360's Sales Incentives Technology Blog

Video Blog: Training Mission to #TeamHaiti Day 1

Posted by Isabelle Foley on Aug 28, 2014 2:58:00 PM

haitian-girlWhat is the first thought that pops into your mind when I mention the country of Haiti?  

If you are not terribly familiar with this beautiful country and its equally beautiful people, I would urge you to take a few minutes to read up on Haiti’s story.  Their story is one of courage, of egalitarianism, revolution and freedom.  

Haiti_becomes_independentThis is, of course, not the Haiti that many of us know of.  Today, many of us know only that Haiti is a gorgeous tropical island country with a storied and occasionally troubled history.  The country is well known for having overcome many, many challenges since declaring independence from France in January of 1804, a status finally recognized by the French in 1825.   Most notably in recent times of course, the country has had to rebuild from the devastating earthquake of 2010.  

The great news is that as the Haitians continue to rebuild their country (with beautiful smiles on their faces, I might add!), they are succeeding.  According the the World Bank, the annual growth of Haiti’s GDP is now tracking well above other developing Latin American and Caribbean countries.

It has been one of the great privileges of my life to have the opportunity to work with our team in Haiti.   Over the past eighteen months or so, I have become very close with all of them and have been looking forward to meeting my new “family members” on this visit.  

I prepared this video for you late last night in my hotel room in Port-Au-Prince.  I hope you enjoy it.  I will post a new video tomorrow.

FoleyIsabelle-1Isabelle Foley is a Client Success Manager at 360incentives.  A geek, a wife and a mother, Isabelle is in competition with her kids to see who can have the most fun each day.  Connect with her on Twitter at @IFoley360.

Topics: Haiti,

Updated Sales Channel Incentive Fraud Trends For 2014 [SlideShare]

Posted by Jason King on Aug 26, 2014 5:37:00 PM

The 360 Risk and Compliance department has generated some very detailed, very telling data so far this year which demonstrate trends and emerging threats in sales channel incentive claims.  

Then, our senior graphic designer Chris Willdig, being the helpful guy that he is, has created an easy to read infographic-style report that you can view here or feel free to download it from Slideshare.

  • Learn how your numbers stack up against fraud and compliance stats from a cross-section of consumer hardgoods companies.  
  • Learn about the current and emerging incentive fraud schemes.
  • Learn six ways to reduce and prevent incentive fraud.
  • Some disturbing statistics about the effectiveness of random audits.

Remember - our Incentive Auditor's Promotion Checklist (aka The Line Auditor's Cheat Sheet) is always available to you right here.


Here's Why Your #IceBucketChallenge Effort DOES Matter

Posted by Jason King on Aug 22, 2014 11:52:00 AM

Have you ever felt helpless?   I truly hope that you have not.

When ALS ( or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig's Disease) starts to take over your nervous system, you start to no longer be the boss of your body.  

You might have difficulty doing things that used to be easy.  Then you may have trouble walking.  Then you can't walk.  Then you can't use your arms.   Then it gets worse.

Other people need to move you around, scratch your nose, move your hair out of your face and take you to the bathroom to help you use the toilet.   This can make many people with ALS feel helpless and it has a corresponding effect on many people around them too: they wish they could do more for the person.

I have a very close friend with ALS which has advanced to the point where she is losing control of her neck and has no control of her body below that.  We wish we could help.   My wife and I wish we could do more, or maybe pick up her ALS and put it into a special container and then take it far away and dispose of it safely.  But we can't.  We feel helpless.  All we can do is donate to ALS research, and help spread the word by dumping a bucket of ice water on our heads.   So that's what we're doing, and it's probably not going to help our friend as fast as we would love to.

Please consider a donation to ALS research RIGHT HERE if you can, and let's continue to work toward a world that is free of ALS.

Here is by far the most creative #icebucketchallenge video I've seen to date.  

While you're at it, check out our founder/CEO, Jason Atkins' #IceBucketChallenge video which is also pretty epic!

