9 Sales Incentive Ideas To Motivate Your Sales Team

You can provide your sales team with the most fulfilling sales job on the planet, with the best co-workers and bosses imaginable- but they’ll still have days where they won’t feel as naturally motivated. So for a moment, consider what motivates you to get out of bed every day and crush it as a sales leader. Is it money? An exciting professional or personal opportunity? An experience you’ve always wanted? Sales is a demanding industry, and to retain top performers, you need to do more than pat your sales team on the back. For this reason, this article will explore nine sales incentive ideas to motivate your sales team.

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What is a sales incentive?

A sales incentive is a type of gift or reward awarded to salespeople who have fulfilled or surpassed a quota for selling goods or services. However, it’s deeper than that because sales leaders need to understand what makes their sales team tick – what sustains their motivation to excel in their role? That’s a sales incentive.

What are the advantages of sales incentives?

Now, you’re probably thinking, “do I really need to invest into a sales incentive program, or even bother at all?” The math on this one is pretty simple because 90% of top-performing companies utilize incentive programs to reward their sales associates. Furthermore, companies with adequately structured incentive programs can increase employee performance by 44% (Incentive Research Foundation).

9 Sales Incentive Program Ideas

So, where can leaders start to build an engaging and effective sales incentives program to motivate sales teams? First, get to know your team. We guarantee that your team is full of all sorts of different personalities, who are all motivated by very different things. Therefore, knowing what appeals to them will give you a head start in personalizing their sales incentives experience. This way, you can ensure each employee is equally motivated. In the meantime, check out our nine sales incentive program ideas below:

1. Cash

Your sales team is more than likely already motivated by money. Cash indeed makes the world go round, and even if it’s a means to an end, people still really appreciate it. However, on the other hand, it isn’t precisely personal, but it does help to have real-time benefits, particularly if you’re in the final push for a deal or trying to scale up quickly. 

To implement this idea into your sales incentive program, you will require a clear, understandable commission structure. Normally, this involves rewarding salespeople with a set amount of money for a specific achievement: For example, reaching their quota, exceeding their quota, closing a certain amount of deals, or reaching a specific sales activity goal.

Ultimately, the Incentive Research Foundation found that up to 85% of people would choose a non-cash reward if they liked the other option.

So, with that said, check out our other suggestions for sales incentives ideas below:

2. Opportunities to grow

Many people are motivated by the opportunity to improve as a salesperson, to move into a management role or the opportunity to take on new products or markets. Therefore, personal and professional development is a great motivator. For instance, you could offer your sales team professional opportunities to develop themselves with sales training straight from a professional coach, develop advanced techniques in sales training courses, or tickets to an upcoming conference. More so, to give a personal touch and cultivate a tight-knit bond with your team, you can also help them develop personally, whether that’s by offering a cooking class, gym membership or access to an e-learning platform.

3. Activity awards

Activity rewards are a great sales incentive because it comes with a memory attached, unlike cash or gift cards that are spent and quickly forgotten. Especially after a long, hard time focusing on reaching a sales quota, your sales team will enjoy the chance to blow off some steam together and unwind.

However, consider that activity rewards work most effectively with the younger salespeople on your sales team, because according to the Incentive Research Foundation, the most appreciated incentive amongst millennials was “adventure activities,” such as hiking and extreme sports.

4. Gift cards

Probably one of the most common and popular non-cash sales incentives. However, while technically a monetary incentive, it gives your sales rep a tangible prize that they can see, hold, and feel.

5. Extra Paid Time Off

Rewarding your sales reps with more personal time off encourages a better work-life balance and, hopefully, a happier team. More so, it’s important to remind your sales team that while they do an essential job, there are things in life more important than work, showing that you value their time.

6. Let them choose!

Thinking of sales incentives that work for your sales team can be challenging, so another great option is to let them choose their reward! More so, you can build significant momentum throughout the month if you encourage them to visualize what they would choose at the beginning of the month.

7. Team meals

A reservation at a high-end restaurant or even just booking out your sales team’s favourite place to go to unwind after work is a brilliant incentive for the entire team. More so, because there is a physical memory attached to the prize, it’s much more likely to have a lasting impression on your reps.

8. The best parking spot

Why not offer a practical sales incentive? For example, suppose your office is located in an awkward location with limited parking. In that case, there’s a good chance your sales team hates having to pay for parking and walking into the office. By offering a more convenient and prime parking spot, you can ensure your sales rep starts their day off right.

9. Wall of fame

Starting a wall of fame for salespeople who push the limits and achieve quotas is a great way to motivate the entire team. When asked how they wanted to be recognized, up to 50% of sales reps prefer reward experiences that focus solely on being presented with an award. People love being publicly recognized for hard work and high performance. First, however, ensure that you create a dedicated space to place their photos and clearly display their title and name underneath.

Best practices for sales incentive programs

Organizing a sales incentive program can be hard to get right the first time around; therefore, there may be some trial and error before you find exactly what motivates your sales team. Thus, to help your process along, we have listed some best practices you need to know below.

Know your team on a personal level

If you offer sales incentives to your reps that don’t relate to them at all, you’re not going to spark any motivation. In fact, you’re probably just going to waste your time and money. So before you plan anything regarding your sales incentive ideas, get to know your team. Gather information about their likes, dislikes, hobbies, music taste and so on. Don’t think this best practice is relevant to your team? Think again, because according to The Incentive Research Foundation, when asked about their reward preferences. 99% of participants had unique tastes, different from every other person in the study.

Maintain transparency with a leaderboard

A common issue for sales leaders when implementing sales incentive programs is sales reps spending too much time focusing on who’s ahead! Therefore, to ensure transparency – and productivity – you’ll need to set up a leaderboard that can be viewed anywhere, at any time.

Make sure everyone has a fair chance

Every sales team has a mix of different performers, often top, average or low. So the next best practice is to create an incentive program that allows all reps to have a chance at winning. How do you do this? By setting goals that everyone can achieve, for instance, a certain number of cold calls per month. Not only is this fair, but it allows lower-performing reps a chance to increase and feasibly improve their metrics.

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