Incentivizing Behavior Changes to Drive Sales in Large Enterprises

Incentivizing behavior changes is the future of work. A bold claim, but one borne out of facts. Incentives are a staple of business success. It has long been the belief of industry leaders across all sectors that incentivizing results drives ambition, and that ambition becomes results. It’s the way to improve ROI, yes? When you make more money, you pay more money to the top-performing individuals. And yet, productivity increase in the US shows growth of between 0.3% and 1.7% per year between 2016 – 2019 according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a poor return when you consider the growth in technologies which exist to help companies improve the way their workforce performs. People analytics has provided companies with data that most business leaders couldn’t have envisaged a decade ago. Clearly, the potential of that data is not being fully realized.

This paradox of improved tech and low productivity growth suggests an error in how the data is being implemented and is what prompted Rallyware to conduct a study involving global companies with workforces in excess of 500. 

Driving behavior changes drives results

Incentivizing behavior changes ties them intrinsically to KPIs and business goals. Change for the sake of change is a pointless exercise in any workplace. Business leaders want upskilling and reskilling to achieve improved tangible business results. And employees tend to only engage with changes which resonate with them on a personal level. By incentivizing the right day to day activities, individuals are more likely to embrace changes in behavior as the change is pertinent to them. People analytics allows for each individual to have required behavior changes personalized and delivered with clear, measurable actions for them to carry out. These actions, at a certain regularity, help to form new behaviors. For companies with large sales forces incentivizing the right behaviors is what have been identified as the key factor in driving sales at scale. Changing behaviors will, therefore, drive increased sales.

Incentivizing results is counterproductive

For too long, the focus has been on incentivizing results alone. But results are the product of behaviors. So logically, improved working behaviors will create improved results. But a workforce is a collective of individuals. Within that collective is a vast range of skills, experiences and motivations. Each of those individuals has their own learning and development needs. Each is driven by different incentives and motivations. But each needs to work towards the same KPIs and adopt the right behaviors in order to achieve their targets.

Focusing incentives on results alone is unlikely to spark the right motivation in individuals who are less confident or who believe a particular incentive plays to the strengths of other members of the workforce. If they are disengaged from the start, the chances of them being motivated throughout are very slim. If, however, you focus the incentive on encouraging behavior changes, they will be more inclined to see their individual goals as achievable and relevant. You can reasonably expect that what follows is an upturn in productivity, such as sales numbers for many organizations, and this will further embed motivation.

The traditional approach to upskilling and reskilling employees was to deliver a one-size-fits-all training package. Was this ever the best solution? No. It was simply the most practical solution given the constraints that learning and development teams once faced. The error was in not embracing new technology soon enough when it came to workforce development and motivation as well as delays in collecting the right people data. 

Modern technology offers far more efficient methods of tracking behaviors and performance and providing unique, data-driven training programs tailored to each individual’s requirements. So, to truly get the most from learning and development software, business leaders must reinvent incentive and recognition programs to acknowledge this. Traditional incentive schemes which have focused solely or primarily on rewarding results have failed to acknowledge that changing behaviors across the workforce has a net benefit which outweighs rewarding a minority but failing to engage individuals who don’t believe they possess the necessary skill set for a particular scheme or promotion.

Incentivizing for different strategic goals encourages individuals to develop specific, relevant skills in order to achieve a desired result. A salesperson might receive separate incentives for productivity goals after a certain number of leads have been contacted, for example. Other incentives could be introduced around time-management, product knowledge or anything else that drives sales. The important thing is that you identify the behaviors which drive results and incentivize those so that they, in turn, increase sales and bottom line as well as constantly improving each member of the workforce in a targeted way.

People analytics is the future of work

Even before the pandemic, workforces were increasingly working remotely. According to a CNBC report from October 2019, 43% of Americans were already working from home on occasion. As businesses look to recover from Covid-19 and streamline their processes, the amount of employees expected to work from home permanently or occasionally is expected to continue rising. This poses a new set of questions for business leaders. How do they drive performance and working behaviors remotely, and are they prepared for the future of work?

2021 looks set to be a year in which business leaders across the world and across sectors, seek ways to redefine their operations. Remote working was thrust upon them in 2020. And many would have been surprised at just how well they and their workforce adapted to it. Remote working is here to stay. It creates a more agile way of working, will allow companies to reduce overheads and opens up a global talent pool. Without people analytics, the risk would most likely outweigh the potential benefits of such a move. But by harnessing the power of modern technology, business leaders have a chance to change working behaviors remotely and effectively. Moving forward, those who succeed will be those that take the best aspects of what was a turbulent year and find ways to integrate those into their workforce.

If you would like to learn more about how the Rallyware Performance Enablement Platform can drive the sales, productivity, and engagement of your teams, request a demo today!