5 Super Sales Incentive Plan Examples

5 Super Sales Incentive Plan Examples

Nichole Gunn

A sales incentive plan should help you get more revenue. But that’s like saying any script will make a good movie. While a plan is a good first step, you must check if your plan is right for the task. A rom-com script wouldn’t make for a good horror film, and the wrong incentive plan wouldn’t guarantee the right results from your distributors. Good sales incentive plan examples include:

  • A Unique Set-up – much like a good movie, the set-up of a good sales incentive plan should be original and head-turning. Something that takes the unique challenges and strengths of your sales force and structures goals, timelines, and participating groups accordingly.
  • Lights, Camera, Motivated Action – when the incentive to sell is the same day in and day out, even the most brilliant performers don’t give 110%. Rewards, especially when they are varied and tailored to specific sales promotions, will elevate sales performance.
  • Blockbuster Results – identify your KPIS, make sure that you have accurate and easy ways to measure those KPIS, and make sure that you can measure participants’ performance against non-participants’ performance, so you can see the program’s impact.

So how can you incentivize your employees to give a stellar performance? Consider these five real-world sales incentive plan examples:

1. Turn a newcomer product into a star using a sales incentive plan.

Owners of small to mid-sized restaurants were choosing gas-powered cooking equipment despite the clear benefits of going electric. A utility company wanted to convert those customers to electric appliances. Their strategy? They awarded points to distributors for selling and installing electrical equipment in restaurants. Salespeople could then redeem those points for prizes, such as a classic grand piano or Jeep Cherokee.

“We essentially hired a sales force of 100 people who were plugged into the industry without employing a single one,” declared the utility’s Food Services Division Manager.

You can achieve similar results by employing one of two strategies:

  • A points program – distributors can earn redeemable points for every installation or recommendation.
  • Sales enablement through training incentives – educate and engage salespeople in the product.

These strategies can reduce costs if the product you’re showcasing has a lower cost to market or a higher profit margin. For example, the utility company reduced selling costs by 80%. The above strategies also have the advantage of increasing product familiarity, brand affinity, and creating more satisfied customers.

2. Increase B2B sales on your e-commerce platform.

tire distributor wanted to increase use of their online services and ordering tools, so that they could equip their dealers with superior customer service to better compete against national chain stores. They needed a vehicle to complement their online offering and to motivate inbound traffic and e-commerce activity. Their solution was to use a points-based reward system for their salespeople, which ended up increasing online sales by 10x.

Like this tire distributor, there are a couple of methods you can employ to boost B2B sales on your platform:

  • Award online reward points – this way, salespeople can access their accounts online, see their point balance, shop in their rewards catalog and add items to their wish list.
  • Use a single sign-on for a more cohesive, seamless experience.

With these methods, you can promote brand familiarity. Using your e-commerce platform gets partners into the habit of interacting with your online presence, where you can reinforce your brand and personalize their experience. You can also slash selling costs and boost profit margins, and you can increase sales, even of the big stuff.

For example, this wholesaler giant’s contractor loyalty program quadrupled their total average order quantity. If you think that you can’t get these results, consider a McKinsey & Company study’s finding that a significant percentage of B2B buyers are willing to spend at least 500k on B2B e-commerce platforms.

3. Increase brand loyalty and channel partner retention by stealing the show from your competitors.

Due to a surge of competitors offering similar products, this PVC distributor wanted to develop a new, cost-effective approach to attracting customers. They employed a flexible customer loyalty program that rewarded customers with online points for achieving an annual volume threshold.

“We have roughly 600 members enrolled – that’s 600 people who are now more likely to order a faucet from us, because it gets them closer to a Disney vacation or a new set of golf clubs. And we don’t have to cut our prices to get the sale.”

— VP, Sales & Marketing

Thanks to this approach, they increased their PVC pipe sales by 40%.

If you’re looking to attract – or better yet – keep customers, consider:

  • Providing a broad selection of rewards – you can reward a wide variety of customers with choices like movie tickets and summer vacations.
  • Utilizing channel marketing resources and group incentive trips.

By supplying memorable awards and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, you can gain long term loyalty as well as sustainable and incremental growth. Desirable, relevant rewards are part of all sales incentive plan examples worth following.

4. Offer star-studded sales enablement and education.

An industrial manufacturing company wanted to increase brand awareness by taking back market share from the competition and maintaining current business to drive profitability. Their tactic? Offering rewards to employees that submitted orders of specific products the company wanted to promote. Participants in the rewards program contributed to a 32% increase in sales and a 20% increase in margin year over year.

If you’d like to get similar results, consider:

  • Implementing a trivia strategy on your awards platform to garner interest in it.
  • Using a “Learn and Earn” module (LMS) – this can encourage participants to learn about new products through online training and reinforce their knowledge via point-awarding quizzes.
  • Creating a leaderboard to promote healthy competition between salespeople.
Example of using learn and earn features in sales incentive plan - a learn and earn message that reads "You scored 100%"

Using these strategies will help prompt an incremental sales boost and contribute to a more confident sales team, which results in a more sustainable sales motivation. Your salespeople will have more interest and engagement with your brand, especially if you use SSO and website integration. You can also garner increased sales and better customer satisfaction. Customers will be happier when a knowledgeable salesperson fits them with the right product.

5. Reward for sales and customer data submission.

A multi-million-dollar manufacturer of vehicle equipment wanted to collect valuable customer data while increasing sales. They augmented their rewards system with a Performance Tracking Module, which made it easy for dealers to submit product registrations with an electronic file upload tool. As soon as they submitted registrations, this tool would award points to the dealer to be redeemed in an online prize catalogue. As a result, the manufacturer saw a 40% increase in sales and a 246% increase in product registrations.

You can achieve success like this by:

  • Employing a claims upload tool.
  • Having mobile web app availability for easy submission.
  • Offering merch or gifting debit card rewards that are instantly available upon submission to reinforce instant gratification.
  • Implementing system integration with your CRM, TCM, or other BI programs, especially those with predictive data capabilities.

These methods are awesome because you can get data about behaviors in your unique distribution channel segments. Data is your secret sauce, and it can give you the competitive advantage you need to succeed. It allows you to spy on trends and forecast outcomes so you can develop complete profiles of your channel customers and make proactive sales and marketing decisions. You can respond to your channel partner’s top needs and interests at the right moments in their customer journey and sales seasons. Best of all, you will be able to foster better channel partner experiences. When you know more about buyers, you can better serve them, increasing their loyalty to you.

Final Thoughts

Just like an audience with a film, salespeople won’t stick to your plan if the journey isn’t rewarding. If you work the lessons from these sales incentive plan examples into your corporate strategy, you can motivate employees and get blockbuster results.