Every program has pros and cons.

Every award rule structure is an exercise in tradeoffs.

If you create a program where anyone who hits their goal gets an award you open up the program for anyone to earn – and therefore your budget needs to accommodate that. Most clients hate to have an unknown budget. It’s why they cap award programs to the top 10% of the top 100 based on ranking criteria.

If you cap the number of people who can earn the award your budget is known. But you’ve now alienated a huge part of your audience who will know the second you launch the program they can’t earn anything, so they don’t even try.

Creating a program that rewards people from their first sale on – like many consumer loyalty programs – creates immediate gratification and good will. But now you might also be paying for sales you may have had without the program in place.

If you run a short-term program rewarding all sales in the first quarter, you may be creating a situation where your participants simply pull sales forward to get the award and then slack off after.

The point is this. No program is perfect. All programs have issues and benefits.

The goal is to design them to allow you to impact what you want while minimizing the downside.

You can’t eliminate all the cons. But with proper guidance, an expert can help you navigate the best path forward. Don’t try to be perfect. It’s impossible.