KingJasonJason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now! 

Mandatory Viewing: Top 10 TED Talks On Motivation

Posted by Jason King on Aug 18, 2014 1:38:00 PM

Motivational quotes?  How about 10 Ted Talks On MotivationChannel marketing folks have to spend a lot of time thinking about motivation and our understanding of the science behind what motivates has come a long way in a short time, to be sure. But this post is a study on motivation for all of us – in the channel and in our lives. 

This office has no shortage of old-school motivational quotes posters up on the wall.  You know, pictures of rock climbing, mountaineering or that basketball net photo that reminds us “You always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Motivational quotes themselves have come a long way too.  Since we live in this amazing time where incredible information and content zips around the Internet with a couple of taps to the keyboard, each of us now has totally unprecedented access to motivation in the form of enjoying talks from speakers and thought leaders we might otherwise have never known about.  Find what resonates with you and keep your own list of motivation quotes. Alternatively, simply bookmark this page and come back whenever you need a top up.

Here they are, ranked by number of views:

10. Stefan Sagmeister: 7 Rules For Making More Happiness

Using simple, delightful illustrations, designer Stefan Sagmeister shares his latest thinking on happiness — both the conscious and unconscious kind. His seven rules for life and design happiness can (with some customizations) apply to everyone seeking more joy.

9.  Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership

We have all changed someone’s life — usually without even realizing it. In this funny talk, Drew Dudley calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives.

8.  Roselinde Torres: What It Takes To Be A Great Leader

The world is full of leadership programs, but the best way to learn how to lead might be right under your nose. In this clear, candid talk, Roselinde Torres describes 25 years observing truly great leaders at work, and shares the three simple but crucial questions would-be company chiefs need to ask to thrive in the future.

7.  Rick Warren: A Life of Purpose

Pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life, reflects on his own crisis of purpose in the wake of his book's wild success. He explains his belief that God's intention is for each of us to use our talents and influence to do good. 

6.  Nigel Marsh: How To Make Work-Life Balance Work

Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.

5.  Derek Sivers: Keep Your Goals To Yourself

After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone, but Derek Sivers says it's better to keep goals secret. He presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their ambitions may be less likely to achieve them.

4.  Rita F. Pierson: Every Kid Needs A Champion

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, "They don't pay me to like the kids." Her response: "Kids don't learn from people they don’t like.’” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.

3.  Dan Ariely: What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?

What motivates us to work? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it isn't just money. But it's not exactly joy either. It seems that most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely presents two eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes toward meaning in our work. 

2.  Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

1.  Tony Robbins: Why We Do What We Do

Tony is not the inventor of the motivational talk, but he has certainly perfected it for the modern world. Tony discusses the "invisible forces" that motivate everyone's actions — and high-fives Al Gore in the front row.

Got any TED talks that you consider mandatory viewing?   Please share them with us in the comments.

KingJasonJason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now! 

Topics: motivation

What Does A CEO Do?

Posted by Tony Gareri on Aug 15, 2014 12:29:47 PM

From a very young age, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. As the firstborn child of an entrepreneur, it was clear that my family wanted me to be heavily involved with the business my father started 30 years ago. So it’s fitting that growing up, I knew I wanted to be a CEO.

I attended a prestigious business school here in Toronto while learning all about the industry and making key connections. Upon graduation I rolled up my sleeves and started working in our company’s marketing department. The years passed as I continued to hone my skills and acumen until I was finally nominated to become our company’s CEO. I was elated! Except, there was one problem. What does a CEO do?


I knew I wanted to be a great CEO, I just didn’t know how to do it. It isn’t as if there’s a class in university called, How To Be A CEO, 101. As a marketer, I knew to rely on my strength: research! I jumped onto Google and typed in, “What does a CEO do?” I was greeted with thousands of hits that led to mostly uninspiring, convoluted, overly academic articles. I read through the best ones but was left feeling uninspired. I had to alter my search.

