The start of a new year is the perfect time to take a look at how your sales incentive plan is performing. Maybe it’s not working the way you had hoped. Or maybe you need a new way to incentivize your channel partners. Or maybe creating a sales incentive plan has been on your list of things to do but hasn’t gotten done…until now.
No matter what your situation may be, now is a good time to get back to the basics. Let’s start with the essentials.
What is a sales incentive plan?
A sales incentive plan is a tool used to motivate and reward sales professionals for reaching and exceeding their goals over a specified timeframe. A sales incentive plan can be used with not only individual sales people and sales teams but also dealers, resellers, contractors, distributors, and others who engage in sales activities that are lengthy, complex, and driven by specific sales behaviors.
The first thing to consider when developing a sales incentive plan is the objectives or outcomes you hope to achieve. The most successful companies have sales incentive plans that are directly tied to the organization’s strategic goals.
Aligning your sales incentive plan objectives with your corporate mission will give your business the best possible opportunity for success.
Next you will need to identify the metrics you’ll use to execute your plan, many of which you can pull from your Salesforce data (or other CRM system). Every solid sales incentive plan is tied to measurements that help you assess performance and progress at every opportunity.
Sales (or verified sales in an indirect channel environment) are the gold standard. New business is a good gauge of performance, but you’ll also want to evaluate the activities that lead up to the actual sale.
Some organizations measure the accuracy of a sales agent’s forecast, while others may track the behaviors that lead to the sale. When determining the metrics that will be used to measure performance and award incentives, stay focused on activities that will directly result in a sales outcome by rewarding those specific activities.
Sales management and sellers at every level of your channel need to be aligned, engaged and fully aware of your products and services. This is critical for sales success.
The best way to achieve this is with rewards technology that does more than just automate the incentive process – it connects with Salesforce to provide powerful analytics to help you instantly make sales promotion decisions based on real-time metrics and real-world sales behaviors not just what you think.
The result is agile promotions that can be turned on and off at will and that will have maximum sales impact. And remember - knowledge is power. Build product and sales e-learning tools into your platform, or link directly to your LMS.
Incentra can help you find the best reward technology platform for your specific needs.
Communications & Promotions
How you communicate information about your sales incentive plan is as important as the components of the plan itself. You want to build excitement among the members of your sales channel and make them eager to modify their behaviors to surpass every established sales target.
Here are some tips:
- Adapt your communications methods to individual preferences and proficiencies within your sales force.
- Make your communications clear, concise, and personalized to the individual.
- Communicate often and use multiple media types such as email, print, mailings, and video.
- Mixing your media will cut through the typical email clutter and keep your information top of mind.
Remember your goal is to inspire greater performance so that you ultimately achieve your objectives.
Recognition & Rewards
A “one size fits all” incentive and reward program will not likely be successful. Survey your sales team and partners to find out what they like in terms of gifts, awards, and incentives. This will help you tailor your incentive programs to meet individual choices and lifestyles.
Remember, many salespeople share awards with family members, so be sure to include them in your program planning.
Monetary incentives are not the only motivator when it comes to performance. A combination of bonuses, commissions, and a rich variety of non-monetary awards, travel and experiences accommodates individual differences and fuels enthusiasm for your organization.
A solid sales incentive plan will help your company capture market share, launch new products, reduce cost of sales and provide momentum for new markets by incentivizing sales teams to drive additional sales.
Incentra can help you create effective, scalable and affordable rewards programs and platforms that spark employee engagement, performance and sales growth, while building a culture of happiness and performance. Contact us today to learn more.