8 Non-Financial Sales Incentives to Motivate Your Sales Team
Sales is a money-driven industry. There’s no getting around the fact that commission and bonuses are almost everything to your average sales rep.
Yet other benefits and work perks are more important than we often assume when it comes to incentivizing staff.
In fact, 80% of Americans would choose a job with benefits over an identical job with 30% more salary but no benefits.
So how can you harness non-financial incentives to motivate your sales team?
Generally speaking, the best way to motivate your team is to really get to know them. This will make it easier to decide which non-financial benefits to make available to your team – and how to reward them individually.
For instance, you might drive up productivity from one sales rep by promising them amazing seats at the big Yankees game if they hit their target. Another team member might be more motivated by a ticket to a Broadway show.
That said, there are some unifying benefits – hardly anyone is going to turn down extra vacation time, for example. With all that in mind, here are some of the most popular and effective non-financial sales incentives to consider:
Listen up: 96% of all workers say travel incentives are important to them. What’s more, almost three-quarters claim they felt increased loyalty due to travel-based incentives.
Despite this, American companies notoriously offer significantly fewer paid vacation days than those in other countries.
Employees in Brazil, for example, get an average 30 days vacation time per year, while US citizens working in the private sector are granted an average of just ten days of paid vacation after one year of working for a business. And that’s just those who actually get paid vacation days – only 76% of private industry workers do.
Businesses can use this to their advantage by offering workers more of these coveted vacation days – whether to attract top talent or to improve performance.
Awards can be an incredibly cost-effective way to motivate your sales team, but the tricky thing here is legitimizing your awards system. It’s imperative that your sales reps actually want to win.
One way to do this is to run the same awards scheme every month to ensure it gains credibility. This adds a competitive element too – salespeople are by nature competitive and won’t sit back and watch the same person sweep the deck every month.
Consider rewarding the person with the highest win rate, the one who brought in the most revenue, or the one who went the extra mile for a client – or all of the above.
If your budget allows for it, include a prize with the award for an added incentive. This could be a gift card, events tickets, or an experience day. Make sure you outline what the prize is going to be at the beginning of the month so the team knows what they’re striving for.
If there’s no budget for prizes, recognition can be enough on its own. Amplify the news of each month’s winner throughout the company, focusing specifically on senior management. Keep visible records of who won each month in the office – this will keep the awards front of mind.
Remote Working Days
Remote working days are a common – and effective – way to reward salespeople.
Consider offering your highest performer of each month a couple of remote working days when they don’t have any face-to-face client meetings. If your setup allows for it, they could even work from a vacation destination on these days (maybe even adding them onto a vacation or a long weekend spent somewhere relaxing).
You’ll up their vacation time without actually losing any team productivity as, on average, employees are 13% more productive when working from home.
Recognition from Senior Management
You work with your team day in, day out. And while your praise is essential to your salespeople’s success, it only goes so far.
This is why it’s important to rope in other members of senior management when your team needs additional motivation.
We’ve all seen that flush of pride when a young team member is praised by a director or CEO. Make it your personal mission to make that happen more.
Demonstrating that the most senior members of staff care about the sales team will boost productivity, and it should also boost morale. Who doesn’t want a proud high-five or glowing email from their director?
Action this by sending your sales figures to all senior managers and directors, and encourage them to acknowledge the top performers and rising stars, whether face-to-face, by email, or – best of all – in company meetings.
This approach can be used in conjunction with your monthly awards for even better results.
Team Social Events
When it’s the team that you want to reward, rather than a specific individual, there’s no better way than getting everyone together to let their hair down.
Social events are essential for team bonding and building camaraderie. This could be an office party, a swanky dinner, or simply some money left behind the bar at your neighborhood hangout.
That said, it’s important to think about what every member of the team enjoys doing in their spare time, so that no one is left feeling alienated. If most of your team aren’t big drinkers, limit the number of social events you host in a bar setting. If any team members struggle with mobility or physical health issues, make sure events are planned with them in mind.
Set a target for each month – make it super visible in the office – and let the team know what they’ll be treated to for surpassing it. Or even better, let them take it in turns to plan a fun games night, or an afternoon hiking, or an expensive dinner. They deserve it!
There are few better ways to incentivize staff than to offer them opportunities to climb the career ladder. More money, more responsibility, more status – what’s not to like?
Using leadership opportunities as rewards can be tricky, timing-wise, but it’s not impossible. If there aren’t open leadership opportunities within your department when you need them, get creative.
Hand over one or two of your own responsibilities to high performers on the team. This might involve giving them a section of your sales meetings to run, or asking them to train new members of the team.
Just make it clear you’re giving them extra responsibility because you’re impressed with the job they’re doing – and be prepared to give them a pay bump.
Failing to meet either of these two rules may make it seem as if you’re asking them to do more work for the same salary. Far from seeming like a reward for good work, this could have the opposite impact to what you intended. Positioning this type of reward right is everything.
Make sure you emphasize that by taking on more leadership responsibility now, they’re adding to their resume and being primed for the moment a true leadership role opens up. Get them to buy into your vision of their potential as a leader for best results.
Offer your top performers flexibility not afforded to other members of the team. This demonstrates you trust them, while also making their lives a little easier.
For example, you could give them the option to have a remote working day each week – to work nine hours one day and six the next – or the ability to leave an hour early on a Friday, as long as their week’s work is done.
Offering flexibility shows you trust them to do a great job and that you’re willing to reward that trust with greater autonomy. This can be especially impactful for team members with long rush-hour commutes or extended weekend travel plans in mind.
Finally, get your hands on the hottest sports or music tickets available, and then empower your sales team to win them through their achievements.
As noted earlier, it’s important to consider the interests and hobbies of your individual team members when deciding which tickets to go for. To make this work, you’ll need to really get to really know your sales reps. Ask them which upcoming events they’d love to attend, or add a bit of fun to the proceedings by asking them to vote from a shortlist of options.
Unveil which tickets you’ve secured at the beginning of each month, define exactly how your team can win them, and let the competition commence.
How do you motivate your sales team? Do you believe financial incentives are the be all and end all, or have you seen positive effects from non-financial perks? Share your experiences in the comments below: