Sales Incentive Ideas to Motivate and Engage Your Team

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 12, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Sales can be a demanding career, so it's helpful to have methods to keep staff motivated and interested. Many sales managers and team leaders devise incentive programs for recognizing when employees reach and surpass objectives. Regardless of the type of sales, whether it be retail, car sales, memberships, or something else, understanding how to use incentives can help you excel in this field. In this article, we discuss what a sales incentive is, explain when to use them, share a list of reward incentives to try, discuss the advantages of using rewards, and offer tips for a successful incentive program.

What is a sales incentive?

A sales incentive is compensation given to sales professionals by their employers for successfully selling a certain number of items or services. An incentive differs from commission, which sales professionals typically earn regularly in addition to their normal salary or an hourly wage. Instead, a sales incentive is an additional award to offer appreciation for surpassing expectations, accomplishing objectives, and contributing to an organization's overall success. An incentive might be monetary, physical, or experience-based.

Many businesses use incentive programs when their sales teams reach specified sales targets, such as selling a certain number of products or meeting a certain amount in sales revenue. Companies use incentive programs to encourage and engage their teams, resulting in increased productivity and effort to fulfil targets.

Related: 49 Sales Quotes That Can Inspire You to Boost Your Numbers

A list of incentive program ideas

Aside from monetary compensation, an incentive plan might offer alternative or additional options. Here are some examples of incentive programs you can consider:

Entertainment rewards

An outdoor activity or a unique entertainment event might be an excellent motivator. The following suggestions can help your team go outside and do something they enjoy:

  • festival or concert tickets

  • theme park admission

  • sporting event tickets

  • outdoor excursions, such as boating, fishing, or camping

  • museum or art gallery passes

  • comedy club admission

  • theatre or movies tickets

  • gift cards to restaurants

Related: What Are Psychological Factors of Motivation? (With Tips)

Physical prizes

Physical prizes are also a good motivator, especially if the award is something your team members can use daily. Consider products that help their workflow or personal ones they might appreciate at home:

  • wireless earbuds, tablets, smart watches, e-readers, and other technology

  • small household gadgets, such as coffee makers, blenders, air fryers, or pressure cookers

  • headphones with noise cancellation

  • standing desks, new monitors, new computers or phones

  • books

Professional and personal development rewards

Professional growth and lifelong learning are powerful motivators. For example, offering your sales team the option to engage in a course or development seminar allows them to learn new skills and collaborate on strategies to increase sales. The following are ideas to include in an incentive plan:

  • training or professional growth seminar, especially if it's in an exciting travel destination

  • online courses

  • team building activities

  • interest or hobby classes or courses

  • fitness and gym discounts or memberships

  • language lessons

Related: Examples of Extrinsic Motivation (With Types and Definition)

Monetary-based incentives

Monetary rewards are often a strong incentive. A good strategy for including monetary benefits is to offer an equal reward for the whole team, which ensures you recognize all team members. Monetary incentives can include:

  • gift cards or gift certificates (make sure they're for a store or service they use)

  • bonus payments over their regular compensation

  • cash rewards

Related: 6 Effective Ways to Maintain Motivation for Career Success

Experience-based rewards

Exploration and experience rewards are good incentive ideas. They allow employees to make memories and engage in meaningful activities. Consider some of the following ideas:

  • extra vacation or personal days

  • plane tickets or a subsidy for a personal vacation

  • a spa day or a discount on a relaxation retreat

  • expenses for a weekend hotel vacation

  • wine tasting events

  • a night out with the team

Related: 43 Motivational Quotes for Work and How to Inspire Your Team

Subscription box ideas

There are subscription boxes for virtually every taste or interest. Consider these incentives that cater to your team's hobbies and likes. They can be food or product based. Some ideas include:

  • weekly meal kit delivery

  • snack boxes

  • book boxes

  • beauty and skincare boxes

  • wine and beer club subscriptions

  • coffee and tea subscriptions

Advantages of using incentive programs

There are several key advantages of implementing an incentive plan, including:

Increased team productivity

A rewards system for consistently reaching or surpassing sales objectives or expectations may raise productivity. Sales teams gain new and important abilities as they work toward these objectives. Your team members can learn to cooperate better and boost their work performance with incentives.

Related: Intrinsic Motivation Examples (Plus Why It's Important)

Higher engagement levels

Incentives may increase your team's involvement in their role and the company culture. Setting team objectives that result in recognition and benefits for the whole sales team can increase participation in cooperative teamwork, planning, and implementing sales strategies. Incentives can also improve team morale and engage team members more in their jobs.

More job satisfaction

Incentives that acknowledge teamwork and accomplishment automatically increase your team's overall job satisfaction. Employees tend to respect their work if they believe their bosses recognize their efforts. This often leads to increased productivity and performance.

Related: What Is Power Motivation? (With Definition and Tips)

A boost in team collaboration

Increased team productivity, performance, and sales development can lead to an overall improvement in how your team works together. Providing incentives for the entire team, rather than offering a single award for individual results, can lead to a team-wide improvement effort. The team is more likely to acknowledge each other's efforts, identify novel solutions when issues arise, and adopt innovative methods to help the organization meet its overall sales targets.

Improved team morale

Teams are more likely to have a positive attitude in the workplace if they strengthen their collaborative efforts, raise their productivity, and feel recognized for their work. This improvement in team morale helps them accomplish meaningful work, reach targets, and bring value to the business. Content employees are more likely to support their teammates in achieving goals rather than focusing primarily on their own needs.

Related: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation: Which Is Best?

Tips for a successful incentive plan

When implementing an incentive program, create a rewards system relevant to the whole team, each team member, and the organization's overall financial outlook. Consider the following suggestions for a profitable and effective incentive plan:

Find out what motivates the team

Discover what inspires everyone on the team. Create a basic survey to learn what most of your team members appreciate, what they're interested in, and what inspires them. Find shared interests and motivators among your team members, and then explore these ideas with them. This can help you gather valuable input on what your team might value as an incentive. Then you can provide something meaningful to acknowledge your team's achievements.

Related: Motivation and Inspiration (Definition and Differences)

Set achievable team goals

Make the goals you establish for your sales team fair. You can set individual objectives to calculate an overall average for the entire team. Consider a car sales team as an example. Your aim might consist of each team member's sales amount, with a team objective that uses the average of these individual numbers. In this example, the team is working toward a common objective while developing their particular abilities to help them reach those goals.

Determine the plan metrics

Establish measurable criteria to alert you when your team has met its objectives. For example, this may be a daily sales figure quota, a weekly product quota, or another indicator you can analyze to evaluate success and performance. Ensure the measurements you choose are straightforward and not excessively complicated, so you can easily and quickly monitor performance and development.

Related: How to Improve and Maintain Sales Motivation (With Tips)

Combine monetary and non-monetary incentives

It's important to alternate between incentive ideas, especially with teams who have diverse interests and motivators. Try a different incentive each month or quarter so your team has a way to enjoy a range of incentives. For example, you can offer a team cash bonus for the first quarter, a local getaway for the second quarter, tickets to a concert during the third quarter, and another monetary reward in the fourth quarter. Switching between rewards is an excellent way to keep your team excited and engaged in their work.

Related: Complete Guide to Employee Incentives (With Examples)

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