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23 Sales incentive ideas to keep your sales team motivated

10 minutes read

In order to make more sales, you need to have a sales team that is motivated and engaged in their work. Keeping your sales team motivated is a year-round process. As a sales leader, you have to constantly come up with new ideas to motivate them. Whether you are trying to get your reps to close a quarter strong or kick off the start of a new fiscal year, keeping reps engaged is key to achieving your targets. Sales incentives are a great way to keep your employee’s morale high.

What is a sales incentive?

A sales incentive is money or some kind of reward offered to a salesperson for achieving a specific sales target. At the very basic, sales incentives fall into two categories- Cash Rewards and Non-cash rewards.

Cash Incentives vs Non-cash Incentives

Cash rewards are the traditional incentives that the sales reps receive outside their compensation/commission. These rewards are given as a bonus to the sales reps upon achieving a specific sales target.

For example, if your sales team closes most of their sales at the end of every month, you can offer a bonus of $1000 to them for every deal closed before 15th of the month.

On the other hand, non-cash rewards allow you to be more creative with the incentives you offer. These are a set of best practices to design and update your sales incentive plan.

Typically, salespeople choose this profession because they are motivated by money, and the ability to control their own income level. But non-cash incentives add a fun factor to your sales incentive plan. In fact, some companies find non-cash incentives, such as travel vouchers or team dinners to be more effective than traditional cash rewards.

Implementation of the sales incentives

In order to implement an effective sales incentive plan, you need to first understand the unique drivers that motivate your sales team. You can then create a mix of both cash and non-cash rewards, to tailor an incentive plan that best suits your sales team. Thinking outside the box with your sales incentives is always a great idea to boost your team’s motivation and performance.

When you are operating on a small budget, then incentives might seem to be difficult or even impossible to do. But the good news is that you don’t have to break your bank in order to implement good sales incentives that encourage your team. There are some low budget ways that you can use to incentivize great work.

Here are 11 creative sales incentive ideas to consider using in order to fire up your sales team and leverage their competitive nature to your advantage.

1. Gift cards: These are the most common non-cash incentives. While gift cards are still technically monetary incentives, they give reps a physical prize to strive for. You can create enthusiasm for this incentive by giving your reps the freedom to select the gift card they want.

2. Fine Dining: A reservation at a popular restaurant that is often difficult to get into works well as an incentive for a team or for an individual rep. This type of incentive can be really powerful because it comes with a prize and the memory that’s attached. Unlike cash or a gift card that will be spent and forgotten, the experience will have a more lasting impact on your reps. Make sure you take your rep’s inputs and opinions beforehand on different restaurant options so that you can accommodate everyone’s tastes and preferences.

3. Paid Offs: Often, your salespeople work for more than 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. They even work nights and weekends in order to close deals, achieve quotas, and bring in the revenue. It will greatly motivate the sales reps if you offer them paid time off after all those extra hours they’ve put in at work.

For example, you can give a day off on Monday after they’ve had a long working week. Your sales reps will really appreciate the extra time that they get to have with their families and friends.

4. Prime parking spot: Good sales incentives can be practical too. If your company is located in a busy area with limited parking, then your salespeople probably dislike having to pay to park far away and walk to the office. Offering them a prime free parking spot for the week or the month can really boost their motivation.

5. Entertainment tickets: You can offer entertainment incentives, such as tickets to sports events, movies, concerts, music festivals or comedy gigs. This can be a popular incentive as reps will get to attend some popular events and have a good time during their time away from the office.

6. Winner’s choice: Coming up with prizes can be the most difficult part of incentivizing sales performance. But, this can be made easy by giving the winners a chance to choose their own perks. To do this, just pledge to give the top performers of a quarter or a year, the award of their choice, within reason, of course!

7. Lunch with CEO: For some reps, the ultimate reward is to learn, grow professionally and get recognized by their peers. For such employees, offering to have lunch with the CEO of the organization is a good option. This will give them recognition among their colleagues and also a chance to pick the brain of your company’s leader.

8. Boss for a day: You could set up a sales contest where the winner of the contest gets to take your place for one day. At the end of each month or quarter, allow the person with the most sales or points to run things their way at the office for a day. Let them run a meeting or choose where to take the team for lunch.

Are you looking for a ready-made Sales Contest Template? Click here to design your own template for free, in just 3 clicks.

9. Gym or Yoga class memberships: Today’s millennial workforce strives for a healthy work-life balance, which often includes exercising, doing yoga and practicing meditation to be healthy. Offering your reps a gym membership or a yoga class membership will encourage them to get out and be active. This incentive is a great motivator as it can be used by the employees on a daily basis and it also shows that you care about their personal development.

