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No matter how much we deny it, a solid ‘incentive for sales team’ program is something that attracts many sales professionals. Given the complexities of today, a well-thought sales incentive model is absolutely necessary to motivate salespeople to sell effectively.
In fact, a company should compensate its salespeople in a way that does not require them to be told what to do, rather, they should feel motivated to succeed and contribute to the company’s objectives.
Why is there a need for sales incentives?
Let’s begin by defining what sales incentives are.
Sales incentives are monetary or non-monetary rewards given to salespeople when they sell a certain amount of the company’s products and services, as well as when they perform well overall.
As for why they are necessary, sales is not what it once was. Current salespeople deal with a much more informed generation of customers than their ancestors did. In fact, 70% of the sales process is complete before a customer seeks the assistance of a sales representative.
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How have modern sales incentives programs changed?
Customers nowadays do most of the research on their own and rely on the sales representative for supplementary information only at a later stage. Sales reps are no longer in control of all aspects of the buying process.
Customers want to interact with sales reps who are trustworthy, understand what they are selling, and understand their concerns throughout the sales process. Additionally, customers sometimes prefer speaking with several company sales representatives before finalizing their purchase decision.
By talking to multiple members of the company, customers are able to develop trust in the product and the company that sells it. For this reason, sales managers should focus on both individual and team-based selling to determine the success ratio. Each sales representative must be evaluated based on their strengths, weaknesses, and area of expertise.
With the aim of simplifying their incentive programs, companies have aligned incentive programs with their sales methodologies, KPIs, targets, and objectives. By doing this, the sales reps will be rewarded equally.
Sales incentive trends
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 the 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.
For instance, SaaS companies typically have a customer success team responsible for training and after-sales support. Frontline reps will receive traditional incentives for meeting or exceeding quota, however, compensation should be structured in order to avoid direct competition with the sales force.
Since everyone works together towards closing any deal, managers need to be clear about roles and responsibilities and how credit will be given to each team member. For example, in the event that two sales representatives from different geographies work together to close a deal, they should both be credited equally and the incentives should be split between them.
The modern customer invests more time in choosing and evaluating a product, investing even more time in evaluating alternatives before making a decision. In consequence, many sales cycles are getting longer. Sometimes they can last up to one year and more.
In such a situation, companies can design sales incentives to keep their sales force motivated based on the progress of the customer in the sales funnel.
Today, customers make purchases both in-person and online. Oftentimes, the sales rep is not included in the process, especially during the actual purchase. It is ideal to reward sales reps for their involvement in online sales and to recognize them for doing what digital channels cannot.
Sales incentive ideas
When talking about incentive ideas for sales team, typically, you can provide incentives in two different ways.
It is important for a company first to determine how they will balance the salary and bonuses given to a certain sales rep, as they do not want to end up giving too much or else they might face financial hardship when giving incentives on a larger scale to many salesmen.
Incentives can be given in the following ways:
A typical way of rewarding sales reps is by way of a commission. On top of their salary, a sales rep receives a bonus based on their performance each month, quarter, or year.
Incentive payouts are based on the fact that sales reps not only sell products and services but are also very active in all administrative work. Among these are updating customer information, prospecting, cold-calling, lead qualification, and many others.
Additional commissions may be earned by reps based on a specific set of predetermined sales targets. This way, rewards can be given more quickly to reps, and the company avoids demotivating them by making them wait for too long for their reward.
Also, commissions should not be capped. Incentivize your sales reps to outperform previous achievements for which they have received cash incentives. As a result, they will work harder and deliver better results every time.
In addition to motivating your sales team and reps, such rewards promote fun, creativity, and help to reinforce the company’s culture. Nowadays, non-cash rewards are a large part of almost all companies’ compensation plans.
In comparison with cash incentives, non-cash rewards are much more dynamic when compared to their cash counterparts. Worldwide, about 80% of companies use non-cash incentives to reward their sales teams.
Although cash rewards are fixed, non-cash rewards provide a fun and amazing way to bond as a team. Thus, the sales team and their overall performance are positively impacted. The non-cash rewards are a fantastic way of rewarding the hard work of your sales team and sales representative.
Some of the non-cash rewards include gift cards for restaurants, bookstores, or any utility service your company offers. Providing travel options for your sales reps and team is also another option. There are a lot of people who enjoy vacations, so offer discounts on exotic vacation spots.
Furthermore, you can buy them tickets for a concert, a sporting event, etc. Consider giving them some tech gadgets or some training that will allow them to enhance their expertise and gain a competitive edge over their coworkers, leading to their personal development.
Importance of incentive for sales team
When a sales rep’s performance is not rewarded, recognized, and appreciated by his employer, he may look for another job. Therefore, having a solid sales incentive program, whether it’s a cash or non-cash incentive, is extremely important for your company. Sales incentives programs should honour sales reps for their extraordinary efforts.
As a result, they will remain happy with the company and consider it a place that values their work. Providing that incentive will ensure the sales rep stays on your side in the future and does not leave midway.
An edge in hiring
When looking for a sales position, a sales rep does not just look at the salary being offered. The sales incentives offered are considered greatly. Thus, you must ensure you have a powerful incentive program.
Examine the kind of sales incentives program that your competitors offer and offer the one that will attract more sales reps to apply for jobs at your company. As a result, you will have an advantage when recruiting sales professionals.
Until a sales representative is motivated to do his job, he cannot perform at his best. Underperforming is something he will do if he feels that he will not be rewarded for his hard work. Thus, you need to create an attractive sales incentive program that motivates him to work harder and do his best.
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A sales incentive program can motivate your sales team to give their best and enable you to make more sales, as well as increase loyalty, reduce turnover, and give you an edge while hiring. You will need to implement an incentive program depending on the company culture and vision.