For decades, businesses have used incentives to boost sales. They work, but not for everyone. Salespeople are, by nature, competitive, motivated by challenges and a desire to win. Add to the that a desire to make money, and you begin to realize something the more creatively you develop compensation packages, the greater your chances for success.
While there’s little question that the combination of hiring the right salesperson with the right compensation plan will ensure longevity at your company, it’s just as important to establish effective, ongoing smaller incentives that can make the job more fun and bring in more sales dollars.
Here are some ideas to help you add a little spice to your company’s incentive plans.
- Mix it up. Find out what excites your company’s salespeople. What motivates your sales manager and other executives may not be the same thing that motivates your front-line sales staff.
Also, don’t be afraid to talk with other CEOs to find out what’s been working for them. Good ideas spark more good ideas.
- Make it public. Play off the competitiveness of your company’s sales team. Many businesses have a leader board in their sales training room that lists all the salespeople, their month-to-date results and their year-to-date results.
The best salespeople love to see their names at the top. The lousy ones? Well, this might just be the encouragement for them to step it up a few notches ... or leave.
- Think beyond the grand prize. If your salespeople are dragging behind and they have no chance of reaching the goals to earn the grand prize for example, a trip to Las Vegas you could be setting your company up for trouble.
If it’s only six months into the year-long competition and you’ve got a number of people lagging behind, you will probably lose their motivation for the rest of the year. While it’s great to offer something big like a trip, make sure you do something for other people who are not as strong as your top performers.
- Consider frequent incentives. Smaller incentives such as those given monthly or quarterly can energize your entire sales force.
Include everyone on the sales team inside salespeople, outside salespeople and sales managers. Consider contests that last a month, or two and reward people with smaller but significant incentives.
- Make it a family affair. Try incentives that involve your sales team’s family and friends. One of the best contests I ever put together was so successful that the company continued it for more than 10 years.
First, the salesperson had to make quota. After that, they received a certain amount of cash based on how much beyond quota they achieved. The only catch was that the cash was put into a total sales fund.
At the end of the contest, I handed cash out to each salesperson. Some received big amounts, others, small amounts.
The cash was for a shopping spree at one mall for a specified day. They were encouraged to bring their family and friends to the mall and were required to spend all the cash they received. I mandated that they must provide receipts to show the purchases made, and if the receipts did not add up to the amount of money they were given, they were required to return the difference to the company.
By setting up the competition this way, it guaranteed they would spend the money on fun stuff, not just bills. By including friends and family, it added more excitement to the day of shopping.
Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of two best-selling books, “Can I Have 5 Minutes of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” His newest book on negotiations is titled, “Get What You Want.” Reach him at www.halbecker.com.