In my opinion, the term CEO is synonymous with leaders and leadership. I began to focus on what the most powerful leaders in the world were doing. Who were they and what did they stand for? Some such as Steve Jobs or Howard Schultz were business leaders while others such as Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. used their leadership abilities to spur incredible movements that changed the world.

After years of absorbing all the material I could on the above-mentioned and leadership techniques in general, I’ve developed in my opinion, the three main areas that a CEO must focus on (in no particular order).

People: People are the lifeblood of your organization. People bring your products and services to life. I believe, it’s all about the people and a CEO needs to be a great talent scout. They also need to have an outstanding intuition when bringing people into your company. Intuition is developed over time as experience compliments education but in it’s simplest form, it comes down to a gut feeling. People can lie and cheat, especially on resumes and during interviews but your intuition will help weed them out before they make it on your team.

Tony_believesUsing your intuition, ask yourself, “Do we have the right people, heading in the right direction, in the right seats for the right reasons on our bus?”

Brand: You’ve consulted with marketing and public relation experts and have heeded their guidance but did you know that your brand doesn’t even belong to you? Nope, your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room and it’s only as valuable as what people think about you. All the greatest campaigns in the world can’t help you if people don’t trust you. More and more, people are buying from people and not “companies”. In addition to buying from brands that they believe in, I predict that in the next 10 to 15 years, that the only brands that will thrive are those that are purpose driven.

Think about what your brand stands for and what good you can do with your brand.

Culture: Last but certainly not least on my list is culture. Culture is, in my opinion, the soul of an organization. It’s your only true differentiator and the only thing that cannot be copied. They can try to copy your products or website but they can never copy the culture that permeates your organization. Your culture is the most unique thing about your business. All companies have them. Some don’t know that they have one; some wish they didn’t have one, while others glorify their culture and use it as a competitive advantage.

Simply put culture is your company’s personality and the way that your team decides to show up. Culture defines where you’re going and why you do what you do. Defining your culture can be tricky but the CEO must be the driving force behind it in order for it to take root and succeed – the CEO must epitomize the culture!

In the three plus years I’ve been Roma Moulding’s CEO, I learned a lot, made some mistakes and feel better prepared to take on future challenges. I’ve gained clarity surrounding what a CEO is supposed to do and in my case it’s taking care of our people, brand and culture!

To all leaders and aspiring leaders, what is your purpose in your company? How do you impact your team, your brand and your culture?

rsz_tony_gareriOur friend Tony is the CEO of Roma Moulding and one of 360's culture mentors.   He wrote this piece today for his company's blog and we thought it was worth a share.

Topics: culture, Leadership

#TBT – That Time We Bought Marketing Videos On E-lance

Posted by Jason Atkins on Jul 24, 2014 4:38:15 PM

We had to get people to run over to my place to microwave their lunches, otherwise all the computers would go down.

IMG_0853Luckily, the 360incentives core platform was running on an outside-hosted environment at the time because the early days were super crazy.  

Back in early 2010, there were around six of us working in an 800 square foot space and so if, for example Teni wanted to use the toaster, it would flip the breaker.  

If someone needed to heat up their lunch in the microwave, the whole office would go down.  

If a visitor wanted to come in through the front door, Sandie had to move her chair or else that person was just flat-out not getting in.   

So, if you wanted hot food – up the road you’d go to my place to heat your lunch in the kitchen while the rest of the team worked.

It’s still pretty crazy in here most of the time, but not in the same way.  For example, now 360 actually has a marketing team.   Back then, our marketing consisted 100% of me messaging with people on E-lance or Voices.com in the middle of the night, trying to get some collateral built.   

The funny thing about the Freddy Fraudster video is that we put it up back in March of 2010 and the content is still insanely relevant today.  

Have a look and let me know what you think in the comments.

