Non-Monetary Incentives to Motivate Your Sales Team

Feb 11, 2020
Author: Sujan Patel

Non-monetary incentives are a great way to motivate your sales team, reduce turnover, and ensure employee satisfaction. A company’s most valuable asset is its people. It’s something we all inherently know, but we pay lip service to it more than we actually take action on it. 

With growing remote work opportunities, salespeople have more options than ever. Turnover is on the rise and human resources are more valuable – and more costly to replace – than ever. Hiring costs, onboarding and training, and the cost of unfilled roles can add up fast. 

One of the best ways to stay ahead of the turnover trend is to offer incentives for salespeople to stick around–and that doesn’t always mean a higher commission. Non monetary methods of motivating the sales person can be just as effective.

Here are some incentive ideas for sales teams you can use to keep your reps motivated and engaged.

Incentives for Sales Reps: Food and Refreshments

Who doesn’t love and appreciate free food and drink? As a society, we’re obsessed with food. All our social gatherings revolve around it – think family dinners, BBQs, and Sunday brunches. Even when we’re not consuming it, we’re thinking about it.

A recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 32% of companies provided free snacks and beverages in 2018, which is up from 20% in 2014. With free food trending across offices, it’s a no-brainer to keep up with the times and treat your sales staff from time to time. Free food can easily be taken for granted, so try to tie it to some sort of celebration or accomplishment.

For example, create a Champion’s Dinner for the exceptional sales reps that hit their quarterly numbers. Make it a fine dining experience that wows them and incentivizes them to keep hitting their numbers. If your budget is tighter, consider a lunch with the CEO as a prize for the highest producing sales rep each quarter. Whatever you do, make it worthwhile and exciting to invoke the competitive nature of your sales staff.

Motivate Your Sales Team with Time Off

According to a recent survey, nearly half of HR leaders say employee burnout is responsible for up to 50% of their annual workforce turnover. That’s a figure you shouldn’t take lightly and one that’s totally solvable. You can start today by offering extra days off around the holidays for those that hit their quota. Or a PTO day off the books if they hit their numbers this month.

Work-life balance should be highly encouraged, and so should taking vacations and making time to have fun. Invite them to take a break and get their creative juices flowing by offering some fun amenities in the office like ping-pong tables, basketball hoops, and pool tables.

Consider hosting an annual sales trip for the top-performing sales reps while you’re at it – all-expenses-paid travel is a great way to motivate employees, especially when it’s exclusive.  Hit the slopes in Whistler or soak up the sun in Turks and Caicos. Find something that fits your budget and, again, make it exceptional. It should be something they look forward to and fight to make a reality each year.

Creative Sales Team Incentives: Awards and Shoutouts

Free stuff is a consistent crowd-pleaser. It’s simple, effective, and something everyone can rally behind. Starting a sales contest is as easy as setting a goal and coming up with some valuable prizes people can get for hitting the goals you set.

You can go as simple as gift cards (many stores offer bulk gift card discounts) and household items like high-end coffee makers. Or you could go the high-tech route with smartwatches, tablets, or wireless speaker systems. Experiences also make great prizes, such as tickets to concerts, sporting events, festivals, or even movie tickets. Take it to another level by providing recurring memberships to local gyms, wine clubs, or spas. It’s not uncommon for top sales reps to even get preferred parking. Get creative here.

If you’re looking for something less flashy, public praise is another great option. A mass email from you or an executive praising them to the department (or the entire company) can be a moment they never forget. Sometimes even a quick Slack message from the CEO or department director recognizing their contribution can make somebody’s day.

Flexibility and Opportunities

For some people, it’s not about gadgets, trips, or public praise. It’s about respect, greater flexibility, and autonomy. It’s about finding even more opportunities to excel at their job.

Consider letting your team members set their own hours if they hit their sales goals. A reward like that costs you nothing but goes a long way in bolstering an employee’s satisfaction and loyalty. As long as they hit their numbers, it shouldn’t matter if they’re in the office during specific hours. You could take it a step further and even let them work remotely on certain days.

If letting people set their own hours or work remotely isn’t an option, consider implementing this idea on a smaller scale, such as rewarding people with a half-day on Friday. For some people, cutting out early while their peers are stuck dialing and emailing is the ultimate motivation.

Lastly, some people are motivated solely by advancement opportunities. Your company likely has new initiates for the upcoming year or decade. Bring those top performers into the fold and get them involved by letting them drive projects, run meetings, or give company presentations. Get them the exposure and recognition they crave. It’s a win-win for everyone.

You can also offer professional development opportunities for your top performers. The best-performing sales organizations are twice as likely to provide ongoing training as low-performing ones. Get them tickets to growth conferences, advanced selling seminars, or weekend workshops where they can level up their skills.

In today’s climate, companies have to be more strategic regarding employee retention. Employees are simply humans who happen to be at work – and those humans have needs, desires, and most importantly, options.

Create a rewarding culture. One that enables growth and recognizes your employee’s impact. Motivating your sales team with non-monetary incentives like travel perks, prizes, or leadership opportunities is one such way. In the end, you have to keep innovating to stay ahead of the market trends and solidify your company’s long-term investment in its people.

How else are you motivating your sales staff in a non-monetary way?

Sujan Patel is a partner at Ramp Ventures & co-founder of Mailshake. He has over 15 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit, and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.

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