Incenting Sales Teams with Rewards that Matter

As a 10+ year sales leader veteran, I’ve always looked for creative ways to motivate my team toward a common goal. Rally cries, team hashtags, sales contests and regularly going out to get them food and coffee seemed to keep them engaged throughout the month. We’d play bingo, with the squares outlined to different tasks they needed to complete in any given week and even have a monthly top performers dinner to show appreciation to them for their hard work. It sometimes felt as if half my job was entertainment, and the other half sales coaching – but it was working.

About a year ago, I moved from sales into marketing when my actual role became half entertainment and half sales coaching as the Director of Global Sales Enablement for Pardot. I took my small entertainment and training formula, and multiplied it across many reps and many teams to create programs that got attention, increased education and awareness and that were measureable and repeatable.

I’ll now take you through that formula as you enter the Wizarding World of Sales Spiffs…

Define What the Business Needs

First, determine what the business needs to improve upon and tie your incentive to those behaviors. Whether it’s activity, pipeline or revenue that your sales team needs to achieve their targets, create the spiff around that. It could even be a specific product or solution and these tend to be especially effective around a new product launch.

Make the Incentive ‘Splashy’

Cash is king to sales people, but I find that creative packaging and experiences help to create buzz. For example, cash in the form of a “shopping spree” or “travel package” keep excitement up and helps you to build a communication plan to stay top of mind. Essentially it becomes a way for sales executives to envision themselves receiving something they could purchase with that cash, but helps them to experience something they would want to cross off their bucket list.

Create a Communication Plan

Have a cadence around communication. I find that dripping out a new location for a travel spiff every few days, or an activity that will be part of the shopping spree event gets people into a tizzy! It reminds them what is at stake and creates a swell of activity around your goal.

Measure. Measure. Measure.

Incentives can make a real impact on the business if you outline what the business needs, create a program that excites people and remind them of what is at stake regularly. In order to prove that, you need to measure the before and after. I look at totals of new activity, pipeline created and revenue closed in the time periods of the spiff as well as tracking year over year growth. In our business, we see monthly trends, so it helps to take a look back into what happened the previous year.
This is the framework I use to plan all of our sales incentive strategies.

Please feel free to connect on LinkedIn with any questions or feedback on your current programs!