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How to Fuel Explosive Revenue Growth with Kick-ass Sales Incentives

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If you’re looking to get a little extra from your revenue team, examining your sales incentives program is a great place to start. 

An effective sales incentive program is not just the fuel to drive your revenue team. It’s a powerful octane boost to create a number of favorable outcomes. 

A well-executed program does much more than just motivate your team (although just that would be enough). They also have a hugely positive impact on culture, engagement, and rep retention.  

Last week our very own Kevin Yip, Co-founder and COO at Blueboard, had a roundtable discussion with Graham Miller, Global Head of Sales Competitions at Qualtrics, Brandon Bussey, Senior Director of Revenue Operations at Lucid, and Greg McBeth, Strategy & Go-To-Market Advisor at G2M. 

They talked about how to design your very own kick-ass sales incentive program (with bonus tips for keeping your sales team productive and motivated to crush their revenue goals).

Check out our recap of key takeaways and inspirations, and watch the full recording below.

Why It Matters to Invest in Sales Incentives Right Now

Incentives have never been more important in sales. Throughout the roundtable discussion, this is something that kept coming up. 

The panelists identified three main reasons why an effective sales incentive program was so important right now.

Culture

Reps want a culture in their sales organization that feels like the management and organization are invested in them as people. Additionally, reps are feeling more distant and disconnected from their teams because of the shift to a remote work environment

The need for celebrations, camaraderie, and encouragement has largely been filled through various tools like slack and zoom. But the need to feel invested in and acknowledged has not been so easily filled. 

How you manage sales incentives, good or bad, will become a part of your sales culture. How you celebrate your team’s biggest wins and successes is a reflection of how much you value your team. 

And feeling heard and valued is something everyone needs more of in our remote world. 

Quota Attainment

As mentioned earlier, sales leaders are moving directly towards quota attainment because closed/won revenue is ultimately what’s helping to maintain operations. 

The problem is that the benefits of quota attainment are abstract and distant. It’s hard for the average rep to see how their quota attainment will directly benefit them or the company as a whole.

This is why incentives are so helpful. 

Incentives provide a clear, attainable carrot for your reps to strive for. 

Retention

The past few months have been some of the more turbulent and stressful stretches in recent memory for sales reps. 

The external stresses of COVID-19 on all of our personal lives have only compounded this wear and tear. 

So, when it comes to recognizing your team for their vital contributions and successes, now is not the time to skimp. Unfortunately, sales leaders don’t have time to find the perfect incentives for their employees. 

As a result, they often give the quickest (and most generic) options available — cash, electronics, or gift cards. When managers promote such generic incentives, they’re missing the opportunity to demonstrate the value they have for their reps. 

Going the extra mile now to make sure your reps feel appreciated will pay dividends towards improving retention rates. 

What Makes a Sales Incentive Program “Kick-Ass”

Incentive reward structures are going to change during and after COVID-19 — but how, exactly?

The two major questions being addressed are:

  • Which behaviors are you going to incentivize?”, and
  • How are you going to incentivize those behaviors?” 

To answer the first question, we polled our webinar attendees. 

  • 60% reported they were incentivizing quota attainment measures
  • 33% were focused on timeline-based incentives
  • And just 5% incentivized for conversion installs. 

This highlights one important fact — the behaviors that are most important to sales leaders are ones that are going to help bring revenue – even if it’s an adjusted amount

So, that begs the question, if you are going to incentivize performance around quota goals, which carrot are you going to use to drive the activities and behaviors you need?

Kevin tackled this subject by noting that there are two qualities that go into any great reward, incentive, or recognition program — they need to be marketable and memorable.

Sales Incentives Should Be Marketable

From strictly a programmatic perspective, your incentives need to be marketable. What that means is that when you roll out the program, you need to create excitement and enthusiasm amongst the group it’s intended for. 

An easy way to create a marketable incentive structure is to use rewards that empower personal choice and encourage organic buzz.

Empowering people to choose something that is personally motivating to them will create authentic enthusiasm among your reps. 

Maybe they’ve been dying for a Peloton bike, want to reconnect with family and would love a DIY backyard greenhouse experience, or are craving some adventure and would love to hit the road in an RV to explore some national parks. 

Give your winners a selection of choices. Even if it’s just two or three, it will create much more excitement.

Just giving a rep the option for an experience as a reward expands their typical options of mundane gift cards or cash inducements. Rigid, tired reward options are not going to cut it when it comes to incentives during and post-COVID. 

Sales Incentives Should Be Memorable

For your incentives to have the desired effect, your reps need to actually remember the reward. If the reward is not traceable to the sales competition or your company, there is no point. 

Ask yourself, in a year or two, will the rep remember the reward they received? 

We are always thinking about this at Blueboard, which is why we exclusively reward top reps with experiences. With an experience, you actually see a collision between the organic buzz of a marketable program and a memorable reward.

Experiences are inherently shareable. You can invite your loved ones for some much-needed quality time (or indulge solo). You can create awesome memories that you’ll talk about for years to come. And you can share pictures with the world (expanding your company’s cool factor across a qualified network of their peers).

Getting to share about a reward is what makes an incentive memorable. And that recall value is a vital piece of any effective incentive program. 

Give Your Reps an Experience

So, what’s the big takeaway here? 

Sales incentives aren’t something you slap together last minute to meet quota. They’re a way to show your reps you value them, and that has the added benefit of helping you reach quota.

Don’t take the easy way out. 

Get creative. Give them a choice over the prize. But above all, reward your reps with an experience they’ll remember forever. If you do, you’ll be rewarded with loyal reps who go above and beyond every day. 

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