360 JasonAtkins 2014 Thumbnail 80x80Jason Atkins is the Founder/CEO of 360Incentives.com and plays himself in our corporate video.  Connect with Jason on Twitter @jayatkins or Google +.

Topics: 360 Incentives

Update On Our charity: water Campaign In Memory Of Todd Skinner

Posted by Jason Atkins on Jul 15, 2014 4:42:00 PM

Recently we received an update from charity: water on how they are using the the funds we raised in memory of Todd Skinner.  The news is pretty awesome and Todd would have been proud - he loved charity: water

So many of our team members, family members, friends and clients responded to this campaign with such touching and incredible generosity that I wanted to be accountable to all of you in true charity: water style and share this reporting.


Your money was sent to Kenya!

Because of your generosity, people in Kenya will soon have clean water to drink. We wanted to let you know your money has been sent to the field and work is underway!


Kenya is a chronically water-scarce country. Kenya's growing population and changing climate mean the situation is getting worse. By 2025, Kenya is projected to have less than a quarter of the water it needs. 

Thanks to your help, our implementing partner Action Against Hunger is busy working on 39 hand-dug wells and 5 new piped water systems that will serve over 30,000 people.

Our partner will also be focusing on bringing clean water, sanitation and hygiene training to 2 schools. Learn more about our work in Kenya here » 

In about 18 months when the projects are complete, we'll collect GPS coordinates, photos and other details about each community and show you the impact your funds made in Kenya. See an example of the report you'll receive when your project is ready. 

-- your friends at charity: water

To all who contributed and have been following this campaign since we launched back in December, I want to personally thank you very much for helping us to honour Todd in this way.  Todd truly believed in making a difference in the world and this campaign is helping him continue to do so.

360 JasonAtkins 2014 Thumbnail 80x80Jason Atkins is the Founder/CEO of 360Incentives.com and plays himself in our corporate video.  Connect with Jason on Twitter @jayatkins or Google +.

Topics: Todd Skinner, charity: water

360 Launches First-Ever Channel Incentive Grader Tool

Posted by Jason King on Jul 3, 2014 11:24:00 AM

Having indexed and processed over sixteen million channel and consumer incentives claims since launching in 2009, this week 360incentives deployed the first-ever channel marketing program grader tool.   The online tool, which is free for open and unlimited use, allows users to enter eighteen data points around execution of their current channel and consumer marketing spend which are then measured and graded against the elements of the current top performing programs being executed in the North America and the UK.

jason“Channel marketing really exists to do three things,” says 360’s founder/CEO Jason Atkins.  “You want to build brand equity, you want to have some visibility through the channel and you want to increase sales.  The best types of programs accomplish all of this, so we want people to be able to see how their programs stack up against what their competitors are doing.”

The tool is part of 360’s efforts to modernize the promotions space, an older and entrenched industry that has been slow to adopt new technology. “Consumer goods are really starting to struggle with differentiation,” Atkins said.  “Providing unbelievable experiences for channel partners and consumers is how the best brands are winning market share each day and a great experience with an incentive is the bridge to a long, symbiotic relationship in the connected economy. Moving to digital execution of programs allows brand to leverage the vast datasets that are collected as part of the claim process.  Owning the data in digital form allows them to scale claim auditing and fraud prevention in ways that were previously impossible.”

They incentive grader tool is simple to use and is available for unlimited use now at http://www.incentivegrader.com or you can access it by clicking the screen shot below.   It will continue to evolve to reflect the ever-changing nature of the channel marketing space.

Topics: channel marketing

Trend: Top 9 Reasons Why Companies Are Moving To SaaS-Based Incentive Management Solutions

Posted by John Bodolai on Jun 28, 2014 3:36:08 PM

Time_To_Update_Your_Incentive_Management_SolutionsSuppose your company is still managing your channel promotions on a 100% paper-based system or a spreadsheet. You may be handling it internally, or you may have engaged a mail-house or rebate fulfillment company.   Let us further suppose though, that your gut is nagging you about this – something is off.  You know that it makes sense to modernize and digitize but it has been understandably difficult to prioritize making the change.   You are not alone – we meet with companies all the time who are feeling the same pains but have been able to get this important change to the top of the docket and bring unbelievable change and leverage to their channel marketing.  

