Jordan Clark Vice President of Sales Caesars Entertainment
Jordan Clark, Former Vice President of Sales Caesars Entertainment

Terri Hardin from Incentive Magazine interviewed Former Vice President, Sales for Caesars Entertainment, Jordan Clark. In the following excerpts, he shares his observations about sales incentives within his organization, including the program that became an award finalist for Motivation Masters. Let’s take a look at his solutions to the challenges that many sales leaders face.

PLEASE NOTE: The text in italics originally appeared in the article Creating a Winning Sales Incentive Program


1. You Need an Incentive Program

Sales Leader Challenge:

Your team’s sales performance is not where it should be. Or, maybe results are strong, but you want to make sure it stays that way.  Some team members may be unmotivated while your top performers are being lured to competitors. Retention is always on your mind, but you know that if you build a strong culture your sales organization will thrive.

Advice from a Sales Leader:

“The company needs to start an incentive as soon as the company starts,” argues Jordan Clark, vice president of sales at Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment Corporation. “When you search for an incentive to put into place, you’re forced to evaluate your business very methodically in order to figure out what things you want to change or improve.”

 Strictly speaking, Clark believes people generally misuse the word “incentive.” Instead, he says, “the two areas on which I focus are performance improvement and culture development. The latter is a result of the former.”

2. You Need an Outside Expert

Sales Leader Challenge:

You’re so closely tied to your business that sometimes it’s hard to come up with innovative ideas to do things differently. You might be missing areas of improvement that will be obvious to an outside eye – like identifying new growth segments or knowing the mindset of your team members and their alignment to your goals.

Advice from a Sales Leader:

“What I value most in my incentive partner,” says Clark, “is a strategic thought process, which challenges us to find new areas of our business.” At first, Clark found it tiresome that his incentive partner, Creative Group, “asked me a lot of questions about things that were normal to me. I learned to appreciate and value those conversations because they caused me to reexamine my business.”

“Creative Group has been instrumental in designing a social and intuitive incentive program platform that emphasizes our corporate communication strategy and incites friendly competition as well as all-important recognition among our salesforce. Their consultative and collaborative approach speaks volumes to our partnership together.”

3. You Need to Reward Achievement (vs. Policy)

Sales Leader Challenge:

Sales incentives are not the cure for all the challenges that a sales team faces. There may be underlying issues that should be addressed first. Work to identify what should be rewarded versus what is expected.

Advice from a Sales Leader:

Clark states that learning about your audience can also uncover “training problems, skill-set challenges, and ‘managerial courage’ issues. I have directors come to me all the time and say, ‘We have to fix this particular problem and I’d like to put an incentive in place.'” Well, Clark notes, “You can’t award someone for coming to work on time; that’s a minimum expectation.”

4. You Need to Understand Your ROI (Both Monetary and Cultural)

Sales Leader Challenge:

As a sales leader, you need to ensure that your incentive is delivering the needed ROI.  But focusing on ROI alone can be limiting. Strategically structured programs garner significant intangible benefits. The challenge is to step back and determine the other benefits you are looking to gain. This could include socializing best practices or building a unified culture across a geographically dispersed employee base.

Advice from a Sales Leader:

 Like any investment, it’s about the ROI. “Anyone who vilifies an appropriate incentive trip is just ill-informed and short-sighted,” says Clark. However: “If you are giving away a $10,000 trip for a $5000 increase in revenue, that doesn’t make much sense.”

In addition to the incremental revenue (“which is number one”), Clark cites the positive culture of incentives: “Where people are rooting for each other and trying to help each other, people are having a positive attitude and caring about what other people in their organization are doing, and then facilitating conversations, and acknowledging them.”

According to Clark, “All of our sales reports are so different, and not all the competitions work for all of the different areas. We’re constantly searching for different types of behaviors to reward.” A notable success has been Caesar’s regional programs, where one region offered a team challenge that partnered their strong, more seasoned salespeople with newer sales colleagues, to encourage collaboration and information-sharing as a way to meet each team’s shared goal. In this program, five of nine teams exceeded their joint sales goal by more than 20 percent, and one team exceeded by 40 percent.

 In addition to solving the common hotel problem of empty meeting space around holidays, Clarks says that the program Creative Group put together around Caesars Choice also fostered communication, competitions, leaderboards, camaraderie, and appreciation. “The salespeople started saying, ‘Hey, good job’ on this platform.”

The bottom line is that, as a sales leader, you have a lot of challenges to deal with. But the good news is that a properly designed sales incentive strategy and program can help you overcome most of them.

Using a social and intuitive incentive platform, your sales incentives can help drive incremental sales, boost engagement, reinforce your cultural beliefs, increase training participation, and create a sense of cohesiveness with a geographically widespread team. 


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