Many software/tech companies host their first incentive trip when they are in the midst of an aggressive growth stage. During this time one qualification strategy might make sense given the overall headcount and trip budget. Over time and company growth you might find that qualification strategy no longer makes sense for your long-term corporate incentive strategy (See blog post on qualification strategies).
Don't be afraid to continually look at your current incentive program and analyze the ROI of the program and how to increase that ROI. Each company chooses different ways to measure the ROI of their incentive program but here is a good in depth research report on the topic: Determining the Return on Investment of Incentive Travel Programs. For those looking for a lighter read: Why You Should Measure Incentive ROI
Every two years the planning committee should sit down and look at overall headcount, trip budget, sales ops projections, and come up with a number or % in which their target for attendance is. From there they can modify the current incentive trip to fit within the target. Make sure you provide final qualification requirements at least one year before the trip. These should NOT be released once Q2 is over, you are behind the ball in providing your sales reps a fair opportunity to meet these new qualifications. Here are three recommendations when building out your incentive program (does not relate only to incentive trips).
- Set Realistic Goals
- Track Projections Monthly: Projected versus Estimated versus Actual.
- Reassess Your Incentive Strategy Every 2 Years. Don't be afraid to modify your qualification requirements or trip structure.
Goal = Growth:
One last piece of advice; we discourage setting a minimum qualification requirement that floats (weighted average concept). An example of this is if Company A sets the qualification requirement that you must hit 125% of your goal (assuming/planning for 54 qualifiers). Then on December 31st the company discovers that 78 sales reps qualify and they are tempted to change the qualification requirement to 136% to get them to their goal attendance of 54. For young software/technology companies we highly discourage this practice (more acceptable in Fortune 500 companies). This can be crushing to employees morale and has the reverse effect in motivating and rewarding your employees.
Make sure you continue to strive towards the initial goals of an incentive trip and keep the focus on company growth year over year by pushing your sales reps to exceed expectations year after year.