How Rewards and Incentives Boost Annual Sales

incentivesFor the sales-minded, life as a sales representative is as exciting as it gets. Every day is like a trip to the casino, but you have much greater control over the odds. You can bring all of your considerable talents to bear – your personality, your intelligence, your belief in your product and your sales skills – to closing a new deal.

In sales, there is challenge galore and, if you work for a company that values its sales staff, there are rewards and incentives to look forward to. In this post, learn how offering rewards and incentives can boost annual sales for any company.

Do Rewards and Incentives Really Work?

The research has been done, and the answer is yes….if you use the right kinds of rewards and incentives and they are perceived by the sales staff as being fairly administered.

For example, in a white paper study, one Fortune 500 company was able to boost its sales by 32 percent within the first 90 days after implementing its new rewards and incentives programs. Even better, that increase continued throughout the entire first year of the program.

What Types of Rewards and Incentives Work Best?

The natural assumption is that all staff always wants cash in their pocket for a job well done. But since the compensation for sales representatives often already includes both a base salary and an incentive or bonus program, it turns out that non-cash rewards can be an equally big draw.

Some examples of non-cash rewards that have been shown to work well include these:

– Shopping points that winners can redeem for desirable merchandise.

– Travel points that winners can redeem for vacation use.

– Recognition amongst peers and supervisors.

– Sweepstakes entries into “big pot” winnings.

– Gifts, either financial or non-cash.

Another great type of incentive is to induce peer competition by posting sales results for other sales representatives to benchmark against. If competition is closed, this can drive other sales team members to put forth that little bit of extra effort to move up in the running for rewards.

Structural Changes to Compensation

For some companies, and especially those with a longer sales cycle (for instance, when nurturing a prospect into a customer may take a year or longer due to existing contracts or big ticket budget items), changing the compensation structure can provide that needed incentive to boost sales.

This works because a sales representative that has been steadily nurturing prospects may not see the results in that year’s sales commissions, meaning they risk earning only their base salary for a whole year’s work. By narrowing the gap between base salary and commissions, sales representatives working with longer sales cycle customers feel rewarded and are more motivated to continue doing the grunt work of moving their prospects towards that vital sale.

Here, adding in non-cash incentives or short-term cash bonus rewards for other activities, such as a completing a certain number of training courses or scheduling a certain number of product demos each month, can boost motivation and sales.

Implementing the Right Sales Tools for Your Team

Yet another type of reward that sales representatives find motivation is implementing tools that make their jobs easier. Phone dialer software, for instance, can reduce both the physical pain of punching in numbers and the intellectual dullness of dialing to help each representative increase the number of live calls they get.

This, not surprisingly, can make a measurable impact on the number of scheduled product demos and sales calls.

One of the best ways to strategize about specific rewards and incentives is to put yourself in the shoes of the sales staff and give them tools to make their job easier and more fun. With these types of rewards and incentives in place, you can look forward to that much-desired boost in annual sales!


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