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5 tips to make your sales incentives more effective

Daren Jennings

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Sales IncentivesMost sales leaders agree that it’s important to offer sales incentives that go beyond normal compensation and bonuses. If done right, those rewards can become the most powerful ingredient in driving the kinds of behavior you want to see in your sales force. Here are 5 easy tips to make sure your incentive efforts are doing what they need to do:

1. Be Consistent

If you run a quarterly sales contest, make sure to run one every quarter. The goal is to motivate your team to do their best, day in and day out. Think about your runners up – if they barely missed the win in Q2, they’re going to want another chance to redeem themselves in Q3. If you don’t give them that opportunity, your incentive plan will surely fall flat. Instead, give them every chance to prove themselves by offering a consistent program.

2. Be Objective

If you don’t have clear, specific metrics for winning a sales contest, it won’t take long for your program to unravel. The last thing you want is your sales team thinking the odds are stacked against them, or they have no chance of winning. You’re better off making sure that everyone has an equal chance, and that begins with clear goals and metrics for defining a winner.

3. Communicate Often

“Sales contest? What sales contest?!” You can have the world’s greatest incentive program, but if your team doesn’t know about it, what’s the point? This is especially true for long term incentives plans, where reps may forget the contest details. Make sure you develop a communication strategy that ensures everyone knows about the program and how to win.

4. Reinforce

Unless you reinforce the effort/behavior it took to win, you’re missing an opportunity to motivate the rest of your team by making the connection between effort and reward. Leaving a blank gift card on the winner’s desk while they’re at lunch does not go far enough. Instead, try an informal announcement on the sales floor.

5. Make the Rewards Personal and Thoughtful

“I won this month’s sales spiff and aIl I got was this lousy t-shirt.” Sound familiar? If you really want to motivate your team, make sure the rewards are exciting and tailored to your audience – even better, to each individual on your team.