The Coaching Effect Blog

The Coaching Effect Blog

    Designing Sales Incentive Programs That Motivate and Engage

    by Kristi Shoemaker / February 22, 2012

    Sales reward and recognition programs are an effective way to motivate a sales rep above and beyond his/her compensation package. Our Pillar Partner and good friend, Amy Trueblood,Incentive programs expert Amy Trueblood Sales Rewards and recognition program of Awards Network shares some of the tips on how a sales incentive program can be simple while still making an impact on your organization.  Amy outlines the key steps in designing a sales incentive program that your team will understand and that will motivate the right behavior!

    Incentive Programs: Separating Goals

    Geoffrey James wrote an article for on creating a sales program that is motivational and included several rules to follow. One of his rules is to keep the plan simple and James explains that a sales plan should be “expressible in a single sentence, so that it can be in the back of the employee’s mind as a ‘touchstone’ for day-to-day behavior.” This is an eloquent way of expressing how practical and simple a sales incentive program should be in order for it to work. One thing I have found helpful for my clients is to separate goals either by time or by the products and services people earn rewards from selling. If you have a ton of ideas for different sales contests, hold off on introducing them all at once to avoid confusion. You can space apart your contests to make the program simple and possibly more relevant if you run seasonal contests at the appropriate times.

    Another way to separate goals is to target certain groups of products and services and give the sales person a flat percentage of the sale. Sometimes a company will allow people to earn a different percentage of the sale depending on what level the group of products represents, i.e. good, better or best. A salesperson may earn one percent of the sale of the introductory line, three percent on upgrades and five percent on the sale of premium goods or services. By separating the sales goals based on the things being sold, sales people can easily calculate how much is earned on a sale and how much more can be earned for upselling.

    Incentive Programs: Maximizing Website Features of a Sales Reward Program

    The past couple of online sales incentive programs I have helped to put together included some features I have not had a client take advantage of yet. In addition to listing out the goals and program details online, you could also include a chart with all of the models and points one may earn for selling. This chart can help a person understand how he or she can earn points. You can also have the chart have each model linked to the product information on your own website so that if a person is unfamiliar with a model, he or she can quickly find more information about it. You can make your sales incentive website a source for information and make your sales people more successful.

    Incentive Programs: Tracking and Reporting Sales Rewards

    Sales incentive programs also need to be easy for administrators to track and allow them to add points or give out bonuses fairly easily. If a complicated equation is involved and people cannot just set up an Excel spreadsheet to help with the calculations, then they are less likely to even get the rewards to the deserving sales people. There are two ways to simplify this process for your sales managers. The first way is to have your admins set up with their own unique account online so that points are added directly into accounts. The second way is to set up a form online for sales people to fill out when they have a qualifying sale. The form can be programmed so that it is sent directly to the manager who then has to verify and approve the sale so points can be deposited into the sales person’s reward account.

    All in all, the easier a sales program is to understand and work with, the more likely people are to participate and admins will actually keep up with it. I hope that these tips help you to rethink your sales incentive program and make it simpler and more successful.


    To learn even more, please register for Amy's upcoming webinar  "Designing Sales Incentive Programs" on Friday February 24 at 12 CST / 1 EST.  Learn more and register CLICK HERE  Or request a copy of the recording by leaving your email in the comments box below!

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    Kristi Shoemaker

    Kristi Shoemaker

    Kristi is a marketing communications and public relations expert with over 30+ years of experience in a variety of industries. She was an integral part of EcSell's go-to-market strategy and execution from 2008 - 2012. Kristi enjoys taking a holistic approach by integrating all the key marketing disciplines to create synergies that generate maximum results. She is currently the president of KLS Consulting in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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