Motivating sales people is more art than science, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. After all, only a fraction of your crew are truly self-starters, and they already surpass quota. The big money is to be made in getting the slow swimmers into the water while showering attention on the superstars who drive your bottom line now. Here's a quick primer on the developing a successful sales incentive plan:
A clear plan is a plan they'll followMake the program simple. Salespeople have enough detail in their daily work to track without having to spend time working out your incentive plan.
Yes, the 80/20 rule is unbreakable, as usualYour top people are likely already plenty motivated, yet the second tier is where you'll see the most upside in terms of sales change. Understanding what drives each group can be difficult and distracting if you don't have human resources staff.
Track progress publiclyA horse alone will walk, but put another horse beside it and – voila – they start running. It's important to talk about who is closing deals and where people are in terms of goal. If you don't, each sales person will keep their own, error-prone tally, and then the problems begin.
Try a little sugarPeople need not only to win but to be seen winning. Public recognition in little ways, often, means a lot. Lapel pins and specially labeled business cards ("Chairman's Circle" or "$1 Million Seller") seem hokey, but they aren't to the folks who get these recognitions, nor to customers and suppliers who notice. The ones who don't make the cut will try all the harder.
- An incentive program seems less real the less you talk about it. Promote, promote, promote, before, during and after.
- You have to deliver what you promise and on time, or you'll never get another incentive program running again. Get your cash or product incentives in line before you even announce the program, or it will get by you.
- Sales programs are designed to pick winners and losers, but most successes come from teamwork. Pooling or points systems can be a big motivator, so that when the big deal is inked, everyone involved gets a bit of the credit — and the reward.
- Consider various types and levels of gifts, even extra time off or services they might not otherwise buy, like house-cleaning or car detailing. Stress relief is as welcome as cash to some.