The 12 Best Sales Incentive Ideas to Motivate your Team

Written by Vanja Maganjic


Remember that episode of The Office when Andy promises the team they can tattoo whatever they want on his behind if they increase the number of sales? Although this is a funny way to motivate your team, we have much better sales incentive ideas. 

Motivating your sales team can be a tricky thing, especially since all of them are different. Not every salesperson responds to the same motivation strategy. This means that you’ll need to find a few different and creative ways to incentivise your team. 

That’s why we created this actionable guide that will give you amazing ideas to use on all types of sales professionals. 

What is a sales incentive?

Sales incentive is a motivation strategy used on sales professionals in order to boost their performance. It’s usually done with rewards which can be monetary, physical, experience-based or something else. 

By rewarding your employees, you’re not just motivating them to sell more, but also increasing their overall productivity. In this article, we won’t talk about the annual bonuses, but focus on more out-of-the-box, creative ideas that provide more than just the transactional experience. 

Reward your employees with products, services and experiences that will help them grow not just within the company but also as people. There are several ways to reward employees; you can choose the method that works for your company. Seeing how all of your employees are motivated by different things, this type of reward system lets you focus on those differences. 

It gives you the opportunity to purchase things and services your employees would never buy for themselves. A lot of the items in our guide are focused on taking a break and recuperating. To improve the management process, think about the employee service award program to develop the culture and values of the organization.

sales incentive

Research shows that rest increases creativity and less time actively engaged in work leads to being more efficient and increases your problem-solving skills. Sometimes, the only way your employees will take time to rest and focus on their selves is once you arrange it. 

Why is money not a good sales incentive?

We’ve already mentioned that our guide doesn’t include monetary incentives. This is not just because we want to focus on creative incentives you wouldn’t think of at first. It’s also because money incentives don’t have the same effect as non-monetary rewards. 

First of all, giving your employees money is a purely transactional experience. After all, they get money with every paycheck and that transaction doesn’t necessarily reflect their great work and all the ways they go above and beyond. 

Seeing how your employees get the same salary no matter whether they present a great idea on how to better your sales process or help out with more tasks than usual, rewarding them with cash might seem like you’re looking for an easy fix. 

The gifts that we’ve listed show that you’re listening and that you care about your employees. The more personalized the gift is, the better. Also seeing how a lot of companies rely on remote work, putting in the effort to organize some of these experiences show that you’re serious about making your company a great place to work. 

After all, receiving a cash prize is not as memorable as an experience. 

This isn’t just our opinion, here’s what scientists have to say. 

The research behind non-monetary awards

A study conducted by Wichita State University explained how emotions lead the charge when selecting a non-monetary reward instead of cash. Researchers asked participants to choose between cash, a new TV or a cruise (all options were valued the same amount). Almost two-thirds of participants selected cash. 

However, once they were interviewed and asked how satisfied they were with their choices, the results changed. People changed their minds and wanted to choose the TV or the cruise over money. 

The researchers hypothesized that the thought of receiving a gift that participants wouldn’t buy for themselves created far more excitement than cash. Because they see those gifts as ways to indulge themselves, this created a far more emotional response. 

Another experiment studied the habits of New York taxi drivers. It found that even though they could make more money on rainy days, taxi drivers typically called it a day once they reached their daily quota. This is because they preferred having more time off.

This is a great example of how people knew what was important to them and acted accordingly. If you take that decision away from your employees by giving them the cash reward, you’re taking away the opportunity to lean into things that motivate them better, like days off. 

Now that you understand the psychology behind no cash sales incentives, let’s dig into some creative ways to motivate your employees. 

Sales incentives for a high-performing team

Our list of sales incentives is arranged from products to experiences and services. 

Gift cards

One of the most common ways managers motivate their salespeople is with gift cards. They can be for clothing stores, tech stores, travel or anything that your employees would like. The type of gift card is best decided in communication with your employees. 

Are they music and TV fans that would enjoy a Spotify or Netflix gift card, or have a passion for fashion? The better you know your employees, the easier it will be for you to come to a decision. 

We advise you to choose stores that aren’t selling products and services based on your industry. That way, your employees can buy things they love to use in their everyday lives. By not tying the rewards to the work your employees do, the prize will be even sweeter, because it comes with no strings attached. 

Tech gadgets

tech gadgets

Who doesn’t love a good gadget that can simplify their life? By this we mean – smartwatches, smart rings, smart vacuums, tablets, home surveillance and more. Do your employees have children? Gift them baby monitors or similar devices. 

Are they proud pet owners – dive into the world of heated beds, water fountains, colling vests and more. 

You can find a lot of diversity in the gadget industry and have a real opportunity to go for a niche product you know your employee will be excited about. 

Subscription boxes

Subscription boxes are like gifts you buy for yourself every month, or even better – are gifted by the boss. They include an element of surprise since you don’t know what exactly you’ll receive each month. 

A huge benefit of this idea is that it isn’t a one-time thing, but a service that includes a number of shipments. 

