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Need an Effective Sales

Aug 07, 2017

Written by: Tricia Mikolai
(View Author Bio)

You’re a sales leader who has just decided that you need to put a sales incentive in place. You’d like to launch it ASAP – maybe even today.

What doesn’t work

The easiest and fastest way to set this up is to tell your team that:

  1. They need to put in extra effort over the next 30 days
  2. At the end of the month, the top 10% will win
  3. They’ll each get a $100 cash bonus.

Why it fails

While it’s easy on you, it doesn’t actually incentivise most of your team. And, if you aren’t engaging everyone, you’re missing out on about 80% of the incremental revenue you could be getting. Why?

  1. If only the top 10% of people get rewarded
  2. I already know who is going to win, and it’s not me
  3. Cash bonuses aren’t personal, memorable or separated from normal pay in a participant’s mind.

What you should do

This takes a little bit more effort on your part, but you can still get it launched in a day or so.

  1. Give everyone a chance to earn
    1. Sell $X more than last month, earn Y
    2. Sell # more units than your average last quarter, earn Z
    3. Grow your sales by 3% over your baseline, earn W
  2. Keep the incentive top-of-mind
    1. Send an email every couple of days
    2. Include progress if possible
    3. Include a leader board
  3. Use tangible rewards
    1. Use a choice of non-cash merchandise or award points
    2. Don’t associate the effort with a dollar value
    3. Focus on the emotional aspect of the award so that it inspires imagination and ties the item to your brand in the participant’s memory.


The incentive structure doesn’t have to be complex, the awards don’t have to be expensive and the communications don’t have to be professionally designed. What’s motivating about a “do this – get that” structure like this is the way it gets everyone’s attention. From a participant point of view, it’s easy to understand, easy to maintain focus and gives me a chance to actually earn recognition based on my own efforts (as opposed to being compared to someone else).

For more information on setting up this and other effective incentives, contact us today.

Tricia Mikolai

Managing Director BI WORLDWIDE - Oceania

Tricia Mikolai is the Managing Director of BI WORLDWIDE – Oceania region. With almost a decade of experience in behaviour change programs, Tricia is 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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