January 24 by Pamela Walker-Cleary

Sales Incentives are like carrots on a stick

In order to drive revenue and growth, business leaders in organizations set strategic goals and objectives for their workforce. To meet these objectives, companies utilize elements such as competitive compensation plans, sales contests, spiffs, non-cash incentives such as badges and prizes, and job security to drive performance. It’s not surprising that many of these organizations are not satisfied with their results. 48% of companies are not satisfied with their compensation plans, 61% are not satisfied with the sales productivity, and 66% are dissatisfied with their incentive programs . So how do you really drive behavior?

The key to motivating your sales force is understanding what drives people to do what they do, behavioral psychology. One of the first steps is to gain an understanding of your performance curve. The shape of your performance curve indicates the types of incentive plans to use for different categories of your salespeople; stars, average performers, and under performers

Sales Incentives Curve

Incentive Compensation Solution Mechanisms

When we understand what drives the behavior of our workforce we can utilize different mechanisms to influence behavior to meet business goals and objectives. These mechanisms are embodied in incentive compensation applications. Incentive Compensation applications include behavior modification engines that enable organizations to align strategic goals with the performance of their salesforce and achieve winning outcomes.

For the sales force it includes:

    • • Intelligent and timely commission reporting to reduce shadow accounting and increase selling time.


    • • The ability to estimate potential future commission or bonus during the Quote to Cash process – Driving sales strategy by providing an estimator to help prioritize deals based on actual current compensation plan attainment and earnings.


    • Social collaboration which can be used for working deals, communicating compensation plan information, team communication, etc.

For sales managers it includes:

    • • A direct line of sight to current attainment and pay for their directs – when their directs succeed the manager succeeds, both financially and otherwise.


    • Methods to help their direct reports retention, growth, and behavior through coaching managing sales activities, training, and gamification (which may include elements of activities, training, CRM Adoption, mentoring, etc.)

Automating your incentive processes can help you gain the knowledge to drive performance for different categories of salespeople within your organization. Automation provides you with the flexibility and agility to roll out different incentive plans more frequently. Just as importantly, it provides the ability to analyze incentive plan results which provides you with the understanding to drive desired outcomes.

Learn about the 7 Common Pitfalls That Derail Sales Incentives Programs [Infographic].
7 pitfalls of incentive programs

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