If there’s one universal truth that resonates throughout every single company, it’s that cash is king for your sales team. Inside and outside sales reps are not only paid on commission, hefty bonuses and kickbacks also motivate them to work even harder. I mean, c’mon, you’ve seen all the movies right?
Some of the leading salesmen in the US are literally swimming in money. Which seems to keep their sales beaks wet and on top of their game every day.
Unfortunately for sales managers, cash incentives are never bottomless. Not if you want to make a decent sized profit. What’s more, we’ve seen high income reps who are still miserable at the workplace. So while financial rewards are important, they may not be sustainable for the employer. Or enough for the employees in many cases.
To help maximize your team’s productivity and save some money, it’s vital that you mix it up a bit with rewards beyond fatter paychecks. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 most enticing rewards you can use to motivate your employees without resorting to cold, heartless cash.
1. Flexible Hours and Remote Work Days
Not only is this the most cost effective incentive you could give your employees, it’s also one of the few that still involves getting some actual work done. If your sales team has already proven a professional ability to manage their own time, you should allow them the flexibility they deserve. As long as they can still keep up with their duties and responsibilities and performance doesn’t suffer. Just let them leave earlier or come in late once in a while.
Flexible hours seem to motivate even the slower (lazier) members of the team to work harder and earn more free time to do their own things. Remote work days also seem to have a similar effect. A recent study done by Stanford University shows that employees are actually about 15% more productive when they work from home compared to the office. We attribute this to a calmer working environment.
As well as a lack of the typical office-environment distractions. Since your employees don’t have to dress up, fight the morning commute, settle in at the office, say hi to everyone and take an unnecessarily long lunch break, they save more time and are generally happier in remote work days. Maybe offer your leading sales people the opportunity to work from home one or two days a week. Who knows, it might actually feel like a promotion.
2. Recognition, Honors and Awards Motivate
These might seem like the most obvious incentives, but you’d be surprised how many companies overlook the simple act of giving credit where it’s due. Recognition can go a hell of a longer way than money, especially in a competitive sales environment. This could be as simple as posting shout outs on social media. Or maybe sending mass emails detailing a job well done. You could also gather everyone to witness the top performer getting honors, an award, or a promotion.
Giving your team the recognition it deserves show you’re paying attention. It also means you appreciate everyone who has made a positive contribution to your company. This simple act gives your employees a sense of pride, belonging, and ownership over their own work. Needless to say, this will create a ripple effect where other employees also crave similar accolades and actually put in more work to get the attention and praise from management.
Consider adding monthly or weekly moments of recognition which focus on important factors that can be tracked i.e. number of units sold. Just make sure you don’t forget to recognize the intangibles that other employees also bring to the table. And switch out the criteria every once in a while so as many people as possible have a fair chance of winning. Otherwise, overpraising one employee could have a negative impact on the rest and even create some hostility around the workplace.
3. Vacation Time and Travel Incentives
After putting in months of hard work with solid results, there’s nothing more attractive to employees than a well-deserved vacation. Research conducted by the SIF and Incentive Travel Council shows over 90% of employees admitting that travel incentives are the most important and attractive of all incentives. A large percentage of them say that regular travel incentives actually increased their loyalty levels to the organization.
Now, you could make flight deals, accommodation plans and pay for other travel expenses. However, you need keep in mind that travel incentives do not necessarily have to include money. Something as simple as vacation time or paid leave is often all the incentive your sales team needs. But even if you do spend a little money, research shows that you would have to increase your employees’ base rate by 10% more than the actual cost of a travel incentive to achieve the same satisfaction. That’s something for your accounting department to think about right there.
4. Professional Development
Aside from the basic initial training, not every company invests in the professional growth of their sales personnel. But for most reps who are very serious about their careers, professional development can serve as an excellent motivator. There are some companies which are infamous for their development programs. Even with less pay, sales people still flock to these companies. That’s because they know that after a while, they can pretty much write their own recommendations and tickets to wherever they want to work.
Now, this is where things become a bit tricky so pay close attention. Do NOT just focus on professional developments that strictly benefit your organization’s bottom line. Even with no clear link between the revenue stream and the programs and support you offer your team. There’s definitely a lot of value in the goodwill and loyalty you get from your employees when they see how you’re willing to invest in them. Obviously, this leads to higher motivation and retention rates.
