How to Increase Revenue With Sales Incentives

By: Maggie Wenthe
race cars driving over the finish line

If sales is the engine of your company, think of sales incentives as high-octane fuel. They’re a tried-and-true way to get your current team to achieve more.

But running a strong, effective incentive program certainly isn’t accomplished by luck.

Without a data-driven, analytical approach—and plenty of internal buy-in—companies will find themselves spinning their wheels. A sales incentive program without the right blueprint will cost you a bundle of time and effort and leave you with little to show for it. Worse yet, you won’t get the revenue results you want from your employees.

Increasing revenue from your sales team can be accomplished, but only if you follow these six steadfast rules.

Be Specific

Analyze and assess your incentive program objective. Historically, what’s worked? Specifically, what do you want to see? Do you want increased sales for one particularly profitable product, or increased revenue dollars overall?

The more focused your revenue goal is, the easier it will be for a participant to understand and achieve it.

Get Personal

Give each participant a goal that’s attainable, yet challenging. That might seem like an oxymoron, but it’s not. When your participants feel like their goals are within reach with some dedicated, hard work, they’ll get the job done.

To get the biggest bang for your buck, give your participants an individual, incremental goal over their previous year’s production. Don’t pay out until your incentive program participants bring more business to your company than they did last year.

Talk About the Goal

One of the trickiest parts about incentive plans is being sure the program’s goal is clearly understood throughout the whole company.

So, how do you build that understanding? Mention the goal to your team, over and over, through conversations, emails, signage and other means. The success of your incentive program relies on a non-ambiguous goal.

Make sure your team knows the following:

  • Their goal
  • How their goal was created
  • What happens if they achieve their goal
  • What happens if everyone achieves their goals

Ignite the Competitive Spirit

Generally speaking, sales teams are very competitive—and for good reason. Sales is an aggressive business, and they’re always gunning for the commission from that big win.

Tap into their competitive spirit by publically publishing results in some way, whether it’s an email or a leaderboard. Or, if you’d prefer to keep personal goals obscured, use a percent-to-goal statistic to give your sales team some well-deserved recognition.


Peer recognition is a powerful thing. Announce winners and overall goal achievement throughout your company. Recognize winners in a significant way—research from the Incentive Research Foundation shows that public recognition coupled with individual, trophy-value awards is most effective.

You’re rewarding participants for successfully changing behavior, but also inspiring them to reach for next year, through an ambitious, yet attainable, goal.

Once your employees are aligned with their personal goal and your organization’s overall mission, you’ll have an unstoppable team that is fully engaged with their work.

Get Help

More companies would probably be operating incentives to drive business results if they weren’t so darn difficult to get up and running. Ideal results require an outside partner with a deep well of knowledge in incentive structure, technology, awards, communications and measurement.

If increasing revenue with sales incentives is still just out of reach for you, get help from the pros. With 50+ years in the incentives and recognition industry, we know just what it takes to help you move the needle.

Maggie Wenthe
Maggie Wenthe

Maggie strives to help the world understand the power behind personalized motivation that aligns people with business goals to drive powerful results. As the leader of Marketing Strategy at ITA Group, she analyzes market trends to develop world-class solutions that help Fortune 1000 companies motivate and engage their employees, channel partners and customers. She is certified through the Incentive Marketing Association, the Enterprise Engagement Alliance, as well as Pragmatic Marketing Level VI. Between marketing and three little boys, Maggie doesn't have free time. But when she can find a few minutes, she loves listening to audiobooks on marketing, business and sci fi thrillers.