New York
  8. Disney Theme Park

How The Trips Were Earned

Landing in the top 10% for overall sales quota is the most common way for survey respondents to ensure a spot on a trip.  Other common benchmark goals for winners were achieving 100% to 125% of quota in a specified sales period.  If you are designing a program, these might be appropriate program rules to utilize.

Did the Trip Increase Motivation?

73% of respondents either responded “strongly agree” or “moderately agree” when asked if the trip influenced their motivation to work hard. The most common response was “strongly agree” which is quite encouraging data if you are looking to prove the value of these programs to senior management.

Did the Trip Increase Job Satisfaction?

76% agreed that club incentives influenced their job satisfaction. Those satisfied with their job tend to exhibit higher rates of performance, productivity, efficiency and loyalty.

Did the Trip Influence Job Performance?

77% agreed that club incentives influenced job performance. The incremental sales gains yielding from three quarters of your sales force’s increased efforts can provide quite impressive ROI.

What is the Typical Size of Companies Offering Travel Incentives?

78% of companies with 251-1000 employees and 60% of all companies utilized travel incentives for their sales team. If your company has 251-1000 employees and is not offering travel incentives, you may be putting your organization at a disadvantage.

Suggested Reading:

Why Travel Incentives? Beyond the Research” – JNR Travel Planner Vicki Kern uses her 17 years of experience in the industry to explain why travel is such a strong motivator for salespeople.

Peru: A Dynamic and Dramatic Incentive Reward Destination” – JNR Director of Planning Matt Kisser lends his 20+ years in the business to give you insight on how to do an incentive trip to Machu Picchu in style.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.