Most companies thrive on sales. Selling products and services is the very backbone of a business, which is why ensuring that you have a knowledgeable, well trained and enthusiastic sales force is pivotal to your success. It’s not enough, however, to just set up a great sales team. More needs to be done. The initial setup is important, but it’s vital that the infrastructure is in place, the staff training is top quality, the office floor is laid out perfectly and your sales staff have all the tools they need. But you can’t underestimate just how essential motivation is. Sales incentives are just one of the many ways in which an organization’s sales function can really get the most out of their staff. Competitive pay, rewarding bonuses, and an enjoyable work environment are also key, but nothing provides a boost to salespeople quicker and more efficiently than a well thought-out and effective sales incentive program.
What are the sale incentives?
They’re pretty straightforward and simple. A sales incentive is a scheme set up by a company that aims to increase sales in a certain time frame by rewarding increased sales. These rewards can be financial or prize-based. They can even be light-hearted and fun. Whatever the successful salesperson receives, they should feel valued and enthused to get involved and push for extra transactions.
Why do sales incentives work?
People that work in sales are a certain type of person. They’re not happy to just clock and out and plod away each working day, slowly working towards a larger goal. They’re reactive, adrenalin-fuelled types, hooked on risk and reward. They like to work hard and be instantly recognized. They thrive on energy, excitement and competing. Competition can be a huge driver for top sales folk. They love winning. Sales incentives give them that opportunity to win on a personal level and boost the bottom line and profits for their employer.
How do sales incentive programs work?
It’s entirely down to you. There are no right or wrong answers here. Different companies work differently. What works for one organization may not work for another. That said, you can pick top tips from how other successful programs have worked for others in the past. But just remember - you can edit and tailor and change any detail to suit your own place of work and sales staff.
Let’s look into some of the very best sales incentive programs out there, shall we? Starting with the prizes...
- Make more money! The easiest sales incentive is money. ‘Sell an x number of units this week and you’ll receive x amount extra in your pay.’ Simple and easy to implement.
- Win more holiday time. Financial bonuses make sense as sales incentives. But they cost. Sometimes as much as the extra sales are bringing in. So you need to get creative. Affording high-performing staff with the extra holiday will also cost the business indirectly, but not as much. Make it a prize, perhaps. ‘Top salesperson this week wins two weeks extra holiday next year!’
- Prize giveaways. Something tangible that everyone wants is another nice and easy sales incentive. One which is cost effective too. The only financial hit being however much that brand new iPhone/iPad/laptop costs to buy.
- Experience prizes. Research suggests that most under-30s are far more interested in the ‘experiential’ nowadays. Gone are the days where money and tangible assets were the only driving force. In 2018, the majority of younger people’s wish lists are filled with things like days out, extreme sports, festivals and fun events. Consider dangling an experience-shaped carrot in front of your sales staff.
Those are the prizes, but what about the specific programs? Here are a few ideas:
- Energy days. These quick little fun sales days can be brought in whenever and are easy to run. Spot prizes for fastest/highest sales are rewarded with small fun prizes. Games can be played. It’s silly, it’s simple and it should cause a few laughs.
- Plot a board game-style ‘race’ where certain types of sales accrue a number of points. Each salesperson plots their course, the winner is the person who earns enough points and reaches the ultimate goal at the end.
- ‘Game of Thrones’. Buy a big comfortable armchair or La-Z-Boy and - provided it fits in the office/at a desk - it’ll be the ‘winner’s chair’ for whoever sold the most the previous day. The idea could be expanded to include a ‘loser’s chair’ if your sales team are okay with laughing at themselves. Who gets what chair will soon become a prestige thing and hopefully establish a healthy competition among your sales staff.
Other quick ideas to bear in mind
Personalize things. As much as it’s a lot easier for everyone to work under the same sales incentive program, sometimes that doesn’t work. If you have a small team and they are all different personalities, it may not be a success. You may need to ask them individually what motivates them and work something out for each of them.
Make it fair. Say you have one superstar salesperson. He or she is likely to win the competition or scheme quite easily. That may actually have the reverse effect you desire and demotivate the rest of your staff. So perhaps there’s a way of handicapping the incentive or playing to each person’s strengths. That may work much better than just a flat race between everyone.
Check it’s working. If you’ve set up a two-week program and you disappear off the sales floor on the second day and forget about it, it could be doomed to fail. It’s important that the scheme is monitored and is working. If it’s not, change it slightly. Speak to people. Tweak it.
You should have picked up a few good ideas and useful tips from this quick guide to sales incentives. Now all that’s left to do is pick up and implement it. We’re sure you’ll have plenty of fun and success. Now get going with it!