Plan “spontaneous” rewards for your team

It is worth your time and effort to understand what motivates your team of salespeople? After all, they (and the revenue they generate) represent your business’ life. Hiring the best sales people and giving them the tools to succeed is important, but keeping them motivated is critical.One method to motivate your sales team is via an incentive program. The broad incentive plan is usually linked to overall key performance indicators. What if you have specific behavioral changes you want to take hold in your organization and you want it done fast?

In this case, you could use what I call “planned spontaneous incentives.” The ironic title doesn’t detract from the potential benefits. Have you ever received a gift or reward you were not expecting? It probably felt good to be recognized outside of an official contest or pay plan.

You can do this for your sales team, but to be spontaneous on a regular basis you will likely have to do some planning, hence the ironic name.

I recently had dinner with a dear friend and colleague, one of the best sales people I know. We had not seen each other in while, but I could tell his wristwatch was new. I don’t know much about watches, but this one stood out. He noticed me eyeing the watch and could not wait to tell me the story.

He had joined a new company and had a fantastic first year, and even received the “Rookie of the Year” designation – something that all newbies gun for in this organization. One random day, he got a call from the CEO’s assistant asking for his schedule and telling him the CEO wanted to send him something. They coordinated for a FedEx package to arrive the next day.

The package arrived, within ten minutes of him signing for the package after an e-mail notification from FedEx to the CEO, the CEO called him to congratulate him again for an amazing performance and tell him a little more about his new Rolex Daytona watch. I Googled the watch to find it is valued at about $25,000.

I also know the CEO closely and have seen him give away $10,000 envelopes of cash at sales meetings to star performers. Is it spontaneous or is it planned? It’s a little of both for this very genuine leader.

That is certainly motivating, but you don’t have to spend that type of money for positive results. Set secret goals for your team and plan the rewards you will surprise them with if those goals are obtained. If you are trying to install a new sales process, pick out certain steps or activities to reward if someone uses those new skills. When you see someone successfully implementing the plan well, you can highlight it in front of the entire team and give a prize.

Change it up every week or month, plan to reward different items throughout the year that contribute to success. You have an official comp plan to drive overall performance. Make this fun and make sure it feels spontaneous and in the moment.

Now, back to our story for one final reminder. If I had won the $25K watch, it would likely be on eBay right now. Make sure you know your team and build rewards that motivate each person.

For example, I once led a team in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Everyone on the team had a passion for outdoor sports and family time was important to everyone. They wouldn’t have enjoyed Rolexes or Mont Blanc pens, but they loved merchandise from the local camping store.

Know you team and plan to reward them with spontaneous incentives. Don’t ever forget the power of the simple stuff: handwritten note, certificate, crystal trophy, vacation day, or sending someone to a seminar they’d enjoy. When you truly appreciate your team, they’ll remember.

photo by Katrina Snaps

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