The overthinkers

I was once part of a wholesale company that produced the most confusing and convoluted incentive program ever.

It involved eighteen wines from four different suppliers. Under one case retail placements counted as a point. Solid case retail counted as five points. Multiple case retailer placements had an added bonus level of points, scaled based on the range of wines sold. Restaurant placement by the glass counted as five points, but if two or more brands within the contest got placed in the same week, then the points doubled. By the bottle placements counted for … get this … two and a half points.

If you define “success” as selling more wine and getting more placements then yes, it was a success.

The problem was the sales manager thought the success was because of the points program. It wasn’t.

Success was achieved because he had an engaged sales team that responded well and produced results.

Unfortunately, rather than thank the sales team in the end, he produced another incentive program. More points with more wines (because more would be better, right?).

Figure out why things really happen. Don’t set up distractions for your sales team, don’t confuse them, and don’t confuse yourself.

Be very careful to not overthink things.