On this episode of Sales Management Mastery, on our continuing series of motivating and leading your sales team in a recession, we’ll tell you 5 proven sales rewards programs that work to motivate your sales team especially that one sales person that is motivated by rewards and prizes.

A few episodes ago, we talked about the type of sales person that is motivated primarily by prizes, rewards and incentives. Rewards and incentives are one of the most overused motivational strategies of business as well as by sales managers, in general.

In fact, if you go and look up the word “rewards” on Google you’ll get about 7 or 8 million searches. It is a fairly well searched term because sales managers and business owners are always looking for ways to better motivate their sales people and what easier way to do it than to do some sort of sales contest or sales award program.

This is one of the easiest strategies to use to motivate sales people but it is also one of the least effective because sales people are very adept to manipulating sales rewards programs as well as they only give you a short term gain in sales and don’t produce sustained motivation over the long haul.

But we do advocate, at Sales Management Mastery, using awards and rewards as a component to intermingle as a part of your overall strategy especially when you are motivating that specific subset of your sales people that are primarily motivated by rewards. As we talked about in previous show, we have a whole questionnaire that you can go through to determine which motivations your sales people possess and specifically how you can motivate them using those motivations inside the Sales Academy for our paid members.

Today we are going to talk about reward strategies and prizes that work not only for that subset of your sales people that are motivated by rewards but also it does help to give a short term boost and raise morale and give motivational incentives to all of your sales people.

As we had discussed, if you have about 10 sales people, there will be 1 sales person that will be motivated by rewards, prizes, and contests.

As I look back into my Sales Management career I think of all of the teams that I had, and this was the case. There usually is one person that is motivated by contests. And you have to find out which person that is and use these strategies for your group. You should also have a subset strategy specifically tailored for that sales person that you find is motivated by contests, rewards, and prizes.
We are going to give you 5 effective reward systems that can be used for the entire sales team.

1. Initiate intermittent and unpublished rewards. These are the types of rewards that come out of left field, people are not expecting them. It is a very effective sales motivation technique. For example, if you are holding a sales meeting, most sales managers hold monthly or weekly sales meetings, try catching your sales people by surprise. Let’s say that in one particular quarter most of your sales people are doing particularly well. Or, maybe they are well below quota and now they are making significant progress at getting to quota, maybe they are not over 100%, but they have shown specific progress that you want to reward. In that case, a great thing to do is to just give prizes out at a sales meeting. As you walk into the meeting, to their unexpected surprise, you have some sort of prize for each one of them at their chair. Perhaps instead of your typical sales pitch, maybe you show some cool video, or you take them all out to lunch. Do something that is unexpected that is different from what you typically do. If your sales meeting typically starts out with a power point presentation, then you go into sharing of best practices, then you go into individual presentations, maybe spice things up a bit. Say, “hey today we are not going to do our break out session, instead we are all going to go across he street and have lunch”. Or maybe cut out early and go have a drink at the bar across the street. It is a reward that they don’t expect, it’s intermittent and it keeps them on their toes. It is a very effective, short term motivation booster.

2. Provide your top performers an audience for their brilliance. Have one of your sales reps stand in front of the entire sales group and recount some funny anecdote or something that you thought was particularly brilliant. Maybe there is something that you had seen on the sales floor, or something that you had overhead in a conversation that highlights their brilliance. You have to do this with somebody who enjoys speaking in public and who doesn’t mind being in the spotlight and getting some prestige and praise. Completing the motivational profile will help you because you will then be able to pick out what people who are in this profile. Let’s say that you have a top sales person that has a funny story with how the sale came together. I did this once with one of my sales people. It was a great way to highlight how this person was doing well, it was a funny story and it was also a story that a lot of people could learn from. Not only are you rewarding the sales person for their brilliance, you are giving them a forum to display their brilliance, but you are also throwing in some fun. Having some fun is a good tool to use at a sales meeting, which we as sales managers don’t do enough of. We have taken surveys of sales people and found that one of the things that motivates’ sales people most is having a lot of fun. Prizes and reward strategies play into the “fun” component in a relative way. If you give the sales person an audience for their brilliance, you are not only rewarding them, but you also are having fun. You are achieving several components of motivation just by giving this person some glory.