5. Know your Employees on a Personal Level
It goes without saying; your employees are people with their own dreams, aspirations, fears, and problems in life. They make a lot of choices and sacrifices to get to work every single day, and on time too. Some of them have families, side businesses and unexpected occurrences that no one could possibly foresee.
Of course, there’s always sick days, child-related problems, and a myriad of personal issues surrounding almost every worker. So instead of talking shop and business all the time, why not take the time to know your employees on a personal level? You don’t even need to get too personal. Just get to know if they have any family, what their hobbies are, what makes them tick, and share something about yourself as well.
Out of all the above incentives, nothing is more powerful than connecting with your fellow human being on a personal level. Try to turn your employees into friends and make them feel like they are a valued part of the company. Do that and you’ll have built yourself a loyal and motivated work force. Checkout our article on various sales personas.
6: Entertainment and Activities
One great incentive that a lot of sales reps love is entertainment. It’s a great incentive because these are things your teams would love to do but may not be entirely willing to splurge on themselves.
You could offer tickets to a big game, front row seats to a cool concert, or even a romantic dinner for two as entertainment-based rewards. Just get creative with it and know your employees as mentioned above.
When it comes to activity based rewards, your reps would definitely love to unwind after pushing hard to hit their quotas. A few activity incentives could include skydiving, rock-climbing, zip-lining, or something team-based such as escape rooms. Check out our article on team-building activities for more ideas.
7: Motivate with Office Upgrades
Here’s an incentive that is as good for the employees as it is for the company. If you’re looking to make your sales teams more productive at the workplace, why not offer office upgrades as incentives? This option also works great for remote sales teams since most people with home offices may not be willing to drop a lot of cash to upgrade their home offices.
Some recommended office upgrade incentives could include getting a standing desk and noise cancelling headphones. You could also consider dual monitor systems, high quality office chairs, lighting, and other office decorations. Alternatively, you could ask your staff what they want improved around the office to get more actionable feedback.
8: Leads and Reassigns Motivate
Here’s an incentive that sort of looks like more work. As a sales manager, one of the biggest duties includes distributing leads and reassigning clients. This is quite common when one sales person gets too overwhelmed or stuck pursuing a stubborn prospect.
Well, how about using some of these high income leads as non-cash incentives for your sales reps? That’s because these additional leads give your sales reps a chance to make even more money than they usually do. As mentioned above, it makes perfect business sense too. After all, you will be giving more accounts to people who are working harder to get them.
9: Spin the Prize Wheel
Can’t decide on a single incentive? Well, why not pull all the ones in this post on a spin wheel and let chance play its cards. Whether you’ll agree or not, there’s just something very exciting about spinning a wheel to get the chance to win a fantastic prize.
It’s the mystery of not knowing what you’ll get that adds to the appeal. The actual spinning can also be a fun office event where team members get recognized for all they have achieved throughout the sales period. Check out these and more game incentives.
10: Let your Sales Team Choose their Own Rewards
It goes without saying that your team members have the best insight into what drives them. As such it makes total sense to let them pick out their own rewards for a job well done. What’s more, it takes some of the pressure off the boss. After all, you won’t have to sit down and come up with incentives that please everyone.
One way to achieve this is by gamification which applies typical elements of gameplay to organizational activities. According to one case study companies that have experimented with gamification say it’s extremely effective in motivating team members. One bank actually used a sales reward platform to offer non-cash incentives based on performance so that each participant was in control of what they earned.
The best thing about this strategy is that it has both intrinsic and extrinsic qualities. Extrinsically, employees work towards an arbitrary quota set with the promise of a reward. Intrinsically, employees are also empowered to choose their own rewards. This allowed some of them to assume responsibility and even set their own goals beyond what the company requires.
Conclusion – Motivate your Sales Teams
Trying to motivate your sales team beyond commissions and cash bonuses can be very tricky. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for savvy business owners to do it without dipping into their funds. As we’ve shown you above, there are numerous interesting, creative, and memorable non-financial incentives that will help improve motivation and stabilize employee loyalty. Not to mention some much needed engagement.
When your sales team is happy, you’ll get to see more growth in terms of sales and less costly turnovers. After all, your sales team is smart enough to know the difference between cold hard cash and warm, heartfelt appreciation. Keep your sales team ahead of the curve with Salesforce CRM and its valuable Veloxy Plugins. With Veloxy and Veloxy Lite, you can forecast what your customers need beforehand and provide your sales team with relevant information and analytics at the right time depending on various factors like their context, location, and current task.