Sales Team Incentives: Your Complete Guide

June 13, 2024
Sheetal S Kumar
Sheetal S Kumar
Sheetal S Kumar
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Imagine yourself in the shoes of a concerned sales manager. 

You are stressed about the lagging sales figures and are desperate to pull the numbers up. 

You know the best solution out of it is to implement incentives into your sales management. 

So you google and a lot of ideas, terms, and incentives get thrown your way. 

Now you are more confused than ever. 

That is why we have compiled this sales incentive guide to clear you of all confusion and doubts. 

In this blog, we will walk you through sales incentives, their importance, 20 incentive ideas, and 4 best incentive programs. 

We also provide a lot of tips to enhance your sales team incentives for sales employees and answer a few recurring incentive questions. 

So let's get to business. 

What Is a Sales Incentive?

Sales incentives are powerful motivational tools used to reward employees for achieving specific sales or performance goals.

These rewards can be monetary or non-monetary. 

Monetary rewards like bonuses, increments, and commissions give financial stability to employees. 

While non-monetary rewards like public recognition, and career development opportunities create a sense of achievement in employees. 

Acknowledging your employee efforts with these incentives will thus help boost productivity, enhance employee engagement, and ensure retention of the sales team. 

Why You Need a Sales Incentive Program

Incentives are psychological rather than materialistic.

Being acknowledged for the effort we put in goes a long way. According to a study, people who are recognized at work are 2.5 times more likely to be happy with their jobs. 

What can this little happiness do to your workspace? 

It isn't limited to increasing productivity, enhancing engagement, and improving retention. 

The positive effect can drive your business to great growth and success.  

A Bersin & Associates study shows that companies that spend 1% of their payroll have a 79% higher success rate in achieving business goals. 

This simply means that a little effort in building an incentive program can positively impact your overall business- from motivating employee performance to driving business growth. 

Types of Sales Incentives

There are a variety of incentive programs for sales teams out there. 

But generally, we can divide it into two types- monetary and non-monetary. 

Monetary incentives: 

Monetary incentives are the financial rewards you give your employees. It can be in the form of bonuses, commissions, profits, stocks, etc. Depending upon the nature of their achievement the choice of monetary incentives vary. 

For example, an employee who showcased exceptional performance by exceeding their targets will receive short-term incentives like bonuses. While a top-level employee who has been with the company for a while will receive long-term incentives like stocks. 

Non-monetary incentives:

Non-monetary rewards include all the incentives beyond financial gains. It can be public recognition, career development opportunities, or having a flexible work schedule. These incentives strive to create a sense of achievement and satisfaction in the employees. 

For example, an employee who achieved a milestone can be appreciated publicly. This boosts their confidence, creates a sense of achievement, and helps them get positive feedback on their work.   

These broader sales incentive types show how important it is to strike a balance between financial and non-financial rewards. 

20 Sales Incentive Ideas to Inspire Your Team

It's obvious for your teammates to feel slow and sloth at times. Giving that extra push will be a great help to them at such times. 

We have compiled 20 best sales group and individual incentives ideas that can inspire your team:

20 Sales Incentive Ideas to Inspire Your Team

Commissions:

Sales reps receive a percentage of the sales revenue as additional income  

Cash Bonuses: 

Bonuses are given when employees exceed their performance expectations or achieve a short-term goal. 

Profit-sharing: 

Employees earn incentives through company profits at the end of a period. 

Company Stock Options:

Long-term employees are granted the right to buy company stocks at a fixed price. 

Performance-based Raises:

Sales reps who showcase consistent improvement in their performance must be given a salary increment. 

Gift Cards:

These are vouchers for buying things, offering free service, going to restaurants, etc. 

Paid Time Off

A common non-monetary incentive where employees can take a break from work without loss of pay.  

Travel Opportunities:

A top-performing employee can be rewarded with an all-expense paid vacation. 

Product-Discounts:

Companies can gift products at a discounted rate or free of charge to their employees. 

Recognition Awards:

Publicly acknowledge your employee milestones through verbal recognition, awards, or certificates. 

