How to Improve Channel Sales Using SPIFF Programs in 2021

How to Improve Channel Sales Using SPIFF Programs in 2021

SPIFF programs , otherwise known as ‘Sales Program Incentive Funds’, are essential in helping sales organizations achieve their primary objective – grow sales. Over the years, SPIFF programs have evolved to increase their impact on their return on investment and improve their sales. However, many SPIFF Programs are not without their share of challenges ranging from funding to administration and measuring ROI. To overcome these challenges, SPIFF program best practices are being implemented.

We shall highlight some of the best spiff program practices to implement in 2021. Sales Directors are aware that in order to run a successful SPIFF program, there is a need for effective planning. It hurts every VP of sales both personally and professionally because they have come to realize that lack of a SPIFF program translates to less sales, which automatically leads to a failed business. It may also dent their image as sales professionals if they fail to implement a SPIFF program to advance their business growth.  However, the big question is how the head of sales should carry out spiff program management to achieve a remarkable turnaround.

What can go wrong with your SPIFF Programs?

Are there negative consequences of implementing SPIFF programs? What could possibly go wrong if sales directors implement SPIFF programs to promote business sales? Let’s find out!

  • Big account owners may not be impressed with SPIFF programs

Since Marquee account owners make more money on commission than on sales incentive, they may not feel the need to ask their customers for anything. They are unaware that customer advocacy activities can generate more sales for them. Thus, SPIFF programs are usually more interesting for smaller account owners.

  • The expectations of SPIFF programs may be unrealistic

It may be difficult to sustain cash incentives as a means of driving customer involvement for sales growth. Most sales directors may be unwilling to continue participation even after a successful SPIFF program.

  • SPIFF programs may attract the wrong sales roles

The truth is that SPIFF programs attract heads of sales who are in charge of smaller accounts than those sales reps responsible for marquee logos. Some VPs of sales believe there is no need to invest in a program that offers less progress when they can achieve considerable progress by themselves.

Steps to implement a successful SIFF Programs

How to Improve Channel Sales Using SPIFF Programs in 2021

Do you want to avoid those pitfalls associated with implementing SPIFF programs? After 15 years of successful implementation of SPIFF programs for 100+ clients like Macy’s, Nielsen, Blizzard Entertainment, Online Rewards experts can give you this checklist of best practices”

Step 1: Clearly define SPIFF Program Goals

The set of your SPIFF program goals plays a vital role in determining how to design your SPIF incentive program and effectively carry out SPIF Program management. Most sales directors know that the primary aim of SPIFF Programs is to increase share, improve customer service, or to build a stronger pipeline.

Step 2: Modify your sales behavior

Sales models of many businesses have evolved since the COVID-19 Pandemic due to changes in policies and how most businesses operate. SPIFF incentive programs should have a set of clearly defined goals that should be achievable and in line with current industrial practices. Before implementing any SPIFF program as an head of sales, ask yourself about a behavior you may need to change to meet your desired objective.

Step 3: Be aware of your audience

It is essential to know your audience and understand their motivation. VPs of sales should also find out how best they can reward their audience. Aside from that, it is also critical to know the type of reward that will be most beneficial to the group. Find out if your audience has any opinions or attitudes that may need to be changed. The more you understand the people you want to influence, the higher the success of your SPIFF program.

Step 4: Select the best award types

The truth is that money or cash rewards are the kings of all award types, especially for salespeople because they are driven by commission. Most salespeople respond better when they have more cash at hand. They are also more focused on receiving immediate gratification after closing a deal. Cash rewards take away the complexity that is involved in choosing a reward that will suit everyone.

It may be challenging to find the right type of merchandise or a trip that will meet a diversity of needs for each salesperson, but you may get to find one with the right reward system. It’s about the award and how best it can be appreciated by participants. That is why it is vital to know your audience so you can be able to select the most suitable award types.

How to Improve Channel Sales Using SPIFF Programs in 2021

Step 5: Find out the most appropriate duration for the SPIFF Sales Program

As a practice, sales directors should find out if they are giving participants enough time to know about the program’s existence and have a proper understanding of the rules. Your audience may feel less involved if your SPIFF incentive programs are too short. The impact of the program may not meet your intended expectation. Similarly, a long SPIFF sales program may also cause entitlement or burnout among participants.

The appropriate duration to run SPIFF sales programs is less than three months max. Heads of sales should also avoid running over two SPIFF incentives programs annually to prevent burnout and entitlement mentality among their audience. It is also advisable to avoid SPIFF programs with annual cycles, and it is not wise to start or end a year with SPIFF incentive programs. Instead, you should have a short build-up time, but that doesn’t mean you should skip promotions.

Step 6: Plan your budget

If you want to set the best SPIFF program, you should consider setting your budget between 3 to 7% of the total program. The amount of money you are allocating for this program depends on the level of importance you place on achieving your sales SPIFF programs’ goals compared to other incentives you have in the mix. Your primary focus should be on optimizing your total incentive budget without neglecting your overall objective.

Step 7: Develop proper guidelines for your SPIFF incentive programs

If you have proper guidelines for your SPIFF sales program, you may have a higher chance of meeting your end goal. When setting your SPIFF program guidelines, you should consider factors such as participant eligibility, reward collection, payment and approval process, and the available support for the program.

It is also advisable for sales directors to set the end and start dates for submitting claims and the expected duration of the program. Your SPIFF program management team can prepare these guidelines. Your guidelines should be concise and clear to avoid frustration and confusion, which is the norm in most poorly organized SPIFF programs.

Step 8: Measure your success

One of the most critical aspects of achieving success in your sales SPIFF program is to measure your success in line with your primary objective. To achieve this, a VP of sales ensures that they carry out the implementation of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) associated with the program. The most vital KPI to consider is your return on investment. Find out the cost of implementing the program and weigh it with what you achieved after implementing it.

Ensure that you tie this comparison to your budget and goal. Measuring your success should also come while running the program and not just at the conclusion phase. Your KPI should also provide a way for you to measure the level of engagement of your audience and how the SPIFF program influences the way people view your brand. Another KPI to consider is submitting and processing claims, and the time it took for winners to get their rewards.

Start using SPIFF programs to increase your sales now!

How to Improve Channel Sales Using SPIFF Programs in 2021

SPIFF programs have evolved in 2021 due to changes in business policies and technological improvement. It is advisable for heads of sales, sales directors and VPs of sales to follow the trend and ensure that they follow the SPIFF program best practices that may help them have a successful execution of their SPIFF program. Consider factors such as claim processing, auditing, submission, timeline, and other vital factors when carrying out SPIFF sales programs. Finally, do not forget to measure the program’s performance in line with your set out goals. Start implementing efficient SPIFF programs now – contact Online Rewards experts to learn more.



Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on email


Online Rewards is a highly versatile and powerful incentive and loyalty marketing solutions provider.  Since its formation in 2002, Online Rewards has designed, developed, and supported global rewards and incentives programs across a variety of industries and applications.

For more information, visit


Interested in seeing how Online Rewards can help take your customer loyalty and reward fulfillment to the next level? Complete the form to schedule a tour with an expert for a quick and comprehensive overview of our platform.

Contact Us

I would like to receive updates on service offerings, industry news, events and best practices from Online Rewards.