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The Best Sales Incentives to Motivate Salespeople

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Sales Team Incentives - Cash

To optimize profits within your organization, you need to keep your sales team motivated to keep closing new business deals.

Competent sales managers understand that continually using the same incentives to rally the troops doesn’t work in the long run. Sales reps are often dynamic individuals in need of new challenges to pursue. The best managers are continually figuring out how to motivate sales teams.

Offering a robust commission plan will keep your reps happy and productive, but what happens when they hit a comfortable stride? 

The allure of special sales incentives programs keeps reps hungry and excited about coming to work when they would otherwise rest on their laurels.

Getting the attention of your top sales performers means more than simply starting a new sales contest and calling it a day. You’ll need to determine the logistics of rolling out new sales incentives for maximum impact.

It’s also crucial to understand your team and their primary motivators.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what you’ll need to consider during the planning stages for your next sales incentive program:

Define Your Goal

To initiate a successful sales incentive, begin with the end in mind. Your team needs to understand what your organization wants to accomplish from a top-down level.

Are you trying to increase the percentage of service add-ons for an existing product? Has your team been fantastic at closing deals with current customers but lackluster in terms of drumming up new business opportunities? 

Make sure your team understands what types of behaviors demonstrate value to your organization right now. High-performing sales reps are sure to go the extra mile when they have a meaningful “why?” supporting their actions.

Sales motivation doesn’t exist in isolation.

Determine Your Timeline

You’ll need to find a sweet spot when deciding how long reps will have to earn your sales incentive rewards.

Consider the length of the sales cycle within your industry. Timelines can’t be too short, or your reps won’t be hitting their metrics. They’ll end up demotivated and disappointed in this scenario.

On the other hand, letting bonus contests go on for too long makes tracking performance improvements difficult. 

Come up with the ideal timeline to excite and challenge your reps while giving yourself adequate time to capture key performance data.

Keep Your Language Specific

If you’re already setting SMART Goals for your team, you understand the importance of specificity. 

Saying you’ll offer “some kind of gift card” if your reps boost their net revenue by 20% in the next few weeks won’t cultivate any enthusiasm.

Use the numbers associated with your previous year’s performance as a realistic framework for performance improvement. 

Once you’ve determined what’s realistically feasible within your timeframe, guarantee that you offer enticing rewards for your team. There should be zero ambiguity on what bonus they stand to win for hitting your contest metrics.

Types of Sales Incentives

Once you have your planning stage finished, it’s time to decide what your sales incentive should be. 

Sales incentives fall into two fundamental categories – cash and non-cash incentives.

Cash Incentives 

When in doubt, you can always motivate sales teams by throwing more money their way. Cash rewards are typically given as a bonus for every deal closed after hitting a certain target.

Let’s say you know your market slows down around Christmas time. You could offer reps an additional $500 to their regular commission for every deal closed during the first three weeks of December.

Cash incentives tend to work best when you offer a specific amount of money each time a rep hits your required metric.

Non-Cash Incentives

Coming up with non-cash incentives gives managers more freedom and flexibility. However, you’ll need to know your team members on a personal level to keep them effective.

For example, sports tickets are much less enticing than cold hard cash to those who aren’t sports fans. 

On the flip side, non-cash rewards like travel tickets or team dinners add an extra layer of fun to the sales process if you present them properly.

Sales team motivation with incentives

Application of a Sales Incentives Program

For the best results, make sure you think outside of the box. Have meaningful conversations with your team members to understand their deepest personal motivators.

Keep your rewards spontaneous and unpredictable, so your reps stay on their toes. Consider blending both cash and non-cash incentives for a broader appeal.

You might have reservations because of budgetary or logistical concerns. We’ve created an extensive list for you that should offer practical ideas for your organization. 

Regardless of your size or financial standing, you can start implementing at least a few of these sales incentive ideas right away.

1. The Latest Gadgets

In addition to keeping your employees happy, high-tech gifts like smartwatches can also make your sales team more productive.

We’re fans of fitness-oriented gadgets such as FitBits because of the influx of wellness incentives around the country. Fitness challenges work well within the field of sales.

Healthy reps are more presentable and highly energetic. Pounding the pavement in between meetings becomes a game when you’ve got a step tracker to record your progress.

If your reps already have cutting-edge technological equipment, consider offering them subscription services to their favorite applications or software services.

2. Paid Dining

While everyone loves a shiny new toy, experiences often make the strongest impressions in our minds. 

Offering a paid meal at a fine dining restaurant in your area holds a certain prestige.

Dining rewards are even more powerful when there’s a new restaurant in town that everyone in your team has been chatting about. 

Bear in mind that you might have to make a reservation well in advance, depending on the venue’s popularity. 

It’s an excellent strategy to have your team vote on the most appealing restaurant in your vicinity before making your final decision.

3. Gift Cards

Gift Cards are a tried and true incentive because they work. They occupy a unique niche between cash and non-cash incentives.

There’s a certain level of satisfaction inherent to having something tangible to take home after a sales contest. 

We have the same caveat for gift cards as we do for paid meals. Make sure to consult your reps so they can choose the gift cards they find most enticing.

4. Travel Vouchers

Even if your reps already travel for work, there’s a different level of satisfaction associated with traveling for pleasure.

A recreational change of scenery often helps reps come back to work well-rested and ready to hustle.

You can get creative with travel vouchers based on your reps’ preferences. Here are a few ideas:

  • Plane tickets: Buy your top-performing reps a round trip ticket to the destination of their choice on your company’s preferred airline. These flights can help your reps build up their frequent flyer points.
  • Hotel vouchers: A paid weekend at a popular hotel chain gives your sales reps flexibility with their travel plans. Hotel vouchers are perfect for reps that prefer road trips or have difficulty flying with their families.
  • Cruises: Some of your reps might not want to worry about logistics on vacation. Cruises are an ideal option when you prefer a short walk to the central entertainment hub.

