How to Make Sure Sales Incentives Aren’t Bribes

An effective sales incentive program shouldn’t be a mere carrot-and-stick approach. Your sales incentives should motivate your salespeople to pursue personal goals and growth as well as the long-term goals of your business.

If you’re struggling with how to frame your sales incentive program in a way that doesn’t feel like bribery, remember that there should be a difference between “earning a reward” and being “given a prize.” You need to make sure that when rewarding salespeople, you’re doing it for the right reasons.

sales incentives not bribes

  • Don’t reward them for what they’re already doing.

    You should never have to resort to sales incentives as a way of coaxing average behavior from your sales team. Plus, rewarding salespeople for doing merely what is expected of them will make them less motivated to push themselves.

  • Don’t use cash rewards.

    Never underestimate the power of trophy value. A participant is much more likely to talk about the shiny new golf clubs or luxurious vacation they redeemed than a simple, forgettable cash reward.

  • Make sales rewards personal.

    Remember that it’s not all about numbers and exceeding sales goals. It’s just as important to reward your salespeople for personal achievements and growth. It lets them know that you’re invested in them as a person and not merely as a sales generator.

  • Show them how their behaviors help the company reach business goals.

    Visual cues can go a long way in subconsciously motivating your sales team. Sending out quarterly emails with charts and graphs showing how their behavior is positively affecting sales goals is a great way to show them that their work is making a difference. You could even consider putting out a physical chart with revenue goal progress somewhere in your office, like the breakroom. Updating it in real-time can be exciting for your salespeople and foster team spirit.