The do’s and don’ts for rewarding your sales team

It is not uncommon for employers and workplaces to become accustomed to certain sales processes and a particular work environment.   Comfort is typically equated to stability, but for companies to exceed goals and truly establish themselves as industry leaders, scaling people to push boundaries by focusing on aggressive annual sales goals is critical to helping the organization get ahead.

Implementing a Sales Incentive Program is an excellent way to not only surpass sales goals, but also to capture a culture of engagement among a workforce.  By offering a reward that extends beyond commission, your organization motivates teams to connect with prospects and build healthy funnels, which in turn leads to more closed deals.

Sales Incentive Programs reach beyond commission to motivate sales teams to close more deals and stretch their goals by encouraging positive behaviors, driving results, and aligning them further to their organization.  The most successful programs are outsourced by professionals and mirror best practices in clients’ respective industries.  These organizations use metrics to recognize key performance indicators and determine the return on investment.


1.       Clearly define the desired result you want to drive and then the behaviors it takes to achieve the result.

2.       Make the results attainable and ensure that managers and leaders are on-board. Without their support or willingness to help, the program won’t take off.

3.       Incorporate non-cash rewards effectively with cash rewards to achieve maximum results. For example, using free peer-to-peer recognition is an excellent means to drive results and encourage positive behaviors, whereas rewards are best applicable to someone who has accomplished a great achievement, which creates a positive example of great performance.

4.       Choose program champions that will drive the implementation process, build momentum and stay on top of the program with employees, vendors and the executive team.


1.       Forget to ensure that rewards are meaningful to employees. Rewards and recognition need to be tailored to the corporate goals, culture, and employees, and will evolve over time.

2.       Rely on rewards as the sole way to motivate employees to perform. This is dangerous territory because employees will see the rewards as a carrot on a stick.  The carrot-and-stick mentality is a dated practice that only speaks to the outcome and fails to recognize the meaning and reward in performing the act itself.

3.       Cast your net too wide. Stay focused on the defined behaviors you set out to drive. Otherwise, you will dilute the impact of the rewards strategy.

4.       Forget to include a way or method to track and validate the rewards given out. Metrics and tracking must be included in the planning stages in order to properly execute and evaluate the success of the program.

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