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August 5, 2021

How to Tailor Your Sales Incentives to Motivate Your Team

How to Tailor Your Sales Incentives to Motivate Your Team

How are you motivating your sales team? When was the last time you thought about trying something different? Everyone likes cash rewards and monetary incentives, we can’t argue with that. Those in sales roles are even more extrinsically motivated by money. However, incentive options should cover everything from the monetary to the meaningful and everything in-between. Money is easily forgotten without an additional emotional connection since it generally goes into the same bank account as a paycheck.

Rewards work—90% of top performing companies use rewards other than cash to reward their sales teams—when you know how to use them. The most important thing is that your sales incentive plan plays to the strengths of your individual sales reps. 

Sales Incentive Planning and Programs

Sales are an important part of your business, you probably already know that. But it can still become an afterthought without a plan and programs that allow you to stay organized.

Understanding your salespeople

If you’re on a large team, several people could help close a deal. So how do you make sure everyone’s contribution is valued even if they aren’t closing the sale? You need to know your team well and understand the roles they fill. Every sales team and every product works differently so get to know how YOUR team works. 

What motivates your particular sales team? Do they get fired up with friendly competition or do they like to work together as a team to meet goals? If your sales team is like every other sales team we’ve encountered, we’ll assume it’s a little of both. Understanding how much competition and cooperation to introduce is the key. 

Sales Impact and Rewarding Various Roles

Our motto here is the more recognition the better, so are you recognizing all the people who contribute on your sales team. We love people who close deals, but there are so many other touchpoints in the sales process. 

Sales don’t happen in the traditional way it used to with one or two face-to-face conversations with a salesperson. Sometimes the customer comes to a salesperson after already doing a lot of their own research or after having other touchpoints with the brand or product.

Here’s a list of touch points. They may happen in this order, they may happen in a different order, or they may happen more than once. If you’re an HR admin, you may not know all the steps to sales and why it’s so important to have solid sales incentive programs for everyone involved. 

  1. Find and approach the client.

  2. Preparation. Do they need an RFP? PowerPoint presentations? One sheets? Other collateral?

  3. Doing the presentation or pitch to the client. Who prepares the presentation? Who does the actual presentation?

  4. Closing. Everyone knows about this one. The person who closes a deal and “makes the sale.”

  5. Follow-up. You can’t forget about the client after they sign something. Recognize the people who take care of the client even after the sale closes. 

Do you know that feeling of working super hard on a group project just for someone else to take all the credit? That’s the feeling we want to avoid. We don’t want anyone to feel invisible or overlooked. Besides your top performing sales rep there may be sales managers who are mentoring and assisting other people in making sales. Other teams like marketing or creative may be playing a role. Your sales incentives can spread as far and wide through your company as you want. But don’t worry, it’s easy to set up programs that help organize and automate your rewards and recognition. 

Sales Incentive Programs

Here are some ideas for programs, but remember, they’re not limited to this list. 

  1. Monthly & quarterly sales quotas. These programs are the most straightforward and serve as the foundation for most organizations’ sales incentives. Reward those who make their quotas and incentivize the team to outperform their goals.Most deals closed in a quarter. This one is pretty straightforward, but is a great way to push people each quarter. Note: Is a month a better time frame? A week? Six weeks? Break it down in time periods that make the most sense for your industry.

  2. Most hours spent on the phone. You can get as creative as you want with programs, don’t forget to recognize the tedious work whether it’s phone calls, emails spent, or hours making spreadsheets. Some of this work doesn’t have inherent rewarding feelings built into it (like the thrill of closing a deal) so it’s a great opportunity to create that rewarding feeling by (you guessed it) offering rewards.

  3. Reward everyone! Did you meet your goal for the quarter? Reward everyone at the company. Not only does it boost morale, it’s a good reminder that everyone at the company contributes whether they directly or indirectly support sales.

  4. Most creative script. Break up the monotony of cold-calling prospects and sending form emails with a contest for the most creative introduction to your company. Have sales reps use the new scripts and report back on their effectiveness or vote for a winner.

These are just ideas, the best success will come from making programs that fit your team. Sales teams come in all shapes and sizes. Sales goals, sales leaders, and sales performance may look different from company to company. Know your people and choose programs that are best for them. 

P.s. If you’re not sure where to start, your contacts at Awardco can help.

Sales Incentive Ideas

Now that you know what behavior you’re going to reward, let’s talk about how to reward. If you give people options, they’re more likely to love what they get. For example, instead of offering one item for a prize, offer millions through Amazon and our other vendors. This can also save you if you don’t quite know everyone on the sales team as well as you’d like. No more accidentally gifting a barbecue to a vegetarian or a Sephora gift card to someone allergic to makeup.

Incentives you can offer with Awardco:

  1. Points - Points in the Awardco platform are the easiest and most universally appealing way to reward your employees. The points can be redeemed for items on Amazon, gift cards, hotels, event tickets, charitable donations, and more.

  2. Catalogs - Create catalogs with specific items for your teams. You can reward points that can only be used for specific catalogs. For example, company swag. Or if you want to set a certain theme like “fitness” you could make a catalog with water bottles, yoga mats, gift cards to Nike, Adidas, or a health-conscious restaurant. Or, if you want, you can create a catalog for travel items to encourage your employees to take a vacation. The options are nearly limitless for catalogs.

  3. Bonus Boxes - Send out a box filled with goodies for top earners, teams who meet goals, or other incentives. You pick the products and Awardco will ship the boxes directly to your employee’s doorstep. Pro tip: We recommend including points in each Bonus Box as a way to ensure a consistent experience while allowing people to get what they want.

  4. Charitable donations - You can issue points for employees to donate to the charities we have in the platform. This can be a great way for employees to give back, while still giving them the choice to choose an organization that matters to them. 


Know your team. Know what motivates them. And when in doubt, let them choose for themselves.

With meaningful rewards programs your sales reps can get something that creates an experience. They will associate their rewards with positive memories.

Best Practices and Management

How do incentives fit into the rest of your compensation plan? This can affect how your sales reps view an incentive program. It should feel like a bonus on top of fair compensation, not something they need to supplement their income. Do everything you can to help rewards accompany positive feelings instead of something that may make an employee feel like they aren’t valued enough in the first place. Make sure compensation plans are clear during the hiring and onboarding process so everyone knows what to expect. 

Remember that sales incentives are just one piece of the puzzle, if you’re looking for a way to easily manage all your incentive programs, including sales, you can do that with Awardco’s Earn feature. Awardco Earn allows employees to take charge of their own rewards by letting them claim points for hitting certain goals. You can set up the goals and the amount of points earned for each one in the Awardco platform. This can be used for incentives for anything from sales to awarding points for an employee who completes a survey or finishes a training.

Go and Reward Your Sales Team

If this feels overwhelming, don’t worry, we’re here to help. You can set up, manage, and fulfill sales incentives all in one place with Awardco. We’ll help you find the programs that work best for your organization and your sales reps. Simplify the process and save yourself time by using Awardco’s management system, like uploading multiple participants at once, multiple winners at once, and even create multiple sales incentive programs—all under one dashboard. 

Let’s chat. 



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