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Motivate Your Sales Team with a Strong 2018 Sales Incentive Strategy

Oct 02, 2017

Written by: Tricia Mikolai
(View Author Bio)

By the time you read this, there will be less than 60 business days left in the 2017 calendar year. I’m sure you’re already being asked how you’re going to achieve more in 2018. Well, are you going to do the same as this year? Hope for the best? Or, are you interested in trying something new?

A new strategic way of thinking

Here are the facts:

  • 47% say they aren’t motivated by their managers
  • 50% of salespeople say they’re bored
  • 67% don’t achieve their individual targets

It doesn’t sound like these are the kind of salespeople we’d intentionally go out and hire. Yet they’re on our teams, so what do we do with them?

It may sound counter-intuitive, but the answer is 'tactical incentives'. Salespeople can be high-maintenance, they need attention and they crave praise. Using bonuses or STIs aren’t going to change behaviour – they take too long to earn, and cash doesn’t have long-term effects.

If you want to see immediate incremental results that build into long-lasting behavioural change, plan a series of 30 to 90-day sales incentives. Each one will capture your sales team’s mindshare, make them focus and drive their goal setting. Where to

Where to start

Look at a clean 2018 calendar and plot out your major events, product launches, customer campaigns, seasonal swings… and then do the same for your competitors. You’ll quickly identify when you need to concentrate your sales team’s energies and motivate them to take action.

You’ll find there are two, three or four periods in the year when you know staying on target will be a challenge. Pick out one metric to measure, give everyone a target to achieve or a baseline to exceed and then reward them for their individual performance. Built correctly, these tactical incentives will pay for themselves with incremental sales.

Having short-term goals keeps your salespeople motivated

They don’t get disengaged partway through the year knowing they’re not one of the top achievers.

Multiple recognition opportunities are far from boring

Salespeople get something new to focus on while the communications and rewards keep them emotionally engaged with the goals.

Tactical incentives drive incremental sales

You’ll get more effort from the biggest segment of your team – the middle 60% – bringing in double that of just your top 20%.

For ideas on how to structure tactical sales incentives, check out:




Tricia Mikolai

Tricia Mikolai

Former Managing Director

Tricia Mikolai served as Managing Director of BI WORLDWIDE's Oceania region. With almost a decade of experience in behaviour change programs, Tricia was responsible for leading multiple successful initiatives to help Fortune 1000 companies drive performance improvement. She is committed to sharing her knowledge and experience with business leaders to help them drive and sustain business results.

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