3 sales incentive strategies that spark motivation
What keeps the spark alive in your sales team? To maintain and accelerate their perseverance and momentum, it's critical to appreciate how your company culture supplies the fuel—like oxygen to a fire.
Developing and strengthening a culture of recognition serves as a foundation to celebrate and reward your sales team for a job well done. It's also an investment in your team. Expressions of gratitude for individual gains and wins introduce a more personalized element to your incentives program, fostering connection and the sense of belonging at a deep, long-lasting level.
When seeking to fuel motivation and achievement through a well-structured employee incentive program, your efforts should be guided by a humanized approach.
1. Create friendly competition with leaderboards
A leaderboard is an effective tool to inspire and motivate your team—encouraging friendly competition by providing visibility to the team's performance, goals, achievements and milestones.
To enhance the value, relevancy and impact of your leaderboards, ensure that they spotlight individual contributions to broader team, department or companywide initiatives.
- Habits-focused leaderboards: While leaderboards measure sales outcomes and output, they also create opportunities for your brand to drive desired behaviors that lead to more sales. Leaderboards that emphasize and reward new leads or cold calls showcase your priorities and motivate your sales team to increase their productivity in these areas.
- Virtual opportunities: Leaderboards also present opportunities to engage teams virtually, with a focus on group dynamics and shared experiences in virtual settings.
- Gamification: When using leaderboards to motivate your team, emphasize the social aspect of the friendly competition. As names on the leaderboard flip around, moving up and down the list, people feed into the energy of that group dynamic—cheering on teammates and catching a burst of inspiration to surge ahead.
2. Widen your winners circle with sales contests
To expand opportunities to reward and recognize your annual top performers, introduce a sales contest that will captivate, inspire and motivate your team throughout the year.
- Reward structure influences effort: When there's a possibility of multiple winners versus one, individuals are more likely to put in the extra effort and end with a strong performance. To encourage participation, consider strategic gifting opportunities.
- Tiered rewards broaden inclusion: Recognizing achievement at all levels of the team enables you to honor top achievements while creating space for others to shine. Tiered contests also drive additional opportunities for your employees to level up, win and achieve at a higher level.
3. Infuse meaning with non-cash rewards & optionality
While commission checks and bonuses are a big draw to the sales profession, non-cash rewards are an impactful motivator—and a fundamental component of every successful incentive strategy. Presuming base wants, needs and expectations are met, non-cash incentives provide substantial differentiation.
- Non-cash rewards are a win-win: Points, gifts cards, high-end merchandise, incentive trips and opportunities to contribute to social good provide the sales team extra incentives to reach goals. Companies that reward with non-cash incentives perform better than those who do not, boasting three times higher revenue on average.¹
- Optionality increases value: Non-cash rewards are most impactful when you empower employees to select from a pool of options. Top-performing companies recognize optionality and personalization as important considerations when selecting merchandise, gift cards or incentive trips—because the personal relevance of the reward is more valuable than the corresponding dollar amount. Providing that level of choice contributes to a satisfactory reward experience.
The most effective rewards programs are personalized and flexible. When employees are empowered to influence or choose the reward, their perception of its value will be equal to or greater than top-tier prizes. This is why non-cash rewards resonate. Personal meaning takes precedent.
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¹ Aberdeen Research | Rewards and Recognition as a Vital Compensation Component