Only three you ask? 

Okay maybe 5 or 8 would be a better number. Or even 1. It really doesn’t matter. Every program will have its own “minimum” things needed to be successful. Your job is to figure out what the minimum number is. 

Simple program – sell 100 units and earn 10,000 points – doesn’t need a lot of add ons. There may only be that one thing.

Unless (there is that dreaded word)…

It’s a new product and education would help your audience sell more. That’s two.


It’s something that can be connected to another product and you might want to add a kicker to the rules. That’s three.


100 units have never been sold by a sales person before and therefore a progress program rewarding salespeople for increments leading to 100 units would help. In this case you might award 1,000 points for the first 15 units and 2,000 points for the next 10 units. In other words – lead them to the 100 units. That’s four.

As you can see the 3 (4) “must haves” for every incentive program are highly dependent on your specific program, goals, audience, product, etc.

Don’t fall for those formula posts. 

Do the work. Think it through. 

Include YOUR must haves – not someone else’s.