Motivate Sales Efforts with Unique Rewards and Incentives

by: Nichole Gunn February 23, 2011

Sales are the driving force behind revenue and growth, and the majority of businesses realize their dependence on the sales teams. If a business is to succeed, the sales staff needs to be knowledgeable, quick on their feet, and motivated.

Rewards programs and sales incentives are effective strategies to foster peak sales performance, boost employee retention, and garner top talent. While most businesses are aware that incentive programs are a necessary business tool, employers may be unsure as to what will be the most effective program/s for their particular business.

Designing a top-notch sales incentive program could very well be the difference between small sales, average sales, and huge sales. And, often, these incentives include direct cash payments to top sales performers.

CEO of the web design firm ProSites Lance McCollough explained to Inc.com that simply giving cash rewards is not enough. "If your compensation plan is normal, your staffers will just think, 'It's my job, I've got to do this, I hope I get a bigger check,'" The reward is appreciated at the moment, but will quickly be forgotten. He added, "You want to throw in an experience that is unique and memorable."

Part of ProSites’ company culture is to “celebrate the act of making a sale;” without those sales salaries could not be paid. To make the reward memorable, the recipient receives the reward in front of the sales team. And, to add some kick to the event, McCollough uses crisp $100 bills that are snapped into the recipient’s outstretched hand.

ProSites employees appreciate the rewards and recognition, and the others on the sales team are motivated to be next in line. Being acknowledged for your effort in front of your peers is memorable.

On the flip side, it’s important not to create a monster with monetary incentives; employees may end up taking them for granted. This will devalue the strategy.

Mixing it up, advises McCollough, is essential to an effective sales incentive program. Make the rewards unique and creative. As part of his special sales incentive rewards, McCollough has offered dining in a member-only restaurant, helicopter tours, and access to a private clubhouse.

ProSites’ sales staff incentives led to three key benefits to the company. The first is motivated employees. The motivation has led to the second benefit, an increase in sales of 200% over the prior three years. Thirdly, the incentive program works to keep employee turnover at a minimum.

Obviously, not all companies can afford to provide such lavish rewards, but there are many cost-effective incentive strategies that will reap the same benefits. With some research, and/or the advice from an incentive expert, you can have your sales team brimming over with motivation.


About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.