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Best Sales Incentive Program

Hundreds of students gathered in the Great Hall to visit vendors’ tables and vote on the “Best Of” in various categories.

Best Sales Incentive Program About Grapevine Every spring, the Minnesota Daily plays host to the best of the best around campus during our Annual Grapevine Awards. In the Great Hall of our student union, businesses gather and promote themselves to vie for the title of “Best of” in their respective category. These range from “Best Campus Restaurant” to “Best Place to Live” and cover many different services applicable to the University of Minnesota community. This is the biggest event of the year, put on solely for our advertisers, with Minnesota Daily staff selling the tables and advertisements, counting the ballots, and running the show. After the fair concludes, results are published in our special Grapevine section, inserted into the following week’s paper. Businesses use this opportunity to thank students for their support and to associate themselves with the Grapevine brand. The Obstacle With the Grapevine Fair and publication occurring during the first weeks of April, we face two key challenges. First, businesses are nearing the end of their budgets for the school year, and are not eager to spend advertising dollars to reach students who will soon be heading home for the summer. In past years, this has created a struggle for Account Executives, particularly in our retail markets. Secondly, Account Executives are beginning to get swamped with homework and exams as the semester ends. It can be very difficult to motivate a team with so much else on its plate. The Goal The goal of creating a new incentive program for this event was to motivate staff to push towards scheduling more ads for the publication and booths at the fair. We knew that to do this, we would have to come up with something more creative than just a contest based on monetary value of combined sales. We wanted to make the goal they were striving for something they could see and build competition among Account Executives. The Incentive We wanted to create hype around being in the office and selling for this event. So, the first thing that we did was decorate the office in streamers and bundles of “grapes” made of balloons. They hung above all of the Account Executive desks and created festivity and excitement leading up to the event. Then, we introduced the incentive plan. With only $100 to work with, we decided to give it away to just one person who put in the hard work to get clients in on the fun of the Grapevine Awards. We purchased a large wine glass that would be the center point of the competition. We then painted Styrofoam balls purple to represent grapes. Each grape represented a sale for someone in the office. For each ad or table sold, the Account Executive got to write their name on a grape and place it in the wine glass. At the end of the whole event and publication, one name was drawn in front of the staff at meeting and that person received the $100 as a bonus. The Outcome In the end, we were able to sell a total of 14 advertisements in the publication and 20 tables at the Grapevine Fair. The staff enjoyed the decorations and competition and asked for its return for Grapevine 2014.

To generate excitement around the office, we decorated above all of the Account Executive desks. This included color appropriate streamers and bundles of “grapes” made with balloons.

For each advertisement or table sale Account Executives made for the Grapevine Awards, they wrote their name on a “grape” and placed it in the wine glass. At the end of Grapevine, one name was drawn from the glass to receive a $100 bonus.

Account Executives were very involved in all of the Grapevine process, including welcoming students and vendors to the event.

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