Almost all sales incentive programs reward sales reps strictly on closing business. But this misses a unique opportunity to reinforce best practices of the sales process itself and of your brand values.
Regardless of industry, sales processes typically consist of a series of tasks that must be completed to achieve the ultimate goal: converting a prospect to a buyer.
A few common steps might include:
- Identifying a lead
- Identifying prospect motives
- Understanding the prospect’s buying process
- Establishing a time frame
- Overcoming objections
- Asking for the deal
But are your sales people skilled in each of these critical areas? Or are they skipping over them in their haste to close a sale and not fully understanding the obstacles that can derail them at each stage. And what is the impact on their self-confidence and motivation if they continue to experience this lack of success?
Motivating the Sales Process
A truly strategic sales incentive plan starts with setting incremental goals and achievements tied to the key steps in the sales process. You then reward sales people for achieving these goals. By creating these incremental “winning moments of value,” a sales person’s actions generate a feeling of accomplishment
. Also, the rewards earned create a culture of success.
What’s more, as a sales manager you have the opportunity to reinforce key brand values throughout the sales process.
Here’s an example.
Salespeople often fill their pipeline with prospects and opportunities that have not been qualified for true potential. This is particularly true in regard to money issues, which many sales reps are hesitant to discuss for fear it may derail the deal. But money issues have to be addressed early so that the salesperson can present a best-fit solution.
To address this, set up your sales incentive program so that sales reps can earn rewards for “Qualifying Prospect Resources.” They earn points by fully identifying decision makers in your CRM and the budget and timeline for implementation. The sales manager can then measure participation with the CRM for data entry, and award bonus points that are redeemable only on closed business. This way, the sales rep will take time to enter valid data on real deals, and won't bother entering bogus information into the system.
Ultimately, you want to provide the largest sales incentive reward for achieving the primary objective…..the sale. But along the way you will have reinforced best selling practices, increased sales rep morale (and motivation), and built a culture of success based on learning and achievement.