Sales incentives: how to win sales and motivate people

It’s human nature to want to be motivated by rewards, praise and positive repercussions after successfully fulfilling a task such as meeting or exceeding a sales target. Good Sales Directors and Sales Managers know that a happy team is a more productive one, so they put a lot of thought into incentive ideas for salespeople to encourage them to go the extra mile.

sales incentives to make sales team work harder

Salespeople build up a great deal of knowledge and experience around sales incentive programmes and ways to gain recognition for their hard work. Often, the type and frequency of the sale incentives for a sales team is a compelling factor in choosing where to work.

Savvy companies know that, while financial incentives are popular, many successful salespeople are looking for more these days. Managers need to get to know their teams to ensure that they match their incentives to their individual team members’ motivations and lifestyle choices.

Here are some creative ideas for rewarding your salespeople this year, besides money, to help you hit your targets, get out of a downward slump or meet an ambitious business goal.

Incentives for sales teams

Out and about

theatre tickets

Time is money, so show your salesforce that you care about how they spend theirs with some event-based rewards. One popular option would be to buy tickets for a top-level concert, theatre show, film premiere or sporting event that you know people will want to attend and will, therefore, compete with each other to win.

If you’re feeling generous, you could lay on transport there and back, and even add some refreshments, such as a dinner for two or a food allowance to spend as they wish.

You could grant salespeople who meet their sales targets a half-day off to be taken whenever they like or propose a ‘duvet day’ scheme that allows top performers to come into work late on one day of their choice. Spread the love by offering the chance to ‘earn’ a day’s paid leave to go and volunteer for a charity or good cause of the winner’s choice – many companies do this on an annual basis as part of their CSR activities.

Finally, another way to approach this type of sales incentive is to run a special team outing day combining the element of reward with a team-building and bonding approach. Choose from bowling, crazy golf, quiz night, a day at the beach, karaoke, preferably anything that encourages teamwork & promotes bonding.

Physical prizes

car with gifts on top

If you have a clear understanding of what motivates your team, you might prefer to switch a financial bonus for a tangible reward, such as an iPad, laptop or games console if people are into technology Other ideas could include,

  • a coffee maker
  • mini fridge for the office or home
  • headphones
  • fitness gear
  • even a bicycle or car

it will depend on what your sales force likes to do. Perhaps link the prize to the type of sales you are all working on, or have a sliding scale of smaller prizes for more modest achievements, working up to the ‘big-ticket’ items for those who really push the boat out.

Another twist on the tangible reward method is to ask what luxuries people would like to see in the office (coffee machine? TV? Games room?) and encourage them to work for them co-operatively via individual and team-based sales targets.

Or you could encourage your team to raise money for a charitable cause to buy hospital equipment, team shirts for a community football team or IT equipment for the local school?


Another great way to motivate people driven to advance in their career and enhance their skills is to offer them the chance to take up additional training, paid for by the company.

This clearly benefits both sides, as you gain a team member with improved skills and a renewed commitment to furthering their career and they can enhance their CV, hone their skills and even learn a whole new side of working in sales. Ideas for sales-related courses and training include assertiveness, public speaking and negotiating.

Alternatively, you can offer training that are totally unconnected to their day job. Popular options include languages and craft-based subjects, such as art or cookery. Health-related courses, such as mindfulness, fitness, healthy eating and meditation can also be beneficial and result in a calmer, fitter, happier team that needs fewer days off sick in the future.

Looking for help with your sales team?

One great way to keep your sales team motivated is to hire the best salespeople out there. If you are looking to expand your sales function, or need some advice on how to get started in sales, please contact SalesNet today to see how we can help with your sales recruitment needs this year