Show me the money (or not): rewards and incentives that work - Lead Forensics

Show me the money (or not): rewards and incentives that work

Money makes the world go round and cash is always king when it comes to incentivising your sales team…..or is it?

There’s been loads of research into what drives people on in their work and to reach performance targets. While money is often thought of as the key motivator, it is not in fact the ‘be-all-and-end-all’ that you might expect it to be. The promise of a wodge of cash may get some people through the door, but it doesn’t always work so well at motivating or keeping them – and may not work at all in certain cases!

As a manager, you are responsible for the day-to-day and getting results from your team, so two key issues will be top of your agenda – ensuring every single team member is engaged and motivated. And secondly, making sure you retain the talent and don’t let any of your superstar sales reps slip through the net. As one thing’s for sure, with a motivated team you are more likely to increase performance and productivity.

You want to keep them digging deep and hungry for the win – so what else can you try alongside straight cash rewards to keep your team fired up?

Surprise, surprise!

Be spontaneous and take everyone by surprise one day. It could be ordering breakfast from a local café, an early Friday finish, even chocolates or beers – you can make it as small or as big as you like. Congratulate your team on their efforts that week, whatever the results may have been (good or bad, don’t dwell on the figures just acknowledge the hard work). This can be a great boost and aid positive team building, as who doesn’t love a surprise?

Career building

Supporting staff in their career progression, such as by paying for them to attend external training courses or conferences, or to join professional bodies, can be a great incentive in itself. It shows they are valued while enhancing their skills, so everyone is a winner.

Big up small wins

The unexpected reward can work wonders for morale and boosting mood. Whether you do a spot reward ‘next person to do x gets y’ or set a goal for the next hour with a reward for the winner, you’ll shake things up and get your team knuckling down. The reward could be a later start one morning for a lie-in, or lunch bought for them, even an action figurine. It keeps the team interested and bigs up the small wins they are making along the way.

Challenge time

Working within a sales environment it is likely that you will have team members with a strongly competitive streak. Make the most of this and mix it up by holding regular challenges. It could be as simple as a spot quiz, or even a break-out half hour to battle it out over a board game. If you sense a lull in activity or a slight drop in mood, then an impromptu challenge will quickly stir things right back up again. If you do them regularly you could even set up a leader board alongside your sales charts. The prizes can be small but the activity itself could have a long lasting effect.

Have a laugh

Don’t underestimate the power of a humorous or fun reward. Have a laugh with it – how about setting a challenge and the winner getting to park in the top boss’ spot for a week, or to swap desks with them? If you have the budget then why not plan in a team experience, like blowing off some steam at a driving range, or go-kart racing.

Ultimately a happy, positive sales room will breed happy, positive people who are more likely to get results. People will feel incentivised to work hard if they are doing a job they love and that gives them a buzz. If they love their team and the feeling of camaraderie they get. If they feel part of something and that they are working towards a common goal. And if they feel their efforts are recognised and fairly rewarded. In a nutshell, if it makes them feel good about themselves. No amount of £££s will ever match that.


You may also be interested in reading Teaching new tricks – how to get your sales force to go with the times



If you’re working towards end of year sales targets,  now will be the time when you turn at least some of your attention to setting goals for next year. Use our Goal Setting Checklist to get you started.


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