When the tree is down and the holiday festivities are behind us, you want your sales team to be ready to hit the ground running. And while every company counts on the consistent high-performers, it’s time to design a plan that will motivate every single person on the team. Through a fun, goal-oriented culture you can engage the reps, increase morale, and drive the numbers.
Incentives range from a hand-shake, to on-the-spot rewards, or in many cases, to a formal program format with predetermined benchmarks and on-line award redemptions. Department budgets, size of the team and revenue goals all play a part in determining the best way to customize your incentive program. But every approach should be creative and considerate of the age, gender and interests of the individuals. Below are few ideas on how to keep the sales spark alive.
- Make it personal. Recognize the employee in person, not through an email. Make a point to do this in front of peers, customers and/or the company executives. Get the family involved by sending a note home, or inviting the spouse to a personal “thank-you” lunch with the employee . Whichever method you choose, don’t keep success a secret!
- Friendly competition. Issue points for various selling activities: number of client calls in a day; increasing the YTD customer pipeline; or signing a new order. Post the points on a leader board, and at the weekly sales meeting give a gift card to the leader in each category. Of course, signing a new order would earn a higher value card than increasing the call rate, but this reward system gives every person on the team a chance to win.
- King (or Queen) for a day. Turn over the next sales meeting to the week’s top performer. Allowing that person to discuss the pipeline report and ask questions about upcoming projects gives them a chance to show their aptitude for understanding the opportunities being discussed and providing peer feedback that the manager can’t offer.
- Tools of the trade. The company has likely provided a cell phone and laptop for working on-the-go. But how about a new tablet for presentations? or high-end sound-cancelling headphones for the plane ride? or even an activity tracker so these high-energy individuals can feel good at the end of the day about the number of steps they take to make the sale. The selection of awards can be on display in the sales department, and every month (or quarter) the highest producer can claim his or her prize.
At the end of the day, money is what motivates salespeople and their comp plans already provide for that. But to keep the momentum throughout the year, it’s important to celebrate the small victories by recognizing the courage and tenacity it takes to be successful. Whether the recognition is verbal, written or in the form of award merchandise, show your sales team you “get it”!
Taking care of the people who help grow and expand your organization is essential in a corporate world that is becoming short on quality employees willing to stay with an organization longer than a few years. Therefore, when executing an incentive program, it’s important to keep product quality and gift variety front of mind when considering award options. One size definitely does not fit all, and regardless of the program budget, the quality of the items offered should be considered the core of the program itself.
Keeping in mind that quality merchandise comes in all price categories, there are ways to design an incentive program product selection that suits your audience as well as the expense guidelines that should have been defined at the beginning of this process. Also, creative thinking can enhance a program by incorporating more than just gift items into the plan. Bonus vacation days, local spa and restaurant gift cards … one firm even created cardboard cutouts of actual employees to build excitement … are all ideas that can heighten excitement and increase participation.
If the budget calls for gift tiers that start at $10.00 and top out at $50.00, then be sure to select items that the participants will recognize as the best $10.00 item available. For instance, a simple water bottle is a cost effective item, but be sure to consider a bottle brand that most employees will recognize as the best water bottle on the market. The same strategy applies to all price points – it’s better to select gifts that are seen in the retail market with well-known, well-respected brand names than to offer a lower cost item that looks like every other logo product on the market.
A few examples of brand name items, in the $10.00 – $50.00 price range, that can be sourced in the incentive market and branded (or not) with the company logo:
- Camelbak® Sports Bottle
- Stanley® Insulated Beverage Bottle
- Moleskine® Notebook
- Built® Neoprene Wine Bottle Holder
- High Sierra® Backpack
- Woolrich® Blanket
Your employees are the key to continued organizational growth and success. Let them know you recognize their value with a quality incentive program that reflects the quality of those individuals.
(Image via Inc.com)
In February, 2013, research from the Aberdeen Group, a Boston based research firm, shows top-performing companies are more likely to motivate their sales teams with non-cash rewards and incentives. That information supports data in an April, 2012 article in Incentive Magazine that states best-in-class firms were more than twice as likely (21% vs. 10%) to use non-cash incentives as industry average or laggard firms. The Aberdeen research goes on to show that firms with formal internal sales emplyee recognition programs had 14.8% higher team quota attainment and a 5.9% higher customer renewal rate.
So what types of non-cash rewards are most likely to motivate a company’s sales force? As is the case with every corporate merchandise purchase aimed at employees or customers, the answer depends on the audience. A target audience consisting mostly of women prefer home, health and jewelry selections. A male based demographic is motivated by lifestyle products like backyard grills, technology items and recreational equipment. Group travel appeals to all participants, and verbal praise, public recognition and peer-to-peer recognition remain important ingredients to a successful incentive program.
Professional incentive management professionals can offer a variety of tools to build a custom program aimed at the sales associates of any company, large or small. And since the most important members of that sales team are the top performers, it may be time to call your incentive program professional and investigate more compelling non-cash rewards for better sales results at the end of the year.