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Creating successful sales incentive programs

Any reward offered for performance needs to match the level of commitment shown by employees.

Companies depend on their sales teams to identify and cultivate new clients. These hardworking individuals are often rewarded for the number of deals they close. However, an article by the Harvard Business Review noted that a poorly designed sales incentive programs can create a number of challenges for businesses.

The source stated that the wrong program can create a self-serving sales team with short-term focus that hurts customer satisfaction and company performance. That does not mean that organizations should abandon using employee reward programs, but there are ways to make the initiatives more successful.

Sales Success and More reported that non-cash rewards can be just as powerful as monetary incentives. Receiving recognition can often have a longer-lasting influence on employee performance than a bonus. Taking time to publicly acknowledge top sellers can motivate all staff members. This could be accomplished through a team competition, rewarding those who accomplish specific goals with a free trip or other big reward that are handed out during large sales conferences. The source noted that public recognition shows all salespeople that a big payout is possible and can increase respect for a company and its programs.

Several ways to motivate staff members
There are several other ways that businesses can create successful employee incentive programs. D.G. McDermont Associates's blog offered several tips for motivating all staff members, not just those on the sales team. One of the first steps that organizations need to take is to establish clear expectations. If employees are unable to understand what their companies want, they will fail to meet goals. Taking time to educate participants on an organization's long-term objectives can help teams deliver results faster by creating a clear path to hitting specific benchmarks.

This process should include outlining how rewards will be measured, as employee incentive programs need to be fair to encourage participation, according to the source. Individuals who feel they don't stand a chance at earning recognition will not work harder to improve their performance. To achieve the highest level of success, each worker needs to believe they are capable of accomplishing specific goals.

Any reward offered for performance needs to match the level of commitment shown by employees. Those who win an annual sales competition should receive rewards that match that accomplishment. This does not mean that all rewards need to be large and expensive items. In fact, frequently offering small rewards can keep morale high throughout the year. Providing immediate recognition for a successful sale could be just the confidence boost workers need to achieve higher goals.

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