How Sales Incentives Can Help Your Business

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For businesses, sales teams tend to be their cornerstone. 

Without the hard work that the sales teams put in, businesses would not be able to sell their products or services effectively. Due to this reason, there are many businesses that choose to reward their staff. When the sales staff are rewarded, there's a higher chance that your sales figures will be higher. If you're wondering how to reward your sales staff, then there are several ways you can go about doing this.

You can provide them with commissions as well as bonuses. Even incentive schemes can be great rewards. However, in order to give them the best rewards, you'll need to identify what rewards suit them best. In this article, you'll learn about what sales incentives are. You'll also learn about the different types of sales incentives that are available. This article will also teach you how to create a sales incentives plan. Finally, we will also provide some ideas on what kinds of sales incentives you can use.

What Are Sales Incentives?

A sales incentive is a reward focused on a sales team reaching a goal or target. This can be for individual sales representatives or for the team as a whole.

A sales incentive plan will enable you to motivate as well as reward your sales team for delivering great performances. Sales incentive plans that are successful tend to cater to the strengths and weaknesses of the sales professional. The idea is to promote collaboration among the sales team while also complementing the unique characteristics of different sales employees.

A study that was published in the Nature journal, which showcased a better understanding the benefits of rewards to motivating behaviour. The study found that these cells contribute to language, motor function, attention and fear. In mice, it was found that the neurons in the brain fire better when there's an anticipation of a reward. It was also seen that a different group of neurons react should reward not be given.

What this study demonstrates is that there are very precise and strong reactions when it comes to getting rewards. This study can be translated to humans as well. When you reward your sales employees with incentives, you're likely to find that they are performing better.

Sales incentives can:

  • Motivate sales employees to work better
  • Drive up sales figures
  • Create a positive work environment for sales employees

Different Types Of Sales Incentives

There are many different types of sales incentive schemes. There are varying options when it comes to compensation, and several other factors that you should consider as well.

When your sales incentive program is effective, you'll be able to motivate your sales representatives to work together. They can also work together to create an environment that is more competitive, and as a result, more comfortable as well.

The program that you choose should be one that should also align with the culture of your company. The work environment you create through your sales incentives should be a positive one. Essentially, your sales incentives should be able to excite your sales reps and make them feel like they are valued employees.

1. Role- Specific Incentives

Your sales incentive program should be one that empowers your sales reps to play according to their strengths. One way you can do this is by incentivising your reps based on the capabilities that they individually have. Say there's one particular sales representative in your team that always outshines everyone else. By setting an incentive that is broader, they might be able to reach that sales target ahead of other employees.

If this keeps happening, how will you motivate your other employees to work better? You would also need to find some way to motivate the sales rep who keeps coming out on top. This can be done with the help of a monetary incentive scheme that is tiered. Provide higher rewards for every milestone that is reached.

This way, everyone will be able to challenge themselves to reach the goals they find attainable.

2. Split Incentives

There are a lot of products and services that are highly complex. These require sales specialists to work together with sales reps on the frontline. You could also be interested in pairing some of your reps together, so they can work closely to secure a deal. The reps could be working for different regions, but may need to get the regional prospects that they have on board, in order to close their deal.

For such scenarios, a split incentive program would work better. 

This is a fair way you can compensate all the parties involved in closing the deal. The incentives can either be split down the muffle. Or you could provide portions that are predetermined. Ensure that you let your employees know what the rewards are, ahead of time.

3. Presales Incentives

In the modern world, customers take longer to compare their choices. They could ask different companies for demos and then do their own research. This results in the elongation of the customer journey. A sales rep can find themselves needing to contact their prospect for up to a year or more. For such scenarios, reward your reps for the various sales stages that they go through. This can encourage them to keep working on the prospect.

Your reps should be assigned a portfolio that is balanced. Provide them with sales cycles that are short as well as ones that are long.

4. Omnichannel Incentives

Customers today could need to deal with both humans as well as customers, through their buying cycle. Computers, no matter how advanced AI becomes, is not a replacement for human emotion. Omnichannel incentives can help reps to see digital channels as an asset, instead of as competition.

