Because we’re often asked who we are, what we do, and how we’re so good at it, we thought it would be a great idea if this week’s article answered some of those questions extensively. Incentive Solutions CEO Steve Damerow sat down for an enlightening Q&A session.
Who is Incentive Solutions?
Technology making incentive rewards easy. Incentive Solutions is a 20-year-old, debt free, employee-managed incentive marketing agency that uses the cloud and Mobile Apps to manage and communicate sales incentives to in-house employees, distributor/dealer/value added resellers (VAR) utilizing three primary reward vehicles:
Group incentive travel and corporate meetings and events
Choice of 155 retail gift cards or prepaid VISA debit cards
Incentive Solutions is Inc 5000, voted Best & Brightest Place to Work Atlanta two consecutive years and BBB++ rated.
What does Incentive Solutions sell?
Our clients try to gain sales from their distribution channel or gain productivity from their employees. We started off providing debit card rewards in 1993, then built our own technology system in 2006.
What makes Incentive Solutions different from competitors?
We develop all of our technology in-house. That means no third-party IT suppliers, which allows us to offer clients better set-up pricing.
Our modular system allows clients to start with a basic set-up, with the opportunity to activate any of our add-on modules to make a custom rewards program for the best ROI.
We have direct relationships with our reward vendors. Because we don’t use a middleman, like Bridge2Solutions, we can offer better prices on rewards.
How does the company do that?
We are debt-free, employee owned and operated
We practice the same employee recognition that we sell to our clients. If you take out our new hires, our average tenure is over 10 years, because we use the system for manager-peer recognition, peer-to-peer recognition, On the Spot rewards, and Leader Boards. We pay 100% health insurance, 401K match, tenure, achievement points, profit sharing and quarterly bonuses. You can be confident your account manager will be here for the duration because they have all been here many years.
We have been able to transform from 200 inefficient employees to 40 highly skilled, motivated employees that are aware of our corporate goals and how achieving those goals will benefit them personally. We’re highly efficient, and we pass that cost savings on to our clients.
Our employees developed the finest cloud-based motivational reward tool on the market in ¼th the time, for ½ of what competitors charge.
What does Incentive Solutions online reward technology do?
Amazon was our initial inspiration and our online catalog was designed to replace obsolete, warehouse-based rewards catalogues with the purchasing power of the internet. Remember Green Stamps? In essence, we revolutionized the industry by going from award and tenure catalogues with 1,000 items to duplicating the supplier and user experience of Amazon, Travelocity and Ticketmaster all rolled into one.
How has Incentive Solutions’ platform evolved?
First, we conquered the rewards mall. With our system, you can even have immediate pickup at Best Buy, Sears, and soon BassPro Shop. Then we focused on creating a marketing platform that addresses the questions of “why you do incentives?” and “how you evaluate its effectiveness?” Now we make it all available instantly on smartphones.
How does that work?
First: Imagine using a single platform to manage all the desperate marketing/HR initiatives, such as:
Host-triggered and programmed e-mail and text communication campaigns
Sales incentives: direct and dealer, distributor, channel VAR
Strategic performance enhancement
International incentives, VARs, dealers
Tutorials, testing, certifications, surveys
Health and wellness
Second: We use the platform to announce and track the incentives, then evaluate over 60 real-time reports for establishing and monitoring KPI’s and ROI.
Third: Imagine being able to track a product through the distribution chain and training and awarding those that effect the sale immediately right on the spot. What used to take weeks to months, with a bunch of paper work for both administrators and participants, can now be claimed and awarded immediately!
What does this cost?
In the old days, this was all custom-designed and took many months and man hours. The cost for such a program was between $50K and $100K. Now, instead of four months, we can create a program in weeks for approximately $5K-$15K.
Who are some of Incentive Solutions’ clients?
We have over 220 clients on the system. Our larger accounts include Georgia Pacific, Mitsubishi, Lexmark and Siemens. Our smaller—but just as important—accounts range from mom & pop organizations with 50 participants to 100,000. We are now working on a pre-programed reward technology model for very small accounts.
What does the future look like?
We are already 100% mobile compatible and we have two new apps coming out with SalesForce.com and Microsoft Dynamics, which will make us fully integrated with companies’ CRM and their social media accounts. I see the instant data from the apps as being an added benefit and boom for marketers and sales managers.
Having begun as a group travel incentive company, does Incentive Solutions still offer those services?
Everyone loves group travel recognition, such as President’s Club trip to Cabo, Hawaii, Punta Cana. They are high-profile. The great “recession” of 2008-2013 made them “pariahs”…now they are back; strong, but different. The internet has made part of our job irrelevant, so in keeping with the times, we sell everything on an itemized, á la carte basis—meaning you only pay for the expertise you need.
What are the new hot destinations?
The US dollar is up approximately 30% to the Euro in the past 12 months. In the same time, jet fuel has come down, also making travel to Europe an amazing, if short-termed, bargain. Snap it up while you can. I particularly like Ireland. The Irish people love us, there is something for everyone, and their average winter temps are higher than Atlanta’s*!
(*Atlanta is Incentive Solutions’ headquarters.)
Savannah Bobo Copywriter for The Incentive Solutions Group of companies, consisting of: