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Sales Incentives: How to Motivate Your Sales Team

20% of a sales team can be responsible for about 80% of sales. The majority that is underperforming need not necessarily be unqualified, though. A lack of motivation frequently brings on poor sales performance. Sales incentives programs may be the answer to that issue.

ideas for sales incentives

Since the dawn of time, sales incentive programs have been used to encourage and recognize the achievements of sales teams. Successful strategies typically consider the individual strengths and weaknesses of sales professionals, foster teamwork within the sales team, and enhance the particulars of a deal.

This article will explain the different incentive programs you may use right now, compare and contrast conventional sales incentive schemes with contemporary incentive programs, review sales incentive ideas, and go over how to employ the right sales incentive program for your company.

What is a Sales Incentives Program?

A sales incentive program is a system that compensates sales reps who achieve particular objectives. For example, monetary rewards (like bonuses) or non-monetary rewards (like gifts) are given. In addition to the regular compensation plan, sales incentive programs aim at motivating salespeople to outperform expected performance standards and increase sales.

Employee engagement has been demonstrated to increase with sales incentives. According to one research by the Incentive Research Foundation, a properly designed sales incentive plan can boost performance by up to 44%. This, in turn, will boost growth.

Sales compensation typically takes the form of a commission, which is what sales professionals typically earn in addition to their base pay. This makes sales incentives different from sales compensation. Instead, sales incentives are awards intended to show appreciation for exceeding expectations, hitting revenue targets, achieving goals, and contributing to an organization’s overall success.

Why You Need Sales Incentives

Both monetary and non-monetary are necessary for you to lead as a sales leader:

  • Sales incentive programs to motivate sales reps, and
  • sales incentives for teamwork that encourage people to cooperate as a team
sales incentives program

Why, in addition to individual sales incentives, do you require team incentives? Because the internet has altered your buyer’s path.

This will be adequately explained when comparing the present to past sales incentive programs.

A sales incentive scheme generally benefits you in the following ways:

  • To keep your team motivated to pursue their sales objectives
  • Increases sales performance
  • More deals are closed as your sales team works to meet its goals.
  • Increases team loyalty because workers who put in extra effort to receive rewards are more committed to the team.

Let’s now compare and contrast the conventional with contemporary incentive programs.

Conventional Sales Incentive Schemes

Before the growth of the internet, customers virtually exclusively trusted salespeople’s expertise when making a final purchase choice.

Reps played a significant role in educating prospects and developing client relationships at the beginning of the buying process. With the help of this structure, it was possible to establish broad goals based on dependable and straightforward indicators.

For instance, a bonus could have been determined solely by the quantity of a specific product sold for a month, quarter, or year. Other considerations, such as the customer experience or how the competition affected the decision-making process, were less important to consider.

In most cases, the sales rep was in charge of developing the customer relationship and finalizing the transaction. This made it simpler for businesses to standardize KPIs based on business objectives and forecast results.

The sales force was only given incentives based on quantitative production rather than behavioral success under the previous approach.

The situation has changed.

Contemporary Sales Incentive Program

Today’s consumer personas vary, making it challenging to predict behavior due to the complexity of the sales and buying processes. For example, according to a Gartner report, 77% of B2B buyers said their most recent transaction was complicated.

Customers rely on sales reps for additional information at later stages of the buying process since they are empowered to get information independently. Reps no longer control the entire purchasing process as a result. They now have to contend with an invasion of free information and a wide range of rivals operating in the same market.

Sales reps are gaining access to customers at crucial points in the purchasing process with the help of strategies like social selling. Social media is one of the various strategies for creating lasting connections in the modern era.

But as the buying and selling process has developed, so too has the sales rep’s role.

Customers today want to communicate with a representative they feel is reliable, kind, and looking out for their interests.

Before making a decision, many potential customers like to speak with several different business employees. This can include account managers, sales reps, and more. Speaking with various people within the firm helps customers build trust since they are concerned about the items and the business they are purchasing from.

To find the right mix for success, a sales manager must concentrate on both individual-based selling and team-based collaboration.

The best way to motivate each team member must be determined after considering their unique traits, assets, and areas of expertise. Additionally, you must motivate your entire team to collaborate to close complicated deals involving numerous stakeholders.

How can you accomplish it without making your reward program too complicated? How can you motivate reps to give their best efforts both individually and collectively?

The solution is to match a sale incentive with the team’s or organization’s approach, KPIs, targets, and goals. Rewarding your reps individually and collectively in multi-channel circumstances will be equally crucial.

Before choosing whatever sales incentives program to adopt, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand your options because not every team, rep, or function is created equal. Also, check out B2B sales, SaaS sales and tech sales.

Types of Sales Incentives Schemes

A variety of new sales incentive schemes are available. In addition, there are reward systems for compensation and many things to think about.

