What is a Sales Incentive Program?

by: Luke Kreitner September 2, 2020

What is a sales incentive program? A sales incentive program is a plan or strategy that motivates salespeople to surpass status-quo performance metrics. A sales incentive programs may use non-cash incentive rewards, cash-based sales performance incentive funds (SPIFFs), or both. The defining aspect of a sales incentive program is being a supplemental part of an overall sales compensation plan or sales strategy.

Why are sales incentive programs important?

A study conducted by the Incentive Research Foundation revealed that 90% of top performing companies use a sales incentive program. The companies in this study were vetted extensively for high revenues, notable stock growth, and excellent customer and employee ratings.

Successful businesses know that a high-performing sales team is vital to the company's success. Sales incentive programs can potentially increase sales by 44% and motivate employees by recognizing and valuing their contributions.

What are examples of sales incentive programs?

The key to identifying a “good” sales incentive lies in understanding your sales team. No two sales people are alike. Varying personalities, interests, and motivations will shape how effective your sales incentive rewards can be. Along with this factor, effective sales incentives are in constant need of a “refresh” to keep your sales people on their toes. The good news: sales incentive program providers have experience with a variety of reward options and can help determine the best variety of options to fit your specific audience.

Some examples of sales incentive programs include:

How do you create a sales incentive program?

Whether a company chooses to designate reward and recognition responsibilities to a sales manager, or enlist the help of a sales incentive program provider, implementing a successful sales incentive program requires key steps to make sure your efforts have a lasting effect. These steps include:

  1. Specifying the goals of your program. The more specific, the better!
  2. Establishing your budget.
  3. Studying your audience to determine what motivates them the most.
  4. Choosing your reward options.
  5. Identifying the key performance indicators (KPI’s) that will help monitor program success.
  6. Structuring specific sales promotions.
  7. Engaging your sales team and educating them on the rules.
  8. Tracking sales reports and analyzing the effectiveness of your efforts.
  9. Enhancing your current promotions to improve and grow your program.

Looking for more information on sales incentives?

With over 25 years in the incentive industry, Incentive Solutions has a variety of resources for your viewing. Check out our sales incentive FAQs, or read our most recently released white paper study on the benchmarks of sales incentive programs.

And, as always, we offer free consultations and product demos with our sales incentive program experts. Happy sales incentive program hunting!

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Blog image by Austin Distel


About Luke Kreitner

Luke Kreitner is the VP of Sales at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that specializes in helping B2B businesses accelerate growth, increase sales, motivate channel partners and retain B2B customers.