You can sign up your employees for:

  • A food subscription – like HelloFresh or Japan Crate 
  • A wine or cocktail box
  • A coffee subscription
  • A make-up subscription 
  • A skincare box – like Petit Vour
  • A book subscription
  • A clothing subscription box like Stich Fix
  • And any local business subscription box

Spa treatments

People that work hard, deserve to get pampered. There is nothing better than spending a day relaxing near the pool and getting massages. This is a great idea even if your employees are working remotely. You can use Tripadvisor to find the best wellnesses in the towns your salespeople live in. 

The best part? Well-rested employees are productive employees. If we’re honest, this is one of our favourite picks. 

Cooking classes

cooking classes

If you’re keen on improving the quality of your employees’ lives, cooking classes are an amazing idea. They are fun and creative and let your employees relax. Learning how to make new recipes can be a fun team building activity as well. 

It can serve as a good way to share each other’s cultures and employees that finish the course can engage others with photos and videos of their meals in Slack. 

Training opportunities

Educational opportunities and professional development are great ways to motivate any of your employees. Seminars, workshops and opportunities to grow within the company will work as long term incentives for your sales professionals. 

This is very easy to organize, even in a remote work environment. All you have to do is create a plan, call reinforcements and organize a Zoom call. 

Extra days off

Seeing how we’re in the ending stages of the pandemic, we’re sure everyone is excited to travel and see family and friends from other countries. That’s why extra days off are even more important nowadays. 

Reward your hard-working sales professionals with extra PTO they can use to spend time with their families, travelling or relaxing at home. Make sure to cover their part of the work so that they can unplug and avoid doing any work while on vacation. 

Paid activity for their family

Some people love snuggling on the couch and watching movies and others love more active pastimes. For those employees who love to stay active, you can organize fun activities they can do with their families. 

paid activity

You can choose between:

  • Escape rooms
  • Visits to national parks
  • Concerts
  • Rock climbing
  • Sport events
  • Cruises
  • Film festival tickets
  • And more

Make sure to research activities in their area and help them out with planning. A road trip with planned out stops at amazing restaurants and roadside attractions sound like a fun time.  

Donating to their favourite causes

Sometimes the best incentive is showing you care about things and changes your employees are passionate about. If you’re sales employees choose this type of reward, make sure to share your plan with other employees in order to encourage them to donate as well. 

Although one person won’t make much of a difference, a company of engaged people can move the needle towards noticeable change. 

Giving them a platform

Working in big companies can sometimes make your employees feel like it’s hard for them to be heard. Give them the opportunity to talk to higher-ups, people in other branches and even the customers. 

This is usually done through internal newsletters, but you can also go the distance and invite them to meetings with other managers. Don’t forget to use background noise remover apps to make your meetings more productive and avoid being interrupted. That way your employees can share their ideas and explain how they would better specific processes within the company. 

You can also highlight your employees on social media platforms. Instead of the old school employee of the month wall pictures, brag about your employees on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. 

Praise in private is important, but praising your employees in public spaces gives them confidence and authority in the company. 

Creating a book club for them

book club

We’re not talking about a regular book club that meets every month and discusses their crushes on Mr Darcy. Create a specialized pack of books your CEO loves and thinks everyone should read. 

This will not only make your employees feel special but will also give them an advantage over their peers. Organize follow-up meetings in which the employees and the CEO can talk about the books they read and how they reflect in today’s market. 

One-on-one meetings with the owner don’t have to be stressful. Give your employees confidence by organizing these types of meetings in which they don’t have to present or explain sales numbers. 

It will help them prepare for future meetings in which they will talk about sales goals and annual revenue. 

A reward of their choosing

We wanted to finish off the list with the ultimately personalized idea that comes straight from your employees. Ask them what type of reward they would like to receive as a sales incentive. 

They might come up with a creative idea you wouldn’t have thought of. Furthermore, they’ll know that you’re investing time and effort in them and truly care about motivating them and creating a good work environment. 

Conclusion

We’re sure our actionable guide gave you amazing ideas for sales incentives. The most important thing is to know your employees, communicate with them and include them in the decision making process. After all, they will know best what motivates them and how you can help them increase their productivity. 

If you’re looking for a way to organize your ideas and skyrocket your sales results, why not create a proposal your employees can look over and leave comments with their input? You can easily do that with Better Proposals – all you have to do is sign up for our free trial

Seeing how all our proposals are web-based and we have a large library of templates, you can easily create your proposal and send it in minutes. Use Better Proposals to speed up your processes and improve productivity. Hit your goals faster with the live chat integration, which lets all your recipients leave comments and share their opinion. 

The more you increase productivity, the more incentives you’ll get to use. Make sure to listen to your employees and get creative with your ideas. 

About Vanja Maganjic

Vanja Maganjić is an experienced writer with a unique passion for creating content that helps brands connect with their customers. She believes in brands that stand up to the man and thinks that storytelling is an essential part of what makes us human. Her long term goal is to become the cool auntie that gives out family-sized Kit Kats on Halloween.
Categories: Sales Tips