A successful sales incentive program should motivate your sales team to collaborate to increase the company’s profitability and competitiveness. The program should also support a happy and effective work environment and align with your company’s culture.

Ultimately, your incentive program should motivate and excite your sales reps, giving them a sense of value and appreciation.

Reps will lose interest, and it won’t work if they can’t see how their actions are directly related to the objective.

Role-specific Incentives

Your sales incentive program should provide sales reps the freedom to play to their strengths, just as several sales approaches can help them through your sales process.

The most straightforward approach to achieving this is to reward representatives based on their unique skills.

You might, for instance, have a sales dynamo on your staff who constantly outperforms the typical sales rep. Your top sales performer will probably surpass the objective sooner than your team’s if you set a broad incentive goal.

If such is the case, what drives your top performers to keep up their best efforts even after they have met their sales targets? Of course, once you reach your destination, it’s natural to let up on the gas.

Alternatively, you may create a tier-based financial incentive plan with a bigger payout for each next milestone. Your sales leaders will be inspired to perform better than they did, and your average reps will still have a realistic goal to reach.

Split Incentives

Due to the complexity of many products and services, the help of sales gurus to assist frontline sales reps is needed to complete the transaction.

As an illustration, a SaaS provider of white-label applications might frequently include new features in their software development kit. The specialized product manager on the sales team can be required to help with in-depth descriptions of the product’s new capabilities as these features are released.

In this instance, the sales representative and the sales expert or product manager are the two key parties participating in the sale.

Alternatively, you might pair up two or more representatives on your team to clinch a deal. For instance, the salespeople might serve distinct geographical areas, and to seal the deal, they each need to enlist the support of their local prospects.

If this is the case, a split incentive program might motivate employees to coordinate their efforts and work together. It’s also the most equitable way to pay all those closing their accounts.

The incentive might be divided equally or according to a predetermined ratio. Whatever structure you decide on, ensure the benefits are well-defined in advance to encourage fairness and avoid controversy.

Presales Incentives

As previously noted, the sales process is more intricate than ever. Customers are constantly bombarded with commercials and outreach initiatives from businesses that market comparable goods and compete with one another.

As a result, the consumer takes more time to weigh all their options. They can seek out demos from every business and invest time learning about the advantages and disadvantages of each. This prolonged review period ultimately lengthens the overall client experience. A rep may communicate with a prospect for up to a year.

Throughout complex sales scenarios, it could be beneficial to compensate your sales reps at specific points in the sales process in order to maintain their motivation. Both short-term and long-term attention will be encouraged by this.

Your salespeople should ideally be given a balanced portfolio that includes short and lengthy sales cycles. Pre-sales incentives, however, might keep your reps focused in cases when a contract develops into a lengthy pursuit.

Omnichannel Incentives

Numerous customers connect with humans and computers at different stages of the buying cycle due to the ongoing development of digital channels and AI.

Computers can be brilliant, but they cannot wholly replace human feeling. Reps will always be required to listen to prospects’ requirements, pinpoint their problems, and build relationships as part of the consultative process.

When used properly, omnichannel incentives encourage sales reps to view digital channels as allies rather than rivals. Omnichannel incentives place a strong emphasis on paying reps for their contributions to the process as a whole.

A representative could be rewarded for their efforts after a lead has been qualified, for instance, if a customer cited an automated targeted email series as the reason for engaging with a rep, and the rep then went ahead and closed the transaction.

Regardless of how you put it up, pay attention to the role your rep plays when a digital channel is involved and adjust your compensation.

Advanced-analytics-based target setting

It can be challenging to forecast customer demand and create realistic aims, objectives, and quotas in many complex sales scenarios.

As a result, designing a fair and inspiring reward program may prove challenging.

The ideal method to deal with this problem is to use sophisticated big data analytics to assist in the development of more precise sales estimates. The system will analyze historical data sets based on several characteristics to create a predictive model for customer demand.

These technologies gradually become more innovative and precise as you use them. For example, this might assist you in developing a structured incentive program that rewards reps for metrics-driven behavior and value-creating actions.

For instance, activity-based selling allows you to duplicate the outcomes by analyzing how a rep’s particular behaviors aided in the progression of a contract along the sales funnel. Instead of concentrating solely on the actual outcome and results, activity-based selling places a high value on the actions that a rep takes throughout the selling process.

Advanced analytics-based target setting substantially helps with this technique because it enables you to identify what works and what doesn’t and allows you to make adjustments as necessary.

sales incentives programs

Sales Incentive Ideas

Cash incentives and non-cash rewards are the two basic approaches to implementing sales performance incentive funds (SPIF). However, when used in the appropriate circumstance, both can be successful.

