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The most effective way to reward your Sales Force?

Nov 12, 2014

Written by: Dave Smith
(View Author Bio)

Self-Selected goals improve performance. Having people choose their own goal, instead of having it chosen for them, creates extraordinary ownership and engagement when striving to reach that goal.

Reward sales reps sales force BI WORLDWIDE Latin America.


At BI WORLDWIDE, we use the principles of behavioral economics to create the best engagement strategies on the planet. We work with expert academics who advise us on the latest research on human behavior, engagement and decision-making. We use non-cash rewards and recognition to engage and motivate employees and sales teams. Check out our case study library to see how our customized and results-driven solutions have helped clients all over the world.

At BIWORLDWIDE, we understand the power of sales incentive programs. Throughout our history, we’ve researched and designed tens of thousands of programs, many of which we tracked, recorded and analyzed. We define the trend curve on incentives because we continue to innovate and refine even the most tried and true approaches. What we’ve learned is that most sales incentive programs do not engage the entire audience and therefore leave potential sales growth on the table. Let’s take a look at two typical sales incentive structures that limit sales potential.

1. VIPs (Very Important Performers):

Many programs reward only the top 10-20% of an audience. These high-performer programs are terrific for those at or within a few points of the top. But they also demotivate the majority of your audience, since 80-90% aren’t included in that top segment. Our research shows that 80% of sales come from almost half of your sales force, not just the top 20%.

2. One Size Fits All:

Most program rules require participants to grow by the same amount no matter where they are under the curve. A 2% to 5% growth target might be appropriate for the top sellers in the organization, but would be too easy for those in the middle or bottom. For mid-to-lower performers, 20% to 40% could be reasonable, but close to impossible for your top performers. Our research indicates that the most effective programs segment the audience and provide goals that are relative to each segment’s past performance.

In 2001, BIWORLDWIDE created the patented GoalQuest® incentive structure. One of its greatest assets is that GoalQuest engages a larger segment of the sales population and increases incremental results. GoalQuest rewards only those who grow their sales, no matter where they fall on your sales curve.

Part of GoalQuest’s power is that it requires participants to select their own goal from three levels — all set higher than their current personal run rate. Participants earn a reward only if they meet or exceed the goal they select.

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Dave Smith

Dave Smith

GoalQuest Product Director

Dave has over 40 years of experience in sales, marketing, product management and incentive program design. Over the past 12 years, Dave has designed and implemented over 650 GoalQuest incentive programs with Fortune 500 companies. Dave has also written whitepapers and booklets on topics surrounding growing salesforce results through high-performance incentive program design.