Take for example a customer who couldn't find the resolution to their problem through the AI, and asked to talk to a sales rep. In this case  the sales rep should be recognized for their efforts in helping the customer.

5. Target Setting Based On Advanced Analytics

There are complex scenarios where forecasting the demands of a customer becomes difficult. Setting reasonable targets can also be difficult. As a result it can be difficult to create an incentives program that is fair and motivational. One way you can deal with this issue is with the help of big data analytics. Allow the system to use variables to create a predictive model for what the customer demand will be.

These systems tend to become smarter the more they are used. So they can help in creating an incentives program that is systematic. Reps can be rewarded based both on metrics as well as the behavior driving value.

How Can You Create A Sales Incentives Plan?

There are five steps involved in creating an effective sales incentive program. These include:


This is where you need to decide which employees are actually eligible for the sales incentive. It's important for you to define who is actually eligible, so the system can be made fair and transparent. Let the employees know that they have to meet a certain criteria in order to be eligible. They may need to reach a certain sales figure to be eligible, for example.

The group that has been picked as eligible should also be made aware of why they have been picked. Is it because of how well they performed? Is it due to excellent customer service? Let the employees know what they are being rewarded for. The rewards and incentives you choose should be such that they promote a positive environment at work.

Performance Measures

Next, you'll need to decide what performance measures will end up triggering the incentives. These should be aligned with the objectives of your business. Why? Because the incentives you're putting in place are designed to enable your sales reps to meet your business objectives.

You can find ways to boost the performance of those people who aren't eligible for sales incentives as well. This helps you to upskill your whole team, and can end up benefitting you over the long run.


The value of your incentives should be determined in relation to the performance of the employee. Reward them too easily, and they won't be motivated to work hard. But if the rewards are too hard to get, then many employees may feel they are unattainable. 

The incentives you can provide can be financial as well as non-financial. 

While financial incentives include commissions as well as gift cards, examples of non-financial incentives include event tickets or opportunities for travel.

Reward Mechanics

In this step, you'll need to let the eligible parties know what they have to do in order to get their incentives. You can also invite them to discuss how team members can achieve higher levels in the incentives programs. The result is that you have a highly motivated sales team that is aiming to perform well.

Reward Frequency

It's also important for you to set a frequency cap when it comes to your sales incentive program. Businesses should look at what is affordable for them. Is the incentive program affordable over the frequency you wish to implement it over? You can consider providing monthly, quarterly, or annual rewards.

Staff Incentive Ideas

Loyalty programs are a great way to motivate your employees. Say you provide your employees with a certain amount as bonus if they reach a certain number of sales figures. This can provide your sales reps with tangible targets that they can then choose to work towards.

Loyalty programs can:

  • Inspire people to work harder
  • Provide tangible targets that sales reps can work to reach
  • Can be in a tiered format, so that sales reps can keep trying to reach the next goal

Loyalty programs, when implemented properly, can be of great help in motivating your employees. If they aren't well implemented, then the employees may not be interested in reaching the goals you've set for them. There should be some goals at least, that's possible for everyone to reach.

So what are the incentives you can consider? There are two kinds:

Financial Incentives

These can be commissions as well as gift cards. You could also provide bonuses as a financial incentive. Compensation is another financial incentive.

Non-Financial Incentives

These kinds of incentives can be more tricky for businesses to figure out. You could provide your employees with technology and gadgets, such as a new laptop or a mobile phone. You could provide them with some kind of technology they could use for work.

You could also send them to training programs. This can enable you to upskill them, while also inspiring them to work harder. Event tickets and even opportunities for travel are great non-financial incentives you can provide as well. Consider sending your employees on a retreat, where they could also attend training sessions to improve their sales skills.


The importance of sales incentives can't be overstated. 

Employees can feel tired of striving to be their best every single day. When they have a reason behind why they're working hard, you're likely to find that they are more motivated. Sales incentives can provide them with attainable goals that provide them with benefits, and help them to create a work atmosphere that is competitive but positive.

Sales incentives are important for all organisations. Ovation Incentives has the expertise and experience necessary to help you with this. Get in touch with Ovation Incentives to learn more about how sales incentives can benefit your employees.