Reward Program Ideas for Sales Reps

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Eric Donti

June 19, 2023

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Sales

While analysts are divided on the question of a US recession this year, talk about one tends to have a chilling effect on both consumer and B2B spending. That makes keeping your sales team running at peak efficiency critical as 2023 wears on. Of course, the how of doing that often proves troublesome for business owners. If you’re looking for ways to motivate your team, keep reading for some reward program ideas for sales reps.

Travel Incentives

Passports and global map

Most salespeople spend a lot of time sitting at their desks, shooting off emails, and making phone calls. That’s a lifestyle that leaves people yearning for the joys of being literally anywhere else. You can cater to that desire by using travel incentives as the main prize in your reward program.

Of course, the travel offered should reflect the revenue that the sales team in general and the individuals are bringing in. If your sales team brings in $150,000 annually, you’ll probably stick with something like a few days away in the same region you are located. If individuals are bringing in those kinds of numbers, you may want to consider something longer and more exotic as a prize.

Outings

One of the more popular reward program ideas for sales reps is an outing of some kind. You can do these individually, such as a fine dining experience or tickets to a sports event. You can also do team activities, such as a daycation that can pull double-duty as a team-building exercise.

The trick with outings is that they must cater to the interests of the individual or team. A meal at the hottest new restaurant in town probably won’t mean much to the guy who orders takeout from the same three restaurants seven nights a week. By the same token, an adventure outing to go kayaking probably won’t appeal to the resident king of geeks who spends every weekend gaming online with friends.

Technology

As demographics shift, technology prizes are becoming increasingly popular choices as incentives. Even low-key technology users will lust after things like VR headsets or slick new laptops. If you’re really not sure what kind of tech your sales team members might like, don’t despair. You can give them a voucher that they can redeem with you. Just set a budget and have them pick a tech goodie they want from a technology website.

Fitness Memberships

People at the gym

Remember that bit earlier about sitting at a desk for 40 hours a week? It’s not just a cause for wanderlust. It’s also a great way to encourage increasingly poor health. While many salespeople are Type A personalities who embrace fitness for the rush, not every employee will be proactive about their fitness level.

Consider offering membership to a local gym. You can even poll people in your sales team who are vocal about their fitness regimen about what gyms are best for newcomers to the scene. The odds are good they can point you in the right direction. If you think a gym membership might be over the top, consider something a bit calmer, like a few months of yoga classes.

Professional Development

Now, there is a school of thought out there that says you should already be providing some professional development options to your employees, and maybe you already do offer to subsidize some additional training and education. When you use it as a prize, though, you have to take it up a notch and front the whole cost yourself.

You can offer things like e-learning courses, seminars, leadership training, and even sales training courses. Again, you should weigh what you know about your sales team against the available choices and pick something that will appeal to the greatest number of them.

Personal Development

Not everyone craves constant professional development. In fact, most people want to develop skills beyond their workplace, such as art, photography, writing, or cooking. You can help with that by providing prizes that encourage personal development. For example, you can find cooking classes available in almost any town of a significant size. You can also look at awarding something like a subscription to a site like Masterclass that lets people pick and choose what kinds of information and skills they learn.

Recognition

Employers often undervalue the raw power of public recognition in motivating employees. This is particularly true for employees who are already well-compensated. If your employees can reasonably afford the other prizes you might offer, recognition may well prove your best option.

You have several options here as well. You can go in for the time-tested wall of honor with the framed picture and nameplate. You can publicly present them with some form of trophy or similar tangible prize. If you run a big company, you can even feature them in the company newsletter. Remember, these aren’t either-or options. You can do more than one of them or even all of them if it suits your needs.

Gift Cards

Gift cards get a bad rap as both gifts and rewards. Yet, they’re often highly valued. It’s like getting a cash prize, except someone presents the card to you. It’s tangible in a way that extra cash in a direct deposit isn’t. Gift cards also help to encourage the recipient to actually buy themselves something, rather than just using the money to pay down debt or putting it in a savings account. While those are good things to do, they aren’t very prize-like activities.

Cash

Professional woman holding cash

The old wisdom that cash is king holds true for rewards programs as often as not. After all, people routinely take jobs with higher salaries even if they think a different company is a better fit. Just as importantly, people often find that they need more cash. For example, depending on how their insurance is structured, individuals pay for added health costs. A bit of extra cash at the right time can make all the difference.

You can take a lot of different approaches to adopting cash as your primary choice in reward program ideas for sales reps. The catch is that you must lay out the rules clearly. Some businesses tie awards to specific benchmarks, such as hitting or exceeding sales quotas. Others may focus on things like the number of deals someone closes. You may want to consider setting up a Special Performance Incentive Fund to handle the actual payments.

Developing Reward Programs

Taking reward program ideas for sales reps and developing them into full-blown reward programs is something you expect to spend some time on. Just as importantly, you should get some input from your sales team about what kinds of prizes they might like best. If you’re worried that your sales team may be getting held back by things beyond their control, like your website or social media presence, consider getting an e marketing report to see how your business stacks up.

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