6 Methods To Incentivize Salespeople

Written by: Kevin Gardner

Sales teams are the cornerstone of any successful, thriving business. Reps are under constant pressure to meet or exceed lofty sales goals, and they trade a reliable yearly salary for an indefinite monthly commission check. That said, the pros often outweigh the cons, as the potential for uncapped earnings and performance-based rewards keep salespeople motivated and eager to succeed. Though there are endless ways that businesses can compensate their salespeople, specific bonuses and awards appeal to them more than others. Read on to find the most effective ways to incentivize a whole sales team full of varying personalities and diverse interests.


Salespeople work to earn money, plain and simple. Therefore, many sales rewards programs revolve around cash-based bonuses and incentives. Businesses structure this form of compensation in different ways, one being a traditional commission-style format. If sales representatives hit their monthly or yearly targets, they receive additional money as an award. Salespeople also win bonuses for achieving specific, intermittent sales goals throughout the year outside of their quota. Again, when asked what types of sales bonuses reps prefer, the resounding majority answered that cold hard cash is best.


Another exciting way to incentivize a sales team is to award them with usable and desirable products. Unfortunately, most representatives have plenty of coffee mugs, water bottles, and other related knick-knacks. Therefore, to make this form of bonus effective, businesses must offer prizes that reps covet. The more valuable the product is, the harder a salesperson will work to achieve it. Such assets can be kept for years to come, serving as a reminder of career triumphs and achievements. Well-received examples of appropriate prizes include modern tech gadgets, watches, high-end home appliances, specialized hobby equipment, or the latest phone.

Activities and Entertainment 

Who wouldn't love tickets to a sold-out concert or a major sporting event? Activities are great incentives for a sales team, as they represent events on which representatives would not commonly splurge. Because salespeople work tirelessly to meet and exceed their quotas, implementing these types of bonuses at the end of the month is an excellent time to thank them for their efforts. This way, they can de-stress over a complimentary gourmet dinner, in a hotel room on the house, or at a free rock show for two!

Extra Time Off

Is all that money worth it if every waking moment consists of shedding blood, sweat, and tears at the office? Studies show that employees are majorly motivated by extra paid time off, so naturally rewarding salespeople with PTO is another common practice. In addition to giving props to a job well done, time off promotes a healthy work-life balance that all employees need and appreciate.


Salespeople, while generally satisfied with their careers, often feel unrecognized and underappreciated at work. Therefore, another meaningful form of motivation involves positive recognition in the office. Leaderboards are useful for sales managers to highlight rankings and year-to-date quota attainment. While this is well-received by the leaders, it can be discouraging for employees who find themselves further down the list.

Alternatively, an employee of the month incentive is optional to praise the top earner without off-putting the remaining team members. Some salespeople appreciate a special lunch with the CEO, while others prefer shout-outs of praise and congratulations via interoffice social media or email. Regardless of the method, it is safe to say that employee recognition is a great way to motivate and incentivize reps of all types.

Hold a Vote 

What better way to encourage a sales team than allowing them to establish their own set of bonuses and rewards? Many businesses find success by permitting the salespeople to brainstorm a list of incentives and vote on the most desired. Not only do the employees feel valuable establishing their own goals, and managers ensure their reps receive proper incentives.

Utilizing these core methods of motivation will incentivize sales teams of any size in any industry. Tweaking them as necessary will result in a tailored approach to satisfied employees, quota achievement, and sales success!

Related: 7 Questions To Ask Before Accepting a Sales Job