Perspectives, Trends & News

How sales incentives can grow your business

on Thu Mar 03 2023
  • News

Sales incentives are a time-tested practice. A voucher, cash bonus, company lunch or a gift basket are all ways for a company to show its employees they value the work they’re putting in. Some view it as fair compensation for a job well done, while others see it as an unfair bonus, or simply a waste of money. We’re here to talk about what sales incentives are, the benefits and potential weaknesses of providing them, as well as what they can do for your business. 

What is a sales incentive?

Simply put, a sales incentive is a bonus (in one of many forms) given to an employee when they reach a milestone. A commonly seen form of this is a commission for sales reps, where they are paid a base salary, and any sales they make earn a bonus (or commission) on top of this. Sales incentives can take monetary forms, like cash or a physical or digital gift card, experiential, like a ticket to the movies, or award based, such as an ‘employee of the month' system.

The draw is obvious – the more you sell, the more you make. From the business end, sales incentives drive up productivity and revenue, which can be balanced against income to provide an overall net gain. 

Do employee incentives work?

The truth is that employees’ jobs are to sell to customers, and motivating sales incentives encourage them to do this job efficiently and with enthusiasm. It should never serve to be the primary motivator for your sales force. Of course, there are bad eggs, but there are checks and balances that can be put in place to ensure that your sales incentives are honest and serve to make the employee and customer experience more enjoyable.

But you already pay your employees, why should you be giving them even more? What good will that do?

Motivate high-performing staff

Sales incentives are an old tactic – and there’s a good reason for that. The Incentive Research Foundation found that a well-organised incentive program could increase the performance of employees by up to 44%. People like to be rewarded for hard work, and it makes them want to work even harder.

Many prospective employees also factor sales incentives into their choice of workplace. In this time when so many positions are sitting vacant, it can be difficult to find people to fill roles. Taking every edge you can get to gain and retain employees is worthwhile in the long run. 

With 39% of employees feeling underappreciated at work, that’s a lot of grumpy, grouchy and overall unhappy salespeople who are interacting with your customers and giving them standard or subpar service, rather than the stellar quality you’d rather be seeing.

There is a bleed-over effect from employee satisfaction to customer retention too. If there is a positive employee attitude, 41% of customers remain loyal to a brand, while 68% are deterred from brands when the employees have negative attitudes. 

What is the most effective form of incentive?

As we’ve mentioned, there are a few forms that sales incentives can take – monetary, experiential and awards based. But it can be hard to know what way is best to incentivise your team. 

Award-based incentives, such as an employee of the month program, and annual awards show with categories like ‘most sales’ or ‘rising star’ can be effective. One survey shows that 50% of sales reps prefer a solely award-based incentive. It’s definitely a cost-effective option from a business standpoint, with a framed photo being a quite low-cost option. 

Of course, it’s important to know your employees’ personalities and motivations on an individual level to determine if this will work. A group with a healthy competitive streak may not find a simple award to be motivating enough.

You may then turn to an experiential reward, such as a company dinner or an activity like minigolf to boost morale and sales. This can certainly be an effective strategy in certain environments. If your company is small and tight-knit, these dinners or activities are almost guaranteed to feel more like a group of friends and therefore avoid the awkwardness or tedium that comes from a larger-scale workplace event. Likewise, if you know that all of the employees being rewarded share a passion, like watching a sport, tickets to an upcoming game are likely to engage them and provide a genuine sense of enjoyment. There’s nothing worse than feeling pressured to engage in a workplace activity you have no interest in.

Ultimately, monetary rewards are a great way to go. We all remember the childhood excitement of getting cash for Christmas or a birthday and knowing we could use it for anything we wanted. A gift card taps into the same joy – flexibility and freedom. However, cash in hand may feel like an afterthought and quickly disappear into the family budget, which is where iGo comes in.

iGo is Australia’s leading source of promotion and rewards services, whether they be for customers, shareholders or employees. iGo pioneered the use of prepaid eftpos gift cards in Australia, a format that is now widely recognised and used.

They also offer a variety of rewards to go with whatever sales incentive strategy best suits your company. For an experiential approach, iGo offers movie ticket vouchers and gift cards for a plethora of businesses such as hot air ballooning or scuba diving. If you’re gunning for a monetary reward and would like something with an extra kick, iGo offers branded EFTPOS cards, so you can print a message, your logo or any other design onto the cards and make your employees feel extra special.

If you can see the benefits of sales incentives and how they could take your business to the next level, contact iGo today and start the process of energising your sales force and building a team that feels truly appreciated.