Career Advancements:

Employees also look for career development opportunities where they are promoted to a higher level. 

Training and development:

Incentives for sales employees can also be in the form of seminars, workshops, and coaching for training and development. 

Team Outings:

To improve team coordination and collaboration, sales teams can go for group activities like team dinners, picnics, sports competitions, etc. 

Flexible Work Hours:

Flexible work hours as incentives can help employees strike a work-life balance and enhance their productivity.   

Health and Wellness Programs

Employees value companies that take care of their health insurance and provide gym membership and other wellness stipends. 

Office Perks

There is no limit to sales team incentive ideas. Providing the latest office equipment, and fixed parking spots can make your employees feel good. 

Merchandise 

You can pamper your employees by gifting branded items, tech gadgets, company merchandise, etc. 

Mentorship Opportunities

At times giving a sense of direction can go a long while. Scheduling a one-on-one meeting with CEOs, and having routine sales coaching with managers can help your sales team improve in their game. 

Exclusive Events

Your top-performing sales members must be given exposure to the industry through conferences, VIP events, etc. 

Custom Incentives

Sometimes your sales team incentive can be a combination of all these rewards depending upon the needs and preferences of the individual. Remember this tip: a good incentive program strikes a balance between monetary incentives and non-monetary rewards. Companies can achieve their desired outcome only when they cater to the materialistic as well as psychological needs of your employees. 

Best Sales Incentive Programs for B2B Sales Teams

Imagine you are in a race. There is only one rule, you have to reach the destination. How you reach and the means you take depends on you. 

Similar is incentive programs for sales teams. The agenda is to achieve the desired results. How you go about motivating your employees depends on the company. 

So here are a few motivator incentive programs for your employees:

Quota-Based Incentive Programs

Now the quota-based plan is the most common incentive program. 

Sales reps become eligible for incentives when they meet or exceed their set quota for the period they become eligible for incentives. 

Accelerators for Over-Achievers

Surely there will be those overachievers in your sales team. A regular commission rate is not enough to keep them satisfied. 

Overachievers must be offered increased commission rates or additional bonuses to reward their enhanced performance.   

Presales Incentives

Closing a deal is not an isolated action. A series of pre-sales activities lead to this final point. 

Activities like lead generation, product demos, and other sales pipelines. Incentivizing these steps ensures high-quality leads with a higher chance of conversion. 

Annual Top Performer Club

The Annual Top Performer Club is like the championship of an incentive program. It recognizes and rewards the highest sales performers over a year. 

It is an esteemed recognition where sales teams receive special awards, free trips, or other special perks. 

The race is the same for everyone. But the key in business is applying the right incentive that can push your sales team to achieve higher goals and growth. 

Tips for a Successful Sales Incentive Plan

Sometimes, while focusing on the bigger picture, we overlook the smaller details. 

Most often companies put a lot of effort into designing and building their sales team incentive ideas. 

But here is the thing that goes wrong. You forget the minute details that actually help improve your overall sales incentive program. 

Let us help you here with a few tips to ensure the success of your sales incentive plan: 

  • Find out what motivates the team
  • Set achievable team goals
  • Determine the metrics of the plan
  • Combine monetary and non-monetary incentives
  • Tailor the individual incentives to match their preferences
  • Keep your incentive plan simple and transparent. 
  • Regularly evaluate your plan and make adjustments. 

Implementing these tips and tricks will enhance the effectiveness of your sales incentive plan.   

How to Apply the Right Sales Incentive Program to Your Business

Here is a hard truth: You are not going to get it right on the first try. 

Finding the right and most suitable sales incentive plan comes after a series of trial and error. 

So take the time to understand your team’s needs and preferences. Ask for their opinion and feedback about the current incentive solution. Gathering this information will help in tailoring incentives that suit the employee's requirements. 

However, from an employer perspective, you need to provide clarity and transparency as well. Active employee participation can be ensured only when they are clear about how the program works, what is expected of them, and what benefits they gain from it. 

In the end, the right sales incentive plan for your business evolves out of regular changes and adjustments. Keeping your incentive plan flexible to changes is the best way to ensure its effectiveness. 

