To address the complexities of today’s sales processes, one needs a thoughtful sales incentive model that would motivate the salespeople to sell effectively. The compensation should be such that the salesperson needs to be told what to do rather should be motivated enough to push themselves and support the company’s vision and goals.
Sales calls aren’t what they used to be. Today salespeople are interacting with informed customers who come with heaps of prior research. In fact, 70% of the buyer journey is complete before they actually approach the sales representative. And in fact, if it’s B2B, the salespeople have to encounter a greater number of people who are the influencers or decision-makers and as a result, the average buying cycle tends to be much longer.
Sales incentives are the money or some non-cash rewards given to the salespeople for selling a particular amount of the company’s products and services and for their overall performance as well.
Trained professionals usually go into sales jobs because they are motivated by money, incentives, and the privilege to control their income level. Sales incentives cater to a rep’s strengths and weaknesses, sales team collaboration, and so on.
How Have Modern Sales Incentives Programs Changed?
Customers these days are empowered to source information on their own and rely on sales reps for supplementary information at later stages in the purchasing process. Sales reps no more own the entire buying process and are competing with the free information and the competitors out there in the market. Customers are interested to interact with only those sales reps who are trustworthy, know what they are selling, and understand their concerns during the entire sales process.
Also, at times customers prefer talking to multiple sales officials in the company before finalizing his purchasing decision. These officials can include sales agents, account managers, and sales managers as well. Talking to multiple people in the company helps the customers develop trust in the product and the company selling the same. Therefore sales managers have to focus on both, individual-based selling and team-based selling to determine the success ratio. Each sales rep needs to be assessed based on their strengths, weaknesses, and special expertise.
To avoid making their sales incentives program complicated, companies have started to align their incentive programs with the sales methodology, KPI’s, targets, and objectives being followed. This helps to award your reps equally when rewarding individually or together as a team.
Sales Incentive trends
Role-specific Incentives- In the digital age, the notion of a “product” has shifted. It’s less of just a physical product and is more likely to be a service that requires ongoing nurturing of the customer. In this scenario, beyond the closing of a sale by the sales rep you need additional support in terms of training and as well as technical support to assist the front line sales process. In most SaaS companies, you have a customer success team that is responsible for training and after-sales customer service. The frontline sales rep will be awarded traditional incentives on meeting or exceeding the quota but for these additional roles which are not directly linked to revenue, compensation should be towards avoiding direct competition with the sales force but should be enough to make them feel motivated and provide much support to sales as and when needed.
Split Incentives-With everyone working together towards closing any deal it is very critical for every manager to clearly define the roles and responsibilities and how each team will be credited for closing the deal. For example- In case two sales reps from different geographies worked together on closing a deal, they should be credited equally, and probably the incentive should be split between the two.
Presales Incentive-Today customers are investing more time in deciding and choosing a product, investing more time in evaluating alternatives before locking in the best option. As a result, most often the sales cycle is getting extended, sometimes a one-year plus. In such a scenario, to keep the sales force motivated companies can define the sales incentive based on the customer’s progress on the sales funnel.
Omnichannel Incentive- Customers today are using both human and digital channels to make their purchases. Quite often, the sales reps are left in the process especially during the actual purchase. The ideal way is to reward the sales rep for their involvement in online sales and give credit to them for doing what digital channels cannot. For example- if a customer has bought the product after attending the webinar. The person who organized the webinar should be given due credit for this.
Sales Incentives Ideas
There are mainly two ways to give sales incentives to your sales reps and sales team. Before discussing those two ways, the company needs to first determine how they will be balancing the salary and bonus given to a particular sales rep. This is important because the company does not want to end up rewarding over the desired amount or else it can face certain financial setbacks when giving incentives on a larger scale to many sales reps.
The two ways to give sales incentives are the following:
- Cash Incentives: This is the most common way of rewarding a sales rep that is with a cash commission structure. In this, a rep is paid a based salary rewarder monthly, quarterly, or yearly on top of that. The incentives are given on the recognition that the sales rep not only spends a lot of time selling products and services but is also active on the administrative work part. Some of this recognition include updating customer information, prospecting, cold calling, lead-qualifying, and so on. Depending on the commission scheme, reps will then get additional components based on a specific set of predetermined sales goals. Cash rewards are often paid through rep’s paycheck. This way reps are awarded more immediately for their hard work and the company avoids demotivating a rep by making them wait too long for their reward. Do not cap commissions. Motivate your sales rep to outperform their previous achievements for which they received cash incentives. This way they will not get relaxed and work harder and deliver better every time.
- Non-Cash Rewards: Such rewards give you more freedom and flexibility in how you motivate your sales team and reps. It allows them to have fun, be creative, and helps to reinforce the company’s culture. Non-cash rewards are a big trend in almost all companies today. About 80% of companies globally adopt this method of rewarding their sales teams and sales reps. Non-cash rewards are very dynamic when compared to cash rewards. Cash rewards are fixed but non-cash rewards are fun to discuss and lead to amazing team bonding. As a result, it has a positive impact on the sales team and their overall performance. This makes non-cash rewards a great way to recognize the hard work of your sales team and sales rep. Some of the non-cash rewards include gift cards for restaurants, bookstores, or some particular utility service depending on your business nature. You can also give travel options to your sales reps and team. Everyone loves a good vacation, so give them discounts on some exotic locations they can go to and so on. Furthermore, you can give them tickets for a concert, sports events, and so on. Gift them some tech gadgets or give them some training that will help them to upskill their expertise and gain an edge over the other employees working in the company leading to overall personal growth.
Importance/Benefits Of Sales Incentives
- Reduced Turnover: A sales rep will only look for a new job when his performance is not recognized, appreciated, and rewarded for by the company he works in. Therefore, having a solid sales incentives program be it cash or non-cash incentive is extremely important for your company to offer. When a sales rep is awarded for his extraordinary work, your sales incentives program should award him for the same. This will keep him happy, and consider the company as a place that values his work. This will make the sales rep work for you in the future and not leave midway. This helps to reduce employee turnover and all the innovative and hardworking sales rep and team are retained by the company.
- An Edge In Hiring: A sales rep while finding a sales job not only looks at the salary being offered. But also, how are the sales incentives program that the company offers. So make sure you have a strong and dynamic sales incentives program. Also, study the kind of sales incentives program that your competitor has and try to provide the best program that will induce more sales reps to apply for jobs in your company. This gives you a competitive edge while hiring sales professionals.
- Motivation: No sales rep can deliver exceptional performance until he is motivated to do his work. If he feels that there will be no rewards for his hard work, then he will underperform. Therefore, you need to have an attractive sales incentives program that will motivate him to perform harder and give his best on his job. Plus when he receives the rewards, he will be much more motivated to work harder so that he can enjoy more incentive rewards in the future.
A sales incentive program can not only motivate your sales team to give in their best and help you make more sales but also increases loyalty, reduce turnover, and can give you an edge during hiring. The type of incentive that needs to be implemented will depend upon your company culture and vision. To know more about various ways to power inside sales team, you can refer here.