10. Learning Opportunities: Many organizations provide opportunities for their employees to attend classes, seminars, conferences, etc. to learn more about their specific craft. The problem here is that every city is not a hub for such activities. So, look for ways to get your people to larger, high-profile conferences in neighboring states or across the country. It would be greatly encouraging for them if you also take care of their travel, food, and lodging.

11. Adventure activities: According to a study from the Incentive Research Foundation, the most appreciated incentive amongst millennials was “adventure activities,” such as hiking and extreme sports. Millennial employees want to have unforgettable experiences. So, why not treat them to the adventure of a lifetime, such as skydiving or rock climbing.

12. President’s club: Create and plan an annual president’s club trip every year. This will be an end of the year trip where you take all the top performers from various contests that you have conducted throughout the year to an exotic location. This will be a great incentive for all your sales reps to work towards. Because let’s be honest—everyone loves a free, all-expenses-paid trip!

13. Name a room: Name a room or the main conference hall in your office after the name of the contest winner. Your employees will take pride in having their names on the doors of the rooms in the office.

14. Wall of Fame: This makes for a pretty exciting incentive for the sales reps as their hard work and good performance is publicly recognized and appreciated with this contest. Create and dedicate a beautifully decorated wall to put up the photos of the winners of a contest. Also, make sure that the winner’s names and their designations are displayed under their photos.

15. Health Spa Stay: If you have people in your team who would enjoy a relaxing day at a spa on a day off then this incentive is perfect for them.

16. Golf club, wine club or any other activity membership: Some of your employees might enjoy golfing while the others might like to go to a vineyard or wine tasting sessions. Some others might like something entirely different. But, the good thing is that these days there is a membership service for any interest. With that in mind, customize the incentive to suit the interest of the salesperson who wins a contest.

17. Sailing Trip: Sailing on a cruise is everyone’s dream. Make that dream come true for the winning sales rep by giving cruise tickets to her and her plus one.

18. Healthy Meal Subscription: This incentive is for the health-conscious people in your team. Gift them a healthy meal subscription that delivers healthy meals to their doorsteps every day.

19. Latest Tech and gadgets: The latest gadgets like tablets and smartwatches make for attractive sales incentives for your sales reps. You can also gift them a premium subscription of tools/software that helps them become better salespeople and employees.

20. Gift of Skill: Some people thrive on learning new things and they are hungry for knowledge. If you have such people in your team then give them the gift of “learning a skill”. You can sign up your top performers for cooking/baking class, music class, swimming class, photography workshop, woodworking class, archaeology or miniature painting. This will surely get your employee’s creative juices flowing.

21. Family Staycation: This makes for a mini but really exciting incentive. Offer the contest winner, a family staycation at a nearby tourist spot for the weekend. You can even ask them to pick a spot and cover their trip expenses (as your budget allows).

22. Books or ebook subscriptions: This incentive suits best for the avid readers in your team. Gift them books or ebooks subscription. Trust me on this– book lovers do not appreciate anything more than an unlimited supply of amazing reads.

23. Tickets to Theme parks, zoo or aquarium: If your city has amazing tourist attractions like theme parks, zoo or aquarium then the tickets to these places will make a great gift to your employees who are new to the city.

In order to make the sales incentives and prizes truly meaningful for your salespeople, you must understand them by connecting with them on a personal level. This includes knowing about their passions, interests, and also how they’re “wired” as a person.

Even though a simple pat on the back and a sincere “Good job!” can go a long way to motivate your salespeople towards better performance, implementing good sales incentives can help in pushing your team one step further when you need to increase revenue or get through a rough patch in your business.

SmartWinnr’s Gamified sales contests provide an effective and efficient way for you to introduce gamification into your incentive plan. We help you run hassle-free, fully automated sales contests. Live leaderboards, insight into team level, individual level performance, and most importantly, no tedious excel calculations.
If you’re from the Insurance industry, explore how your sales incentive plan can be embedded into increasing productivity, decreasing agent attrition and reducing supervisory cost.
If you’re from Banking, explore how your sales incentive plan can be embedded into increasing productivity, decreasing agent attrition and reducing supervisory cost.
If you’re from the Pharmaceutical, industry, integrate your sales incentive plan into a gamified sales contest, focusing on collections, POB, doctor visits, chemist visits and more.
If you’re from the Medical Devices, industry, create one incentive plan that covers product knowledge, to handle customer conversations, to programming devices, to sales.
Curious to learn more about it? Book a demo today!

Published on Mon May 6 2019

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