3. A great way to use sales rewards and contests is to group divide a year end sales goal into distinct steps that are rewarded by a group achievement. For example, with one of the sales teams that I had, we were absolutely crushing it with one of the products we had. Every time they sold this product they would make $25. It was a very good incentive considering the product was only $100; 25% was going directly to the sales person. It was a short term incentive by the company to promote one particular product. You can advocate for that at your company. There’s a great strategy right there, highly incentivize people. Nonetheless, this was a product that everyone was really starting to do really well with. I realized that there was an opportunity to blow out our quota. So I group divided our sales goal, and I said to each of the ten in the group, “If each one of us is over 102% over our goal for each quarter of this year, then each one of you will get a bottle of champagne at the end of the quarter”. They all like champagne and I knew that this was something that would really motivate them. I had a good feel for the tenor of the group. For each quarter, if they were above 102% they would all get a bottle of champagne. Furthermore, I added that if we, as a group, were over the 102% for the entire year, then that 4th quarter they would get a bottle of Dom Perignon, which is a very expensive bottle of champagne. I actually put a bottle of champagne down on the table and said, “Here is our incentive for the year!” It was an effective way to rally everyone around a common cause. Sometimes your sales people start to fight against each other, but in this way you had a group objective; in which everyone was incentivized with this reward, every single quarter, to be successful. It created team spirit in a group of 10 sales people who previously didn’t have much unity. I did it for two purposes, to create more of a team atmosphere, and secondly to help the ones that were lagging a bit. We did miss our second quarter, there was one person who was dragging us down, but she did move on to another organization. She could’ve ended up being a scapegoat, but fortunately for us she did move along so then her territory was not counted to the goal. What happened was that we hit it goal for every quarter, with the exception of the second quarter, and everyone got a bottle of champagne. It was a tremendously effective way to use an incentive to rally the troops. Think of something that you could use with your sales team to produce the same sort of effect.

4. Select individual rewards for sales reps that have achieved outstanding results with a unique reward that only they would enjoy. One of my sales people that I had was a tremendous eater, he loved to eat. Every time that we would go out to dinner or lunch, he would order double portions of some food, and would finish everything. He did love to eat, but he was stick thin and in great shape. His territory was really struggling. I told him at the beginning of the year, and I proposed that if he made President’s Club, I will take you out to the best steak house at the nicest restaurant in town. All year long, he and I talked about this dinner that we were going to have at the end of the year. Sure enough, he did win Presidents Club and I took him out to an $800 dinner at the finest steak house in the area. It was a great way to motivate him, not only was he motivated by money and achievement, but he was motivated by the contest and this reward incentive that I had put down for him at the beginning of the year.

5. Game-like formats at sales meetings. This is an effective way to have fun at a meeting. I don’t know if any of you do this, but I would suggest that you do. If you can tie in game style format, like Product knowledge Jeopardy or product knowledge Price Is Right with lottery cards as incentives for the winning team. Just something to spark interest and have some fun. I wasn’t a big proponent of this style of leadership, but I did try it and people really enjoyed it. Everyone on the team had fun and it and it created a competitive type atmosphere and forced people to hone up on their skills. I told them ahead of time to study up so that they were well prepared when we had the contest. It served a bunch of purposes.

These are five separate strategies that you can use to motivate your sales team.

Just to review:

1. Initiate intermittent, unpublished rewards
2. Provide top performers with an audience for their brilliance
3 Group divide year end goals into distinct steps with rewards at the end for the entire group
4. Select individual rewards for individual sales reps based upon their interests
5. Use game like formats at sales meetings for product knowledge Jeopardy and some kind of cool incentive like money or a lottery card. So that you can motivate them and create some enthusiasm and fun while enhancing product knowledge.

Those are our 5 proven sales rewards programs that work to motivate your sales team.

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