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Sales incentives that work

September 14, 2021

The best way to encourage your sales team to perform well and be productive is by offering incentives and rewards that will inspire them to try their hardest and push themselves to achieve. In most sales environments, there is some sort of reward associated with hitting targets and being a high performer; however, not all sales incentives are created equally, and certain incentives definitely produce better results than others.

In this article, we will look at some of the best sales incentives which have been proven to be great motivators for sales team associates; we will also discuss how you can use sales incentives to increase your team’s productivity and overall performance.

What are sales incentives?

In simple terms, a sales incentive is a prize or reward given to an employee who achieves a certain sales target or outperforms their peers. In other words, sales incentives are a means by which to motivate your sales team members to put in their best effort in order to earn a bonus. Sales incentives are by far one of the most effective tools in any sales manager’s arsenal, but why is that?

Why offer sales incentives?

Let’s face it, sales is a difficult and very stressful career, but it can also be incredibly rewarding for those who put in the time and effort needed to cultivate the skills required to perform at a high level. By incentivizing your teams’ targets, team members will be inspired to want to learn and grow so as to perform their best with the goal of winning prizes or earning rewards when they are successful.

What are the best sales incentives?

Certain sales incentives have been shown to be effective when it comes to motivating sales associates to work harder and achieve the best results. Let’s briefly take a look at some of the best sales incentives so that you can determine which ones will be most suitable for you, your budget, and your team.

1. Physical prizes

Offering physical goods as prizes is a great place to start when you first set up a sales gamification program. The trick with physical prizes is to make sure that the prizes are perceived as having value. Steer clear of company-branded clutter; nobody will be inspired to work harder with the hopes of winning a cup or hat with the company logo on it. Instead, offer an actual prize such as an e-reader, tablet, or a nice set of headphones.

2. Digital prizes

Digital goods are another great option. Maybe the team member who makes the most sales this month will earn a free Spotify membership for a year, a free E-book download, or a digital subscription to an online platform or service. The incentive should be something of value that reflects the value of the target that was achieved. So, if an employee made your company $20,000 dollars of profit this month, maybe an e-book download might not be your best bet, but if they lead the team with five sales today, then it might be.

3. Gift cards

Gift cards make fantastic sales incentives because they allow people to pick out prizes themselves which they will certainly like. When you offer physical and digital prizes that you chose, you run the risk of picking sales incentives that aren’t of interest to the whole team, which can inspire some team members to work harder, but others may not be interested. Gift cards, on the other hand, are generally of interest to everyone on the team. Try to offer gift cards from retailers that have a wide selection of goods as that will inspire the greatest number of people to put forth their best effort in the hopes of winning. Wal-Mart, Amazon, and eBay are all excellent choices when it comes to gift cards for sales incentives.

4. Cash bonuses

Cash will always be king when it comes to sales incentives. Nothing motivates sales team members quite like the potential to earn more money on their next paycheck. There are a few options when it comes to using a monetary reward system as part of your sales incentivization program. You can offer a one-time cash bonus to the highest performing team member, you can offer an increased hourly wage for the week or the month, or you can even offer company stock as a prize. No matter which type of cash bonus you decide to offer, your sales team associates will work harder if they have a chance to earn more money.

5. Trips and experiences

Offering experiences is another great choice when it comes to sales incentives that work. Now, these can be relatively simple experiences, such as dinner for two at a nice restaurant, tickets to a concert or musical, or seats at an upcoming sporting event, or the prize could potentially be much bigger depending on the sales achievement involved, for example, an all-inclusive trip for two to the team member who makes the most sales this year. Pick an experience that people want to have, and you’ll see a noticeable step up in productivity.

6. Extra vacation time

Now you don’t have to offer fancy vacations and expensive experiences in order to generate more engagement from your sales team members. Additional vacation time or any extra time off with pay is a fantastic motivator that has been shown to inspire sales teams to work their hardest with the hopes of winning some paid leisure time. Offer a day off with pay to the person who makes the most sales this week or this month. If the sales targets are particularly difficult to achieve, then consider making it an extra week of paid vacation, and you’ll be surprised with the results.

7. Points towards bigger prizes

Another fantastic idea when it comes to rewarding and incentivizing your sales team is to use a points-based system. The idea is that every time a sales team member makes a sale or achieves a certain target, they earn a set number of points which can be saved up and redeemed for bigger prizes. For example, maybe you get one point every time you make a sale, and you can choose to cash in 10 points for a small prize, such as a book or gift card, or save up until you have 20,000 points for a new car. A points-based system is a fantastic sales tool because it keeps sales team members motivated perpetually.

8. Team rewards

Finally, instead of using individual sales incentives, try offering a team reward. The idea with team rewards is that they incentivize your entire team to put in a concerted effort so that everybody can earn a prize rather than just one person taking home a reward. Team rewards can be small or large, inexpensive or valuable; the better the prizes, the more success you will have with your sales incentivization initiative. Maybe if everybody on the team makes a sale today, there will be pizza tomorrow or an extra-long lunch break. Think small but practical.


By offering sales incentives to your sales team members, you will be able to increase their productivity and inspire them to work their hardest with the hopes of winning rewards such as cash, experiences, or prizes. Sales incentives have been proven to be effective when it comes to increasing team engagement, and so by offering sales incentives, you will be giving yourself the best chance of fostering a high-performance sales culture and generating the most amount of revenue for your company.

Put those insights into practice.

Set your team up for success by improving their performance through gamification.

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