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CASE STUDY: Answering The Call To Increase Sales

One of the largest telecommunications companies needed to increase call centre sales. We worked with them to understand their goals and establish the best way forward to motivate their team.

Increase sales BI WORLDWIDE Latin America.

Answering The Call To Increase Sales 

Traditionally, this large telecommunications company had been incentivising their employees with cash rewards for achieving set goals using a basic tiered rules structure. They approached BI WORLDWIDE as they were in need of increasing their call centre sales.

We recommended testing two hypotheses:

  1. Would our proven rules structure, GoalQuest®, deliver stronger results than a traditional “do the best you can” tiered rules design?
  2. Are experiences and merchandise more inspiring than a cash reward?

If you ask workers what reward they would like for hitting their goal, most respond, “Show me the money.” The problem with cash is it generally ends up in a checking account and gets used for needs like braces, home repairs, groceries and gas. Statistics say cash is used for true rewards less than 20% of the time. More importantly, cash doesn’t drive performance like a true “want” would. 

In addition to the reward itself, the idea of being responsible for self-selecting goals with risk involved delivers stronger incremental performance. 

Taking Ownership of Your Goals with GoalQuest 

Our GoalQuest rules structure is defined by these parameters: 

  1. It includes three levels with step-up goals determined by an initial baseline
  2. Participants self-select which of the three goals they will commit to achieve
  3. The rewards exponentially reflect the degree of difficulty at each goal level (bigger risk, bigger reward)
  4. The design encompasses an all or nothing rewards structure (rewards are earned only if the goal is achieved)
  5. It is a pay for performance construct


Putting It To The Test 

To test the theory around which rules structure and rewards drive results, we created four conditions and ran a 60-day program: 

  1. A GoalQuest rules structure with an experiences/merchandise reward
  2. A GoalQuest rules structure with a cash reward
  3. A tiered rules structure – do your best and get the reward at whatever level you achieve with an experiences/merchandise reward
  4. A tiered rules structure with a cash reward


Answering the Call to Increase Sales

The impact of the right goal-setting structure and rewards. 

When reviewing the data around the most effective rules structure, GoalQuest outperformed the tiered approach. 


Additional findings show that in every category of performance, including: 

  • Top performers 
  • High-middle performers 
  • Middle performers 
  • Low-middle performers 
  • Low performers 

The GoalQuest rules design, paired with experiences and merchandise, delivered a stronger average lift per rep. 

In addition, the tiered rules structure with the cash reward actually delivered a negative result (below baseline performance) in every category except top performers, who are intrinsically driven to perform. 

GoalQuest and Experiences/Merchandise Deliver the Right Message 

By award type, merchandise and experiences drove results of 43% over baseline, whereas those receiving a cash award underperformed by 16%. 

By rules structure, GoalQuest delivered results of 31% over baseline, whereas the tiered approach underperformed by 7%. 

GoalQuest rules structure + experiences/ merchandise rewards = 87% over baseline 


This controlled research study confirms that goal setters outperform those who do not set goals. It also confirms that experiences and merchandise are a more effective reward than cash.