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Engaging communications campaigns

Written by: Brad Norton and Kari Hanson
(View Author Bio)

Get your sales force inspired and focused on their goals.

Competing priorities and multiple distractions make it challenging to capture and keep the attention of any sales team.

When introducing a new sales contest or sales incentive, once you’ve designed a rules structure and determined the rewards, a strong communications campaign not only provides reinforcement but truly becomes essential to a successful program.

A well-designed campaign grabs your participants’ attention and most importantly, keeps the key information top of mind—people remember what stands out. But beyond creating a buzz, you want your communications to drive activity and deliver business results like increased revenue, profit or product adoption.

Here are three proven ways to take your communications to the next level:

1. Be consistent.

Make sure your campaigns support the same theme throughout. When your salespeople receive multiple tactics in a campaign—the visual launch email, the promotional rules overview, the personalized progress reports—they should be branded with a visual, memorable theme to make them quickly identifiable and associated with the same campaign.

One way we’ve had success is to select a vivid theme and specific colour to use throughout each communication campaign. When the sales force sees those colours, they relate them to that promotion. When you’re ready to launch your next incentive program, introduce a new colour scheme to set each one apart.


2. Trigger emotion.

To grab the attention of your salespeople, the words, and images you include in a campaign should elicit a strong emotion. We know from behavioural economics that emotions trump reason when it comes to decision-making and action. For example, if you’re introducing a new product, make sure the headlines, body copy and visuals create opportunities for an emotional response that elicits a behaviour change. Advertising does this extremely well.

In our communications, we look for opportunities to individualize the message with variable info like name and personalized tracking metrics. An example of this might be a headline that welcomes them to the promotion paired with their baseline numbers to pull them into the communication as we then detail what’s in it for them and how they can achieve. How will you break through the clutter with your messages?


3. Stand out.

Finally, your campaigns should all be drastically different. Challenge your communications teams to think outside of the box. You can do this both through bold and vivid design and clever but clear messages. The goal is to be sure your program gets noticed and read. Here’s an opportunity to reach your audience in multiple ways. It could be a multi-pronged approach that starts with a creative email. You may incorporate something surprising like a digital scratch-off to share a fast-start bonus or reveal a group travel award like we have. Many new technologies can be integrated into a campaign to stand out—from personalized dashboards to one of our favourites: custom leaderboards that stack rank the audience to drive friendly competition.

Consider other avenues that make an impact like rewards-centric animations or print and a branded dimensional item that reinforces the program. Examples range from stickers to water bottles to hats and shirts. Don’t forget to brand the box or envelope too so your information stands out from the rest.


The amount of information your sales team is presented with in a day, an hour, or a minute continues to grow. Make sure to spend time on your communications strategy to make a difference.


The best way to get started is to get in touch.

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Brad Norton

Brad Norton

Director, Incentives Strategies and Effectiveness, Boehringer Ingelheim

Brad Norton is a seasoned professional with over 15 years of experience in the field of incentives strategy and effectiveness. He holds a PMP (Project Management Professional) and CSM (Certified ScrumMaster) certification, which showcases his expertise in the area of project management and agile methodologies. Brad currently serves as the Director of Incentives Strategy and Effectiveness at Boehringer Ingelheim, where he leads the incentive compensation program for the field sales team. He is responsible for designing and implementing effective incentives that drive sales performance and motivate the field team to achieve their goals. In addition to his role in incentive compensation, Brad also designs nonmonetary field contests that encourage friendly competition and engagement among the sales team. He is known for his creative and innovative approach to incentives, and his ability to design programs that align with the company's overall business objectives. Throughout his career, Brad has been recognized for his leadership and strategic thinking, and has received several accolades for his contributions to the success of the organizations he has worked for. He is a team player who is dedicated to the success of his team, and is always willing to go the extra mile to ensure that his team members are motivated and engaged. In his free time, Brad enjoys long cycling trips, travelling, and is an avid Minnesota Vikings fan. He is also actively involved in community service, and volunteers with local charities and non-profit organizations.
Kari Hanson

Kari Hanson

Sr. Account Director, Life Sciences and Healthcare Group, BI WORLDWIDE

Kari applies over 30 years of consultative design experience to engage and inspire a variety of sales and employee audiences across the globe. She specializes in life sciences and healthcare customers but has experience in a variety of vertical markets including retail, food service, telecommunications and automotive. Kari works with her customers to first understand their business and performance objectives and then utilizes that information to lead and collaborate with an internal BIW team of design experts to create an integrated, innovative performance-based solution to drive results for her clients. She is an experienced facilitator and strategist who has successfully designed integrated product launches, sales compensation communications, contests and incentives, and a variety of meetings and events.