Making Sales Incentives Work for Your Business

Sales incentives can be powerful motivators. Here's how to use them effectively.

Since all companies are not alike, you have to determine what will work for your particular company by getting to know the sales team, and also by ascertaining what incentives you can give them, and what will motivate them.

The Big B: The Big B, (i.e. The Budget), is the most import important factor to consider. Obviously, giving sales incentives should not result in bankruptcy for your company. Therefore, your company’s finances have to be evaluated, and the amount you can spend on incentives can then be determined. A realistic working budget enables you to put on your thinking cap and allows you to explore all the possibilities of giving incentives.

Give according to age: Age also plays an important role – since what a 20-year-old may like may not be suitable for a 30-year- old. As people grow older, their needs and wants change, too. More mature people expect correspondingly mature incentives. However, if the sales team is composed of people of various ages, you have to choose something that will motivate everyone.

Become a gender genius: Giving incentives according to gender can be tricky, because you could be taken to court for gender discrimination. However, gender-based incentives can also be very effective, since men and women usually have different tastes, and you can give incentives accordingly. One method you can use to avoid the problem of discrimination is to give each team member different options to choose from.

Sales incentives are like two sides of a coin: A sales incentive is like a coin that has two sides, where one side is monetary and the other non-monetary. You can give sales team members a choice of both. Ask them which they would prefer, cash or non-cash (like trips, dinners, etc). Generally, both recognition and money motivate people to perform better.

Feel the pulse from the inside: Unless the employees themselves are ready to improve their performance, no matter what goals you set and what incentives you give, no change will occur. Your employees must feel a sense of belonging to the company and appreciate all the hard work and efforts taken by the company to motivate them, as it will be very beneficial to them in the long run. However, once in a while some people may not respond to the company’s goals and incentives. If that occurs, don’t blame your program, for the fault lies with those particular employees.

Sales incentives should be separated by long and short-term goals: You should work out different strategies for sales incentives for long-term and short-term goals. Cash and other monetary incentives are much more effective for short-term goals as they work like candy and provide an immediate boost to energy and motivation. As for long-term goals, non-cash incentives are useful for intrinsic motivation, as these often motivate employees to attain the sales targets that you have set for the company over the long term.

Whatever tack you decide to take with sales incentives, remember that as soon as the targets have been met, you will have to deliver; otherwise, you run the risk of alienating your sales team, which is the financial backbone of your company.

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