Business Incentives as a Sales Development Strategy
Employers typically compensate their salespeople with base salaries, commissions, and bonuses. They give a quota, generally a sales target like revenue or volume. In return, salespeople look for prospects, book appointments, give presentations, send proposals, and close deals. Yet, the sales process these days is not as straightforward anymore. Gone are the days when salespeople controlled the entire cycle.
Clients consider other factors such as customer experience. They consume educational content like webinars, whitepapers, and videos before deciding on purchases. Solutions have become more complex, requiring product specialists or technical experts to assist frontline sales reps. The buying process takes a lot longer as prospects evaluate multiple alternatives. Digital channels, inbound agents, and even AI chatbots compete with salespeople for revenue generation.
Companies should have a new sales development strategy for this more complicated sales environment. And a business incentives program plays a crucial role, going beyond the standard incentives plan of commissions and bonuses.
Business Incentives Program
A business or sales incentive program motivates and rewards salespeople when they reach or exceed their goals. However, the objectives are not limited to quantifiable output such as revenue. Because of the complex sales process with multiple channels and influencing factors that lead to a sale, goals should also be tied to specific behaviors or activities.
Frontline sales reps are no longer the only ones presenting to clients and managing the customer relationship. Product specialists, solutions architects, and business consultants explain to customers the more technical aspects of a product or its implementation requirements. Customer care specialists give aftersales support, contributing to client retention.
Instrumental employees who acquire and keep customers should be rewarded with the sales rep. One way is to reward them with a shared bonus or other sales incentives based on team effort.
Specific deals require more than one salesperson to close. Maybe it is a global client with decision-makers or purchase influencers from different geographies. Different salespeople or teams will need to work together to seal the deal.
In cases of team-based selling, employers can divide incentives according to agreed-upon parameters. These could be based on individual contribution or effort, with the sharing of commissions and other incentives.
Long, extended sales cycles are becoming more common. It is challenging to motivate sales reps if it takes a year or more for customers to sign deals. Even after several months of working with prospects and leads, a sale is not guaranteed.
One way to compensate salespeople is to reward them for effort and progress. Activity-based selling focuses on controllable steps or actions that lead to a sale. Giving small, near-term incentives rewards the correct behavior and motivates people in long sales cycles. Then, they get the big payoff once they close a deal.
There are many channels that customers go to that move them towards buying. They might search online, watch a webinar, download a whitepaper, interact with an AI chatbot, or call a hotline. Not a single channel involves a sales rep. No wonder these channels can be viewed as competition, even a threat.
If a customer decides to buy without the participation of a salesperson, then the teams responsible for the channels that led to the sale should be rewarded. However, if sales reps are involved in the process, whether by following up on the lead or ultimately closing the deal, they must be given credit and rewarded accordingly.
Types of Sales Incentives
Sales incentives are not always in cash form. Companies can give non-monetary rewards for their sales development strategy. These are examples of incentives you can offer in your business incentives program:
These are the traditional rewards in the form of cash bonuses given to individual sales reps or a team. Sales incentives are not part of their standard compensation package.
While cash bonuses are appreciated, salespeople often view them as part of their standard compensation and just another transaction. On the other hand, non-monetary incentives feel like a true reward. They offer a tangible experience that they can enjoy, not just numbers in their bank account. As a result, non-cash incentives feel personal and relevant. These rewards can be fun and exciting.
Examples of non-cash incentives are:
- Gift cards. You can give a gift card or voucher to an expensive restaurant or upmarket retailer. Make sure it is valuable and meaningful to resonate with them emotionally.
- Tickets. These can be tickets to a concert, sports event, movie, festival, or theme park. If you can, give unique or exclusive access. As long as the event matches their interest, they will be viewed as a thrill to have.
- Travel. Who doesn’t like a free trip? The actual and perceived value for a vacation is high, making it much sought-after. You can offer an all-expenses-paid trip. But even free airfare or free hotel stays will be appreciated.
- Gadgets. People love electronics, such as phones, tablets, game consoles, headphones, and tech accessories.
- Training. This may not sound exciting, but those who love learning and developing their skills will be motivated to access certification courses, popular conferences, and practical sales training.
Offer Sales Incentives
A sales development strategy is essential in motivating your salespeople and employees who play a critical role in your sales funnel. Offering business incentives should be a priority. Through cash and non-cash rewards, sales incentives will boost team morale and encourage collaboration. It will increase their productivity and job satisfaction, contributing to sales growth and an improved bottom line.
One way to offer business incentives to encourage positive behaviors is by awarding your employees with points that can be accumulated and spent in an online catalog. To find out how, visit MyPointRewards, an online software platform designed for you to use rewards as incentives for employees, channel partners, and sales reps.
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