Here are the top recurring themes we have observed: 

1.  Incentive programs have gone stale and are undifferentiated from competitors.

This is perhaps the most common challenge, but is really just scratching the surface of the problem. Most SPIFF and consumer rebate programs start out getting really strong results – your product is great and the incentive gives people that last little jab to take action, whether that’s making the sale or making the purchase.   The problem is twofold: run the same program for too long and the “after rebate” price just becomes “the price” in the eyes of the consumer while the sales spiff stops moving the needle with sales associates because the reward becomes a form a “entitlement” rather than an “incentive”.  Robust SaaS-based incentive management solutions such as the one we offer allows you to run many customized programs at once.

2.  Unable to measure success of incentive programs.

Paying out incentives feels great, doesn’t it?  You’re getting what you want (more sales) while associates and consumers are getting a nice little bonus back.  What makes this incomplete is the simple fact that it is difficult to measure ROI on incentive programs.  Was the program you ran this year more effective/less effective than the program you ran last year? You can’t fix things if you aren’t clear on whether or not they are broken.

3.  Lack of reporting and analytic capabilities to make business decisions.

Related to the above, as well as my previous post, many companies who sell through an indirect model have a huge visibility problem through the channel.  They sell to a distributor and then go dark, reporting-wise, once that transaction is made. Being able to see through your channel, all the way down to the consumer transaction level simply helps you craft better strategy across the entire enterprise. 

4.  Unable to get a consolidated view of all incentive programs in one platform.

If you are using separate vendors or spreadsheets for each type of program, (e.g. one each for consumer, for channel, for sell-through allowances, for co-op programs) the consolidation and synthesis of the varied reporting is a massive job. It’s a job that pulls resources away from the actual marketing that you are supposed to be working on. You want to be able to get a 360 degree view on your entire promotional spend.

5.  Manual claims processing or it takes a long time to process claims.

You have people opening envelopes and keying in claim data?   Stop it.

6.  Limited ability to detect fraud or non-compliant claims.

Boxes and boxes of paper are just one of the reasons that have historically made claim auditing impractical to scale.  By digitizing and collecting copies of all documents that support the claim, you are on a path to being able to audit one hundred percent of your claims.   Our software, for example, has built in OCR functionality to scrape pertinent data from the documents and automate systemic audits against program requirements and our own security algorithms.  The world of channel marketing has typically been the world of fraud, and it’s worse than you think – usually in the double digits.   Let’s say you were able to use auditing to protect ten percent of your spend: how is that for ROI?

7.  Lack of IT resources to support or advance in house application.

I’m actually impressed each time we see an instance where a company has built out a proprietary application for claim processing.   I’m impressed because I know first-hand what it takes to build and maintain a robust platform.   Invariably though, there comes a day where these companies (quite rightly) have to have that disciplined talk with themselves and ask “what business are we actually in?”   Most often it’s not the channel marketing software business.  IT departments will not have the resources to build out state of the art fraud detection software, mobile applications for claims and rebate processing and other useful incentive management applications.

Bad_Sales_Incentives_Experience_Makes_For_Bad_Brand_Experience8. Unable to run additional programs because they don’t have the helpdesk/support resources.

Another issue of scale, especially where internal teams are running programs for their brand. You need to offer multiple programs and you are not sure of the claims volume, and associated call and support volume. Using an outside provider makes sense, as it allows you to scale up or down easily while maintaining a strong brand image.

