When you think of sales incentives, we bet you think carrots of the dangling variety, right? Listen, carrots are great. We love carrots.
After all, a diet rich in carrots has been shown to reduce the risk of several types of cancer, lower blood cholesterol, boost weight loss efforts and may also lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration of the eyes.
In short, while real, actual carrots are awesome, we’re just not so sure the metaphorical, dangling kind is what you should be looking at if you’re trying to find ways to inspire your sales channel to up their game. Especially at a time when rapid increase in the number of digital sales channels and the big changes in consumer sales behaviour has all but made traditional sales incentives obsolete. While financial motivators will always play a role in the B2B sales environment, it’s time to find ways to motivate your sales force to adopt the winning behaviours that may not currently be a part of their repertoire. And you have plenty of incentive reward options besides cash to choose from.
In today’s incredibly competitive market, you want your external sales team to be made up of folks who are proactive and innovative and ready to use the tools that are available to them. We’re not saying you should be leaving those fine folks out in the cold (not by a long shot!), we’re saying you should be inspiring them to find their own way out of the woods. Which brings us to the future of sales incentives and how you can evolve with the times to ensure that your sales channel A Team has all the motivation they need to go out there and rustle up the business you need to thrive in a tough financial climate.
Here are three ways you can motivate your channel team by using targeted rewards rather than unfocussed, budget-draining SPIFs:
1. Reward pre-sales and post-sales activity
When you take a closer look, you are bound to find that your most effective and efficient sales partners have certain behaviours in common. You’re also bound to find that there are vital steps they take in the lead-up to a sale, as well as during the post-sale phase, that put them out in front of the rest of the crew.
If you take steps to reward these behaviours with micro rewards, instead of simply doling out a SPIF every time someone makes an actual sale, you’re actively promoting the establishment of a performance culture rather than a race for gold stars.
Depending on the nature of your business, the kind of pre-sales behaviours you may want to include in your incentive reward program could include sales- or technical training, proactive advertising and marketing, lead-generating activities, consumer event hosting, vendor marketing program participation, portal- and community engagement, and more. And the micro rewards might be a gift card for sports gear, a spa treatment voucher, or maybe a glamping weekend for two. They’re small rewards, but offer a motivational boost nevertheless.
On the post-sales side, consider behaviours like sales of new solution types to targeted verticals, cross-sales to existing clients, deal- and lead conversion percentages, customer feedback and satisfaction, as well as the smashing of overall sales targets.
And to be sure you’re offering the right rewards, see How to optimise your channel rewards for success.
2. Reward teams, not just individuals
It takes a team effort to close a deal – especially when you’re selling specialised products or services. No matter how you slice it, it’s easier to sell when you’ve got a backup team of seasoned professionals who work in collaboration to address a new prospect’s pain points and concerns, smoothing the way for a sale. So it’s time to rethink the metrics you use to measure out rewards.
Open up the floor to team-based rewards to ensure that the classic dog-eat-dog sales mentality is replaced with a ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ mentality. When your sales reps are aware that they all stand to benefit from a sale, they are far more likely to band together to help buyers validate their decisions. And buyers may appreciate the opportunity to engage with multiple reps or seek different perspectives. It will also make the reps in your channel a whole lot more likely to support each other’s efforts as they approach new prospects and drum up fresh leads.
BONUS TIP: Think outside the box to include sales ops and admin staff in your incentive rewards program – these folks may not be in the front lines, but they provide essential back-of-house support that can make or break a sale. Give them some incentive to put in whatever it takes to make the sale happen.
3. Reward incremental successes
Another way to create sales channel loyalty is by creating layered incentives and structuring your rewards system accordingly. Essentially, you’re tailoring new-generation SPIFs that hinge on tiers or bundles. This model also offers opportunity for you to be more strategic in the types of rewards you offer and leverage perceived value.
- An example of a bundle would be getting ten points for selling a car, and two points for booking a service, but when a customer brings the car they bought from the dealership for a service they get five points, which increases on a sliding scale over time.
- An example of a tier would be getting ten points per car when you sell between five and ten cars per month, and stepping up to 15 points per car when you sell between ten and 15 per month.
By focussing on growth over a longer period of time, it allows you to encourage external sales reps to look beyond the single sale and see the value in developing strong relationships with clients over the course of years and get to grips with your entire service or goods portfolio.
There you have it – a few surefire ways to modernise your sales incentive rewards in 2020 and beyond. Feel free to get in touch with the GET Rewards team if you want to discuss it some more. As a single-source supplier, we take great pride in providing a comprehensive range of rewards through cost-effective channels so you can revitalise your sales incentives to get your sales reps all fired up and ready to sell, sell, sell.