Whichever rewards system you choose, the key is determining how much of a rep’s compensation should be salary and bonus, as well as how much incentive should be given to each individual and the team.

According to research, those who feel respected, acknowledged, and heard by their employers are generally the happiest. Fifty-eight percent of people claim that being recognized for their work by leaders will increase their sense of engagement.

An attainable and equitable SPIF helps increase employee engagement by enhancing reps’ feelings of value and recognition. However, a plan that feels unattainable or impractical may have the opposite impact and demoralize the team.

Cash Incentives

A cash commission arrangement is the standard method of compensating a sales rep. A rep receives a base wage and additional financial compensation monthly, quarterly, or annual.

sales incentives ideas

The pay reflects that a salesperson must also devote time to administrative duties and selling. Regardless of the outcome, compensation is required to maintain an orderly sales funnel, update client information, prospecting, cold calling, lead qualification, and other activities.

Reps will receive additional funds based on a particular set of established sales goals, depending on the commission structure.

For instance, a commission-based program might pay representatives X percent of the revenue from a closed contract or $X per sale until X number of closed agreements have been reached in X period (a week, a month, a quarter, etc.).

As part of the compensation scheme, cash rewards are frequently paid via a representative’s paycheck. However, regardless of whether a customer has paid their invoice, paying commissions on a defined timetable is an excellent practice.

Reps are recognized more quickly for their hard work in this manner, and you prevent a rep from being demotivated by making them wait too long for their reward.

Advice: Don’t restrict sales commissions. When a goal ceiling is used, it tells the reps that their hard work is done after they reach the quota and can unwind. It would be best if you inspired your salespeople to surpass their current accomplishments. Although capping commissions ensures you won’t need to spend more on cash bonuses, it also reduces your prospective earnings. You shouldn’t have this problem if you take the time to estimate your incentive goals accurately. Check out some sales-related guides, sales productivity, sales funnel templates and sales analysis report.

Non Cash Rewards

You have greater discretion and flexibility in how you inspire your sales team when you use non-cash incentives. In addition, this sales incentive allows for creativity and enjoyment, which may motivate and support business culture.

Cashless incentives are rapidly gaining popularity. In the 1990s, just 25% of US businesses used non-cash rewards; by 2020, that number will have increased to 89 percent.

Non-monetary incentives are more dynamic, whereas cash is frequently firmly perceived as recompense. Cash is a business transaction, and non-cash is a genuine reward. They are entertaining, enduring, and valuable discussion starters. Cash prizes might be embarrassing and difficult to discuss, while cashless incentives foster team building.

As a result, they frequently have a favorable effect on overall performance and team spirit. Reps will work harder to do a good job the more attached they feel to the firm they work for. Non-monetary incentives are a terrific way to express gratitude since, as previously mentioned, acknowledgment can be more effective than anything else.

Ideas for non-cash prizes are as follows:

Gift Cards: Pick a gift card with value and relevance for your staff. For instance, the meaning of a gift card for gas is significantly different from that of a gift card for a fine-dining establishment. However, depending on your sector and employee type, both can be beneficial and important.

incentives for sales

Musical or sporting event tickets: This is an excellent incentive for salespeople who enjoy live performances or sports. Before buying tickets, survey your team’s preferences to ensure the prize would thrill them.

Vacation: Since most individuals enjoy getting free things, using a travel voucher is a common choice. Travel plans excite people, and it’s typically the most desired reward. You might wish to reserve it for your top performers or those who produce the highest value output according to your leaderboard.

Tech devices: The tech-savvy reps in your group will love this. For those who keep up with the latest trends, getting your hands on the most recent Android tablet, iPhone, smartwatch, high-tech PC, or noise-canceling headphones can be a great incentive.

Free meal: Ordering a meal from exquisite food delivery services to cover the team’s lunch is a good approach. They get to save their money, have a free meal, and feel rewarded. Check out some sales quotes to motivate your sales team.

incentives for sales team

Training and Learning: A terrific method to reinvest in your workforce is to provide employees the chance to advance their skills or level up on the company’s dime. You can demonstrate to your team members how much you value their professional development by providing sales training, seminars, or online courses.

Any sales organization, regardless of the sales strategy used, must adopt a cultural shift that embraces data in order to make critical decisions regarding sales remuneration and other matters as well as to manage the salesforce.

How Sales Managers Can Motivate Different Sales Reps

Your sales team likely consists of individuals with various motivation levels, just like in a typical classroom. There are high achievers, backbenchers who want to take it easy or don’t know how to get where they want to go, and others who are eager to rise to the occasion and demonstrate their mettle.

Generally speaking, you’ll discover these three types of sales reps:

Stars or top performers

They are capable of hitting all of their targets with ease.


These people require a lot of direction or nagging. Usually, those are the reps who don’t perform well.

