Sales Incentive Programs: 5 Ways to Motivate Salespeople to SELL What They Can Deliver!

Businessman Holding Sales Graph

The proper sales incentive program can really motivate your sales team and thus drive more sales.

This article on sales incentive programs takes a different, refreshing approach. I’ve written about the importance of structuring sales team incentives to ensure that they align with organizational goals. Well, this article by  Leona Leong looks at the same desire from more of a sales team perspective.

Why do sales incentive programs matter? Well for that we need to tell you a story…

There is a light bulb joke that asked how many sales people it takes to change a light bulb with the punch line, “one but it’ll take technical support weeks to sort out the mess left behind”. In true light bulb joke fashion, the punch line exaggerates the stereotype of a group; however, many who work with sales people can argue that there is some truth behind the punch line.

The Sales Team: An Overview

Regardless of what is being sold, a sales person is typically focused solely on his/her own goals, making commissions, and networking with as many potential customers as possible. Sales teams in most organizations are scattered and spend most of their time on the road and not in the office. When new products, upgrades, information are released from the organization, the teams will receive multiple communications informing them of the change to the product they are selling; however, sometimes it seems they are the last to know. This lack of information creates a discrepancy between what your company is offering and can deliver, and what your sales person is actually selling. How can we then motivate our sales team to consistently sell and hit their quotas while ensuring they are aligned with the goals of the organization and selling the right information to your customers?

Sales Incentive Program

A sales incentive program is one way of motivating a sales team. Sales incentive programs reward individuals who hit their goals and foster competition among the team. But a sales incentive program can do so much more than that. When used efficiently, a sales incentive program can also help align the goals of the sales person to the goals of the organization. Create a sales incentive program that is transparent and publicly accessible by the team and other leaders of the organization. Perhaps even consider having it open to the entire company to see. Doing so will hold your sales team accountable not only to their goals but of those company-wide.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks on how to create a public and transparent sales incentive program that will drive desired behavior:

    • Make it Valuable: Incorporate some form of trophy value where there is a tangible symbol of achievement and long lasting reminder of success and how the success was achieved.
    • Choice, choice, choice: Offer several varieties of rewards where the individual can pick the one most meaningful to them.
    • Motivate specific activities by identifying the key behaviors you want to recognize and actions that maximize the sale without overpromising and ultimately compromising other departments.
    • Incent the right behaviors early on.
  • Incorporate a survey component to your program: Run product knowledge survey and award points to those who achieve 100%, and publicly display those who did well in your sales incentive program.

By creating a sales incentive program that incorporates these tips, you will see a sales team that not only looks out for their own interests but that is also greatly aligned with the interests of your organization as well.

About the Author:

Leona Leong is a member of Achievers,  a global employee rewards and Social Recognition solution designed to increase productivity, create a positive work environment and highlight positive behaviors that drive business results. Achievers has worked with numerous best in class organizations such as Microsoft, 3M, and Deloitte. Achievers has also been awarded as one of North America’s Most Democratic Workplaces, Fastest Growing Companies, and Best Recognition Providers.

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