Travel vouchers can be more time-sensitive than other rewards. You’ll need to check seasonal travel prices for your budget. 

It’s also most appealing to offer these rewards during desirable times of year for your team.

5 – Premium Parking Spaces

Never underestimate the importance of convenience. 

VIP parking incentives work best if your office location experiences heavy traffic or an existing shortage of prime spots.

Competitive reps will probably relish in the extra spotlight afforded by a prime parking spot. You can expect them to come into the office with an extra spring in their step and a stronger urge to hit the phones.

6 – Office Space Upgrades

It’s a changing landscape in the world of sales. Odds are your reps aren’t spending the majority of their time door-knocking.

Because sales reps spend more time in the office these days, they place tremendous value on the quality of their workspace.

Even if your reps work from home, they can benefit from upgrades to office essentials like chairs and keyboards. 

Here are a few options sure to catch your team’s interest:

  • Standing desks: These work wonders for your reps’ energy levels throughout the day. Listen to a rep on a call working from a standing desk, and we guarantee you’ll hear the difference.
  • Comfy office chairs: Ergonomics matters when you’re working from the same position for hours per day. Help your reps achieve optimum comfort so they can focus on their work.
  • Virtual call accessories: It’s almost impossible to exaggerate how much virtual communication has blown up in recent years. Peripheral devices like webcams, ring lights, and quality microphones can help your reps look and sound their best during virtual meetings.

7 – Tickets to Entertainment Events

Who doesn’t love a good sports match or concert? Entertainment outings provide great bonding experiences for your sales team.

Time plays a critical role here as well. Tickets to playoff games will have your reps knocking down the door to close deals. If your reps are music fans, reunion concerts tours can make your reps move mountains.

Try some of these incentives for impressive results:

  • Concert tickets: Nothing gets reps ready to crush their goals more than their favorite rock or rap act.
  • Tickets to big games: We’ve all heard stories of the lengths sports fans will go through to get playoff or championship tickets for their favorite team.
  • Season passes: Offering your reps this gift that keeps on giving will have them ready to give it their all every day.

8 – Gym or Fitness Class Memberships

It’s no secret that millennials in the modern workforce strive for healthy living. Premium gym memberships are sought after by anyone with an interest in improving their fitness.

Even if your reps already have their yearly gym memberships prepaid in full, you can also offer to pay for classes they’ve been considering, like yoga or martial arts.

Not only will these incentives excite your active employees, but they will also cultivate employee happiness because they show you care about their overall well-being.

9 – President’s Club Trips

You can check off several boxes at once by instituting a President’s Club within your organization.

It’s an easy way to guarantee all of your top-performing reps receive the recognition they deserve. There’s always an inherent satisfaction to becoming part of an exclusive club, no matter how old you are.

The promise of a free trip to the exotic locale of your choosing will paint a positive picture in your rep’s minds that they can’t ignore. 

President’s clubs facilitate healthy competition along with team building.

10 – The Wall of Fame

Not every sales incentive has to break the bank. Designate an area of your office to hang up the pictures of your top-performing reps.

Public recognition often appeals to those with a natural sense of competition, so it’s a win-win for your organization.

Be sure to go the extra mile and decorate this section of your workspace in an eye-catching and elegant manner. 

It’s essential to adorn your reps’ photos with their name displayed in big, bold letters that everyone can see from all over the office.

11 – Educational Opportunities

Whether they’re taking classes in-person or online, many of your most driven reps are investing in continuing education.

Courses in body language, public speaking, or even foreign languages can help your reps take their sales game to the next level. 

If you’re not sure which courses would work best for your team, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Professional development courses: Intensive sales boot camps will surely appeal to your more ambitious reps.
  • Online language classes: Busy reps will still take the time to practice their target language with a tutor, especially if your organization handles international business.
  • Writing courses: Improving their business writing or pitch writing skills will pay off dividends for high-performing sales reps.

12 – Monthly Subscriptions

No matter what your employees are passionate about outside of the office, you can probably find a subscription service that caters to their interests.

Subscription services are a pleasant surprise that helps employees feel valued as individuals.

Some of the safest go-to options for subscription clubs are golf, wine, and books.

Keep your best reps’ interests in mind and show them you care with customized subscriptions.

13 – Spa Services

Many people love getting pampered after a busy workweek. While spa days are more of a niche option than several others on this list, they’re sure to have a considerable appeal for those who enjoy them.

We recommend running this incentive by your team before you invest any money upfront. However, if your reps enjoy these types of services, they’ll come back to work focused, recharged, and ready to dominate.

14 – Cold Hard Cash

We’re choosing money to wind down our list because you can’t go wrong with this choice. On a successful team, all of your reps should be motivated by money.

Using money as a sales incentive saves you the burden of expending creative energy so you can focus on other areas of your business.

Just make sure your cash incentives are egalitarian and easy to understand for your reps.

Final Thoughts on Sales Incentives

After reading through this list, you’ve probably noticed that sales incentives work best when they resonate with your reps on a personal level.

As a top-tier sales manager, you’ve already taken the time to build rapport with your reps to understand their unique motivators. 

Use this intel to your advantage when rolling out any incentive program. Your reps will come to work happier and more productive. You’ll get to watch your revenue skyrocket while you plan the next stage of growth for your business.

Happy selling!

Sales Hiring Simplified!

Hire top-performing salespeople with The DriveTest®. Get started now with one free test.

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