Core performers

While stars and laggards represent the two extremes of the sales spectrum, core performers are often new personnel looking to establish their worth.

Creating a plan to inspire all of your sales representatives is necessary for creating successful sales incentives programs.

Want to know how to do it?

Here are some practical ideas to inspire various sales representatives:

Motivating Top Performers

Your team’s best performers work hard to meet their sales targets to receive their incentive payments as soon as possible. Therefore, encouraging them with financial incentives won’t result in anything.

So what drives them exactly? Acknowledgment and gratitude for the hard work they put in.

Here are some suggestions for star performers’ sales incentive plan:

  • Make them members of the advisory council or President’s Club to honor their efforts. Some star performers thrive off the anticipation and reputation they already have and need a lot of acknowledgment and praise.” So, getting seen by the public is a good motivator for them.
  • Establish special travel incentives: There’s a good chance that top performers have received several trip rewards. However, a special trip incentive makes things exciting for them and is a strong motivator. This is one great way to reward reps of this category.

Last but not least, avoid interfering with their task. Star performers often (if not always) need nothing more than to be left alone and to follow their own path, as their particular winning formula is. Too much direction or meddling tends to be counterproductive in this situation.”

Motivating Laggards

Threats of termination rarely make laggards, and poor performers behave better. Going after laggards hard is frequently the wrong course of action, especially if they are the ones who lose out (in terms of commissions) rather than directly harming the company. It is unusual that being reprimanded or made to feel inadequate increases performance.

  • Utilize the bench program as a motivator: A bench program involves preparing individuals to take over the positions of laggards. This tactic has been demonstrated to motivate them to exceed their sales goals since it reminds them that replacements are on the way.
  • As stepping stones, provide them with incentives: Stepwise incentives are valuable rewards for laggards since they need ongoing encouragement to do better. For instance, instead of giving laggards an annual bonus, think about giving them tiny quarterly bonuses that increase as they meet their particular sales goals.
  • Work with underachievers: Support is another strategy that helps laggards. Together, figure out what’s preventing them from performing at their best and what you can do to help.

Motivating Core Performers

Core performers always want to feel seen. They are frequently disregarded because they are steadfast, don’t require much care, and rarely cause issues.

Studies show that even a 5% improvement in core performers’ skills can result in a 60% increase in performance.

You must create incentives that make this group of reps visible. The trick is acknowledging them and ensuring they feel appreciated for their work.

How? Here is some sales incentive plan:

  • Provide guidance and training: Core performers are typically newly hired sales representatives eager to learn. This makes conferences, coaching programs, and sales training incentives successful for this group.
  • Create multiple-tiered rewards: Tiered incentives involve dividing rewards into tiers, with the lowest tier being the easiest to obtain and the higher tiers based on increasing difficulty. Such tiers help core performers perform better, which they value. Stars, in contrast, go directly to the top levels, while laggards are content with achieving the first-tier goal.
sales team incentives

How to implement a successful sales incentive program for your company

Sales executives are constantly seeking creative approaches to inspire their workers. They host grand opening ceremonies to introduce new bonus schemes. They assure rainmakers of exotic vacations. They arrange sales competitions when business is sluggish. If sales goals aren’t met, the sales compensation plan is to a fault, and everything is restarted.

Your selected sales incentive plan must align with your sales organization’s objectives, whether you choose one of the five sales incentive ideas described above, non-cash sales compensation, or a mix.

The conduct your business supports must be rewarded, most significantly under your chosen plan.

To comprehend your company’s organizational structure, evaluate the sales tactics, procedures, and roles. To foster a positive workplace environment, these procedures should already be consistent with the business culture.

For instance, your sales incentive plans should incorporate individual and team-based incentives if you have a cross-team collaboration atmosphere. This will foster collaboration, lessen conflict, and result in sales productivity.

If your business uses a remote sales team, you could add office upgrade incentives such as a standing desk, superior office chair, headphones that block out noise, e.t.c.

A tiered incentive program will encourage your sales representatives to perform at higher levels if they spend most of their time working alone.

Ensure your incentives don’t deter your sales teams from their daily goals and increase sales productivity. For instance, if your salespeople’s incentives are based on the number of deals they close, they can ignore leads in the earlier stages of the pipeline in favor of those who appear to be about to close.

Wrapping Up – Get to Know the Sales Team

Giving sales incentives can’t be done by guesswork because sometimes, those you think are working are not. It goes vice versa too.

An engagement platform is needed to keep your team in check—constant viewing of who and who is not closing deals.

Sloovi Outreach keeps the business up to date. Sloovi offers straightforward customization tools based on usage and requirement. Sales managers are using automated tools to engage and analyze their salespeople.

 incentives for sales teams

This is the chance to be a part of the automation world. View the team and get reports with ease via Sloovi today!