Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Incentive travel budget doubled in size....CEO reaction will surprise you!

Times are still tough and incentive budgets are under that microscope for sure. I have had my fair share (maybe more) of interactions with purchasing managers and many CFO's that get involved early and often in incentive budget discussions. Their goal, make this budget be as low as possible but deliver a highly positive experience. Right.

I have managed to not only get past these types of meetings, where you have to come armed with ideas on how to "save money" in fear of losing the business, but I have actually created cheerleaders from both purchasing and CFO's for incentive budgets. One such experience included an incentive travel program that had a budget of $600K in 2009. The request was to produce a program that would "not appear to be less in value, but needs to be below our budget of $375K for 2010".

That incentive travel budget, after a business case analysis was conducted and presented to the Executive Team, was projected to be $1.6 Million, "in order to move your business to the next level". Not only did I get this budget approved, I gained complete support from the CFO in doing so. The CEO, after the results were in (they exceeded next level results), ordered a company-wide (over 600 employees) celebration that included a video broadcast of the sales team, from their incentive travel destination, telling those employees how much they appreciated being able to exceed sales and margin objectives "due to your support".

The presentation concluded with the Senior Vice President telling the employees, "No, we can't all be on that trip, but we are all celebrating growth in our business while our competition is meeting to try and figure out who to lay-off".

Best year yet and more to come.

Guest Blog written by Bob Dawson of CITE

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