For example, keeping your salesforce motivated for the 6 month to one year sales jounrey might require an annual incentive plan example as part of your incentive program.

While a long-term incentive to satisfy your top management. On the other hand a short-term bonus is always handy to celebrate your salesforce exceptional performace.

Here is a positive sign that will help you understand if the sales incentive program is the right one or not- for it will foster a positive work culture and enhance collaboration. 

How Have Modern Sales Incentive Programs Changed?

Sales incentives have been in the league since the 1920s. But over time it has undergone significant change.

These changes have happened in its structure, approach, and overall operations. 

Let's look into what these changes are that have happened as sales team incentives entered the modern age:

Traditional

Modern

Primarily monetary reward

Strike a balance between monetary and non-monetary rewards

One-size fit for all

Customizable and flexible 

Ignored individual preferences 

Tailored on individual preferences 

Manual tracking of incentive effectiveness

Real-time tracking with incentive automation tools

Limited employee input

Takes into consideration employee feedback and opinion

Inconsistent incentive administration

Focused on fairness and transparency 

These changes in the sales incentives also reflect the change in our workspaces and employee management has evolved over the years.   

How Do I Keep My Sales Team Happy?

Your sales team is one of your crucial organizational departments. And we know that you are constantly thinking of ways to keep them happy and satisfied. 

But here is the thing, it's not rocket science.   

In fact, it doesn't take much to make your sales team happy. 

We will tell you the secret mantras to achieving your sales team satisfaction: 

  • Offer your sales team competitive compensation
  • Build a positive and healthy workspace
  • Expose them to regular training and upskilling opportunities
  • Recognize their opportunities and celebrate their milestones
  • Set clear and achievable goals and targets
  • Provide clarity on what is expected of them through KPIs
  • Gather their feedback and opinions
  • Encourage them to have a work-life balance

The secret mantra we shared doesn't take a huge toll on your financial planning or budget.  

Rather, the happiness of your teammates is a natural outcome of building a healthy organization. 

What Motivates Sales Reps the Most?

Each sales rep is different and unique. Hence, what they seek out of their job also varies depending on each individual. 

However, we can all say that the first and primary thing we all want from our job is money. 

The financial stability and security monetary rewards provide are beyond denial. 

It might be the first thing but it's not the final thing we seek from our job. Mere monetary benefits cannot push people to work for an organization for a long time. 

After a point what motivates them might be the job satisfaction and the happiness they receive after each task. It can also be that employees are driven by the work-life balance the job offers or the employee benefits they receive. 

The monetary rewards take a side step and the non-monetary rewards start to matter to your salesforce. 

In short, you as an organization must strike a balance between monetary and non-monetary rewards. This means you must provide financial stability to your employees without being demanding of their work-life balance. 

Final Thoughts

Your employees wish for and look forward to incentives and perks. 

True that it gives them financial support. But more importantly, it makes them feel happy and satisfied. 

This sense of happiness and satisfaction can boost their performance, improve their engagement, and enhance their overall productivity. 

But there is a condition to enjoying these perks of sales incentives- be fair, clear, and transparent. 

The effectiveness of your sales incentive is directly influenced by the way you manage the program.  

And what best way to ensure effective sales incentive management: incentive automation tool. 

Kennect’s cutting-edge solution can supercharge your incentives by automating your entire sales incentives process. No more spreadsheets, no more errors – just efficiency.

Book A Demo with us to learn how Kennect saves you time and ensures accuracy.

Author

Sheetal S Kumar

Sheetal is a content strategist and writer at Kennect. She has extensive writing experience in content marketing and research, focused on small business enterprises and B2B Saas. She is passionate about creating engaging and insightful blogs while exploring the power of content and social media.

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sales-coaching

Excellent blog about using sales coaching to improve the typical sales onboarding process! For more information please read the blog:https://salesblink.io/blog/sales-coaching

sales-coaching

Loved the tips on effective sales coaching For more information please read the blog:https://salesblink.io/blog/sales-coaching

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