Improve Sales Performance: How to Reward Beyond Base Salary and Commission

BY Chip Gray
Featured image for “Improve Sales Performance: How to Reward Beyond Base Salary and Commission”

To improve sales performance, it's essential to keep salespeople motivated and engaged. While a base salary and commission are necessary, companies that offer additional perks and incentives to their top-​performing salespeople can create a conducive and productive work environment. When leaders incentivize salespeople beyond their base salary, leaders show that they value their contributions and hard work. It also creates a sense of loyalty and commitment to the company, which can lead to increased productivity and better results.

Incentivizing salespeople beyond their base salary can attract and retain top talent. Research shows that salespeople who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to stay with a company long-​term, reducing the cost and time required to train their replacements. Offering additional perks and incentives can also attract top-​performing salespeople from other companies, improving the overall quality of the sales team.

Improve Sales Performance Through Bonuses and Profit-Sharing

One of the most common ways companies incentivize their salespeople beyond their base salary is through performance-​based bonuses and profit-​sharing. Performance-​based bonuses are usually tied to specific sales targets or milestones. Targets may include closing a certain number of deals or exceeding revenue goals. Profit-​sharing programs distribute a portion of the company's profits to employees based on their performance and contribution to the company's success.

Performance-​based bonuses and profit-​sharing can motivate salespeople because they directly reward their hard work and success. They also create a sense of healthy competition among the sales team members, driving them to perform better and achieve greater results.

However, managers should structure these programs correctly to avoid creating a toxic work environment. For example, if bonuses are only awarded to the top-​performing salespeople, it can create resentment and a sense of unfairness among the rest of the team. It's crucial to ensure that the program is fair and transparent, with clear criteria for earning bonuses and profit-​sharing.  A Harvard Business Review report points out that bonuses for a team can be very helpful for incentivizing “lower performers in a sales team as more-​frequent goals helped keep lower performers on track.”

Any change in your sales compensation plan should be reviewed by your HR department to make sure it is in accordance with federal and local employment laws,” states C. Lee Smith, CEO of SalesFuel and author of the international bestselling book "Hire Smarter, Sell More." “The most common miscues sales heads make when adding perks are incentivizing the wrong behavior, allowing for double dipping and not recognizing loopholes that enable salespeople to game the system. Best practice is getting feedback from higher up in the company, preferably from those who have managed salespeople,” he adds.

Opportunities for Professional Development and Growth

Companies can also improve sales performance by offering opportunities for professional development and growth. Employees want access to training programs, mentorship opportunities and career advancement opportunities. These programs improve the skills and knowledge of the sales team and show that the company is invested in their long-​term success.

Recognition and Awards for Top Performers

Recognition and awards for top performers are additional ways companies incentivize their salespeople. Awards ceremonies – like a President’s Club, public recognition or companywide announcements of success all make a big impact. Recognition and awards can be powerful motivators. They create a sense of pride and accomplishment among the sales team.

However, it's essential to ensure that recognition and awards are inclusive and fair. If only the top-​performing salespeople score recognition, resentment may build in the rest of the team. Recognize and celebrate the success of the entire sales team, not just the top performers.

Luxury Trips and Exclusive Access to Company Events

Luxury trips and exclusive access to company events are some of the most exciting perks that companies offer their top-​performing salespeople. These perks can include all-​expenses-​paid trips to exotic locations, invitations to exclusive events and access to luxury amenities. They also create a sense of exclusivity and prestige among the sales team, motivating them to work harder to earn these perks. Wise managers make perks available to the entire sales team.

Non-​Monetary Perks Such as Flexible Work Arrangements and Company Culture

While monetary incentives and luxury perks are exciting, many salespeople also value non-​monetary perks such as flexible work arrangements and company culture. Flexible work arrangements can improve work-​life balance and reduce stress. A positive company culture, with supportive colleagues and a strong sense of community, can also improve employee engagement and motivation. Our research indicates this is one of the most important job features for younger employees.

Best Practices for Implementing a Perks and Rewards Program for Salespeople

Implementing a perks and rewards program for salespeople requires careful planning and consideration. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Make it fair and transparent: Ensure that the program rewards all salespeople based on their performance and contribution to the company's success. Create clear criteria for earning perks and incentives.
  • Offer a variety of perks and incentives: Offer a mix of monetary and non-​monetary incentives to cater to the diverse needs and preferences of the sales team.
  • Make it achievable: Ensure that the sales targets and milestones required to earn perks and incentives are achievable and realistic.
  • Get feedback: Regularly solicit feedback from the sales team to ensure that the program is effective and meeting their needs.
  • Continuously improve: Regularly review and improve the perks and rewards program to ensure that it remains effective and relevant.

Conclusion: Improve Your Sales Team's Performance with Monetary and Non-​monetary Programs

Incentivizing salespeople beyond their base salary is essential to create a productive and engaged sales team. Performance-​based bonuses and profit-​sharing, opportunities for professional development and growth, recognition and awards, luxury trips and exclusive access to company events, non-​monetary perks, and a positive company culture are all effective ways to incentivize salespeople.

However, it's essential to implement these programs fairly and transparently and to continuously review and improve them to ensure their effectiveness. By investing in your sales team's success with perks and rewards, you can create a motivated, engaged and high-​performing sales team that drives your company's growth and success.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.