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Sales Incentive Ideas that Motivate Long-Term

Sales Incentive Ideas that Motivate Long-Term

Aaron Moncreiff


As nearly any experienced sales manager will tell you, there are plenty of ideas out there about ways to incentivize your sales team. The tricky part is finding incentives that make a lasting impact and result in a consistent lift in performance. 

Have you ever spent money on a flashy celebration that your team forgets about as soon as it's over? How about a costly gift card program that only results in short bursts of increased performance? If so, it's time to consider switching from extrinsic forms of motivation that can be short-lived to intrinsic motivators that are more lasting, using the power of gamification

Using Intrinsic Motivators to Generate Sales Incentive Ideas 

Intrinsic motivators are the universal human desires that we all share, regardless of age, experience level, or personality. Tapping into them can help you generate ideas for long-lasting incentives that are based on human nature. Here are some types of intrinsic motivators we’ve found most valuable and lasting: 

  • Autonomy: “I control.” We feel good when we have a sense of control over our lives and work. While full control is not always practical or even possible, granting your employees the right level of autonomy can be extremely motivating. 
  • Mastery: “I improve.” Getting better at things can help make our jobs easier, make us feel more confident, and set us up for the possibility of moving forward to new opportunities. 
  • Purpose: “I make a difference.” We all need to see purpose in our work in order to stay motivated. When employees understand how their efforts connect to their organization's mission and they know they are making a difference, their dedication increases. 
  • Progress: “I achieve.” Making progress helps us feel encouraged to continue and shows us that our goals may be within reach.
  • Social Interaction: “I connect with others.” Humans are innately social creatures. We need to connect with each other, both at work and in life. We also want to be recognized and understood by others.

These intrinsic motivators can be used to build an incentive program that builds on itself over time to deliver sustained, long-lasting performance among teams. 

Sales Incentive Ideas Fueled by Intrinsic Motivation

Gamification enables a range of incentives that motivate while taking intensive management and guesswork out of the equation. Here are just a few examples: 

1. Deliver points, badges and the ability to earn new levels

Tap into the innate desire for progress and purpose by allowing your employees to level up by earning points or badges. You set the goals and the level of difficulty based on actions that deliver ROI for your business. 

2. Create a personalized challenged based on group, role, geography, or past behavior

Gamification allows you to create custom programs allow employees to establish mastery regardless of their starting point. This can help you build engagement among new employees as well as seasoned pros, challenge team members based on current strengths or weaknesses, or set goals based on group or geography. 

3. Have a competition that measures metrics that matters to your sales team

Healthy competition taps into our need for social interaction. Ongoing public leaderboards fueled by data from your gamification system can be based on any number of factors, from collaboration to sales wins. 

4. Reward in real-time to encourage positive behavior

Encouraging your team in the moment helps your employees see their progress and connect to purpose, which in turn promotes the actions you’re looking for.

Gamification Provides a System of Incentives Based on Intrinsic Motivators

Intrinsic motivators are the foundational elements that have made games successful throughout human history. For example, earning points is a basic form of reward that demonstrates progress. Accumulating points can help you earn new levels of status and provide a sense of purpose and mastery. And games employ challenges and competitions that give us an opportunity to demonstrate our mastery through social interaction. 

Since games are so closely related to intrinsic motivations, it is easy to see why they are universally popular, enjoyable, and effective. 

These same principles can be equally effective when applied to the work setting in the form of gamification. Gamification systems provide ongoing rewards based on intrinsic motivators that lead to long-term motivation and engagement. 

Here’s how it works: 

You can layer gamification platforms like Bunchball Nitro over existing systems and use them to measure nearly any action. Examples range from entering all of the details about a prospect into your CRM to collaborating with other team members, to moving customers through the sales cycle. The system can then use these measurements to deliver rewards, execute competitions, populate leaderboards, provide gift-giving opportunities, and much more. And all of the data the system collects can be used to share insights with leadership to help them measure effectiveness and reinforce the program. 

By taking advantage of intrinsic motivators through a gamification system, you’ll transition from short-term rewards to long-term incentives that translate into real results for your business. 

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