Sustained sales success is achievable through shorter sales sprints built into annual programs, says Sue Jackson.

Incentive travel in Australia is generally seen as the long term motivator and reward for an annual sales program. But the truth is many sales leaders are looking for more powerful and immediate ways of building toward annual sales targets. There is urgency and accountability around achieving quick win sales targets all year-round.
Savvy marketing and sales organisations now recognise sustained sales success is the aggregation of a series of short-term achievements. Agents, dealers and sales execs have greater prominence over and engagement with near-term goals. And as this trend to shorter-term sales goals and successes grows, businesses are increasingly gearing up to run quarterly and monthly sales ‘sprints’. The question is: How does this effect the incentive travel industry?

Sales sprint programs are aimed at very specific revenue targets and sales outcomes. They are, quite simply, short term highly focused sales incentive programs. As with any incentive, they are all about reward-for-performance. But sprints have a uniquely narrow performance metric and a very limited time-span. When used as a rolling overlay to an existing annual incentive program they can be incredibly effective at boosting sales, increasing morale and leveraging specific behaviour change.
However, as the use of shorter term sales sprints has grown, the reward of travel has conversely moved over the years towards the inevitably lengthy timelines that accompany the glamour of international destinations. Providing lifetime experiences has often required the achievement of long haul targets, sometimes up to two years! Many of these bigger, longer and more complex annual sales incentive programs are struggling as companies experience average to poor sales. The motivation of program participants wanes early as targets aren’t being met and you see companies scramble to pick up the pieces of their huge investment which isn’t getting results.
The sprint is a sales strategy for our time; a reflection of a more immediate focus on success and ROI. And incentive travel has a role to play in this changing sales environment. So it’s time to jump on the starting blocks and profile incentive travel as a reward to support the business imperatives of the growing trend of sales sprint programs!

A crucial foundation to a successful sprint is having a very simple formula – creating a single minded goal and an immediate and specific reward. Incentive travel is a great reward for these fast track programs. It’s a proven motivator that is highly flexible, with limitless options.
Incentive travel offers flexibility to perfectly tailor a reward: valued and desired individual and group events and activities can be designed such as big game fishing, national golfing day, pampering weekends in another state and even international retail sales period shopping experiences.

Incentive travel is flexible to group size: often there are far more options for smaller groups than bigger groups.
It is flexible in its timing: there’s an idea and activity for any day of the year and it can maximise impact by working around seasonality or high profile, short duration events.
It offers flexibility in duration: over night, a weekend, three days.
At Solterbeck we’ve reframed incentive travel for some of our clients to provide high intensity, targeted experiences without the long haul. All expenses paid snow skiing for the weekend. A flight over Antartica. Travel to the filming of a top rating show or movie set. Three nights at Uluru.
Travel and events have consistently maintained their status as the most highly desired rewards. Data from a research study entitled ‘The Participants Viewpoint’ delivered jointly by the SITE International Foundation and the Incentive Travel Council suggests:

  • 88.6 per cent of those who earned a travel reward agreed it made them feel appreciated
  • 77 per cent of award earners said that earning the travel award increased their feeling of being part of the company

So think about how incentive travel can be packaged to deliver motivating, shorter term rewards to suit a constantly evolving sales environment. We can offer limitless reward options. We can truly align investment directly with results. We can maintain enthusiasm when the long-haul targets seem elusive. Above all, there is magnified potential to test, adjust and sprint again! m

Sue Jackson is the executive chairman of Solterbeck. Visit for further details.