9. Consumers and Sales Associates dissatisfied with time to process rebate or rebate experience.

Do you ever make purchases with your ATM card?   How fast is that money gone from your account?   Do you get to leave the store with the goods and then have your account debited eight to twelve weeks later?   Here’s another one: if you ask your dog to roll over but then give them the treat eight to twelve weeks later, will they roll over next time you ask them to?   Right – people correctly have the expectation in the digital world that your incentives should pay out at the same speed that the rest of the connected world moves.   Moving to a SaaS provider will get you there.

John_Bodolai_360incentivesJohn Bodolai is the Senior Vice President of Sales at 360incentives.  Connect with John on Twitter @ or LinkedIn.  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now! 

Topics: channel marketing, SaaS

Are You Communicating Your Value Across Your Client’s Enterprise?

Posted by Jeff Bennett on Jun 26, 2014 10:12:02 AM

Sales_Incentives_Management_For_Large_EnterpriseSelling to a large enterprise? You need to be looking at whom you impact, whether they know it or not.

If you are selling goods or services at the enterprise level, chances are that you engage in the practice of quarterly business reviews (QBRs) with your clients.  After all, it’s important to make sure that both parties feel like they are still realizing value from the relationship and looking back at the successes and challenges from the preceding quarter provides a great opportunity for this focus.

Recently, I have been adjusting the way 360 delivers QBRs and have found it has had some remarkable effects, intended and otherwise.   The fundamental change to the model is this: we have shifted from a full rearview mirror-type approach to what I refer to as 5 parts rearview mirror, 5 parts forward thinking. It makes sense to me that part of the value that we should bring as an organization is our expert voice – a consultative approach reflective of our level of understanding of the business we are in. 

At a QBR last week, I was meeting with a high energy, visionary top exec who suddenly started to see the value of what we do in the broader context of his organization.  He said “you need to talk to this person and that person,” left for 5 minutes and proceeded to drag them all into our meeting.  It really validated my belief that if you provide your client with a sophisticated solution, you must ensure that you’re communicating your company’s value props to all of the proper stakeholders to ensure that they can realize that value in their departments.

Develop Your Outlook

From a client experience perspective, you need to understand that there’s a full client ecosystem that you must acknowledge and participate with in order to truly understand how your business makes a difference for your clients.

In our world of sales and consumer incentive programs, there are many stakeholders who benefit from, provide input or contribute budget to strong incentive programs.  These folks, however, are not necessarily connected to our dealings with the company unless we proactively articulate how their divisions can benefit from working with us. It doesn’t happen on its own, but it adds immense value once the dots are connected. 

Engage_Pan_Enterprise_In_Channel_Marketing_PlanningA great example from this recent meeting was engaging the head of the client’s Consumer Relationship Management division – they now want to know how to tap in to our data to learn what they need to learn to better serve consumers.  Now that they have been brought into the loop, they want to know if the rebate redemption process can also allow consumers to register for warranty with one click? This is the kind of stuff that typically doesn’t fall into the sales incentives bucket and so the other departments typically don’t have it on their radar.  

So, let’s assume client experience is something that you are zeroing in on and you are looking to earn the trust and future business of your clients. Meeting those other stakeholders and having them understand the value that you bring is paramount.  Understand what it is that they want/need to accomplish and why is it important to them and their organization.

How to Make Sure You’re Doing It.

This one may be ever evolving, but it’s critical that you have a true understanding of the value that you bring to the entire stakeholder ecosystem of your clients.  

For example, because we are experts in the world of channel marketing, we know that there are at least three or four stakeholders who touch or indirectly impact the incentive world, yet may not interface with us or our 360 platform.  So it is tremendously important that you ask the right probing questions, and demonstrate how each stakeholder could benefit from the intelligence that we gather, especially when combined with the data they already leverage.  Once they see it, they very quickly become actively engaged, thereby broadening your impact within your client’s organzations.  Understanding where you can add value and making sure that you action against that insight adds to a truly unbelievable client experience.

JeffBennett_100x100Jeff is the VP of Client Experience at 360incentives.   Connect with him on LinkedIn HERE.

Topics: Leadership, Client Experience,

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