Incentive to Motivate

Find Out What They Got

An incentive program, formal or otherwise, can help keep reps focused on the task at hand. Nancy Donaldson, owner of distributor firm Creative Promotions, recently challenged her sales reps to bring in five new accounts. Those who did qualified to receive a new laptop. Quickly, one rep opened two new accounts. Donaldson says the program serves a dual purpose: "It's to get new orders, plus some people have dying laptops. It's good to give them what they need to do business."

Donaldson's sales staff also found the program motivating because it was something they could share war stories about. Each week during the program last year, Donaldson says her seven salespeople would discuss which markets were accepting of cold calls, which weren't worth pursuing, and what types of companies were the best targets. "This really was an unintended result," she says. "I initially wanted to just get some of our struggling people going, and make sure we were diversifying our business with new accounts. But, the whole program really helped to create a teamwork environment."

In six months, all seven of Donaldson's reps brought in the required five new accounts – and three of the reps blew past the goal, each signing up more than 10 new accounts. Overall, the program resulted in more than 50 new clients for Creative Promotions.