Oct 27, 2021

Fantastic sales incentive ideas to motivate and inspire your team

Sales incentives that motivate, from Blackhawk Network

Sales. They are the lifeblood of many companies and play a key role in building relationships between you and your customers. Vital to the success of your business, excellent salespersons are those that not only make the sale but create a long-lasting impact on your customers, which can then lead to repeat business and referrals. But how do you ensure that your sales teams are consistently motivated and upbeat enough to keep delivering on the company targets? We’ve put together some handy sales incentive ideas that you can deliver for your teams.

What makes for a high-performing sales team?

Who doesn’t remember that infamous scene from ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ – “Always. Be. Closing”. 

Not to mention the raucousness depicted in The Wolf of Wall Street on the highs and lows of how sales can have an impact on a business. Which is why it can be fair to say that sales and sales teams in general can get a bit of a bad reputation. With a negative stereotype surrounding them, sales teams often face the challenge of customers frequently dismissing them or constantly rejecting their proposals, which can have an adverse impact on their motivation and selling techniques.

Sell! Sell! Sell! The constant pressure to smash targets and meet expectations can also be quite overwhelming for many sales departments. But in order to sell well and deal with the pressure of hitting their targets, salespeople need to be hyped up and ready to go at any time. This can be affected by overall productivity, culture and the bottom line. Sales engagement and motivation is not a one-off process. Rather, it needs to always be at the forefront of Sales Managers’ minds. Sales managers can go to extreme lengths to motivate their teams. Quite often it is about dangling carrots such as giant commissions and bonuses and trips to favourite destinations, but is this enough to make sure your sales teams are high-performing, and are there sales incentives in place to keep them motivated?

Working together as a team

To build a really positive sales culture, managers need to draw on individual personalities and their own unique strengths that make them great at selling. In their book, “The NEW why teams don't work what goes wrong, and how to make it right”, authors Michael Finley and Harvey Robbins, state:

“Many companies call sales departments teams, but they’re not really teams, because they don’t operate as teams”.

Team members should be passionate about achieving not just their goals but also team related goals. Working in silos can mean that they don’t feel connected with the company culture and only strive to perform for individual gains. 

Deliverable goals

Sales teams are heavily goal-focused, but it’s surprisingly common for these goals to be too abstract to really measure or achieve. With SMART goals in place and clarity on what the end objectives are, you can encourage an accountability culture where teams are clear on what they need to achieve and work towards that. 

Personal development and autonomy

High-performing sales teams need to be consistently coached and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Sales roles are heavily customer facing, and in order to understand customers, individual team members also need to understand what makes them tick and how to best approach a sale. Which is why Sales Managers need to invest in personal development opportunities alongside any sales incentives for team members to help them sell effectively. 

Another aspect to consider with any team, not just sales, is empowerment. Empowering salespeople to make autonomous decisions and enabling them to take action can support teams in general to become more high-performing and engaged. 

Peter Barron notes, “Each day [sales managers] are faced with a myriad of decisions that need to be made. Think about which decisions you absolutely need to make solo, and which ones would be better made by involving employees. Experiment with giving employees more ownership of decisions that impact their work. Empower them to make a difference.”

By teaching team members to recognise opportunities and giving them the authority to make decisions, you’ll end up with confident, high-performing sales team.

A high-performing sales team isn’t just about the competence of the individuals within it; although each person has their own sales target, the best teams are willing to collaborate for shared goals and be part of a sales culture rather than individual gain. 

Sales incentives ideas and the role they play in motivating teams 

Only 20% of employees are actually satisfied with their current jobs and 79% are happy to move on because they don’t feel appreciated or valued by their managers. How can you prevent probably your most valuable team getting stuck in a rut? A sales incentive programme could help! A sales incentive is money or some kind of reward offered to a salesperson for achieving a specific sales target. Incentives and rewards can have benefits for every employee, not just those who are involved in sales. When recognising employees for their performance and productivity, it can improve morale, job satisfaction and motivation to support organisations in achieving their aims.

Stats from the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) show that 90% of top-performing companies use incentive programmes to reward sales people. Motivating your employees requires constant positive reinforcement and sales incentives, whether it is in the form of cash, gift cards, latest gadgets or other physical rewards and by implementing a customisable sales incentive programme, you can dramatically boost morale and success in accomplishing their goals.

A sales incentive plan is only effective if it is something your team actually wants. And while cash incentives are a great driver, some sales reps might need something new and exciting to truly motivate them. How well do you know your team? What are they passionate about? What drives and inspires them?

Some customisable sales incentives rewards may include:

Many sales representatives might be motivated by money and commissions alone, but in order to really excite your teams, you can customise the incentives and rewards they get.

Travel vouchers

Reward the travel junkie in your team. With holidays expected to see a surge next year, your sales team may prefer the option to have their company contribute towards their holiday. A sales incentive idea to boost results within your sales team can be to offer a prepaid Mastercard® or a gift card that can support with:

  • Hotel bookings
  • Plane tickets
  • Excursions

Keeping their eye on a prize like a travel incentive can be a great way to incentivise results.

Tickets to concerts or sporting events

Whether they are a music lover or a sports lover, offering redeemable incentives such as tickets to gigs and sports events can be a great sales incentive idea. A reward like this allows your salesperson to encourage themselves to achieve the results they need to go see their favourite band, sports team or even see their much-loved musical at the West End. 

This can also serve in creating a great team culture if there are shared interests within your team (or some friendly rivalry if certain football clubs are supported!). 

Dining experiences

Treating yourself to a fancy dinner paid for by your company has a different spin on it. By offering your salespeople an incentive where they can enjoy a delicious dining experience at some of their favourite restaurants can make them feel appreciated and motivated. 

By having a gift card that can work within several retailers and restaurants, your sales rep can:

  • Have a great dining experience at a restaurant of their choice
  • Have a top performer lunch with a senior manager in the company
  • Enjoy alone or with their friends and family

Tech perks

Make your sales incentive programme feel like Christmas! What tech toys does your team have their eye on? The good thing about tech sales incentives and the ability to be able to purchase from multiple retailers is that there are loads of options that your team can choose from and having a sales incentive where your employee can select their choice of gadget, can really boost their productivity and inspiration to achieve their targets. 

Build a sales incentives programme that works

The best way to ensure that all the members of your sales team are motivated, is to let them have the option to pick their own incentives. Rewarding high performers on their individual preferences can make them feel more appreciated and keep them motivated to hit the targets assigned to them. 

If you’re having trouble motivating your sales team with your current incentive programme, you might want to consider changing things. With the right sales incentives programme, your team will realise how invested you are in their success and happiness as individuals, which will only inspire them further. 

Digital rewards  

Select is a digital reward platform that enables your sales reps to turn Select Codes into digital or physical gift cards. The denomination of each Code you can send allows up to £5,000, which makes it a popular choice for higher value recognition.  

Your sales teams can swap it for the gift card or eGift of their choice across a plethora of brands, including retailers and restaurants, keeping them in control and getting satisfaction from choosing something they really want.  
Select can also be personalised to the look and feel of your company, and the digital aspect means everything can be done online in an instant. However, if you prefer physical rewards, this option is available too. 

Gift cards 

With an option to shop in thousands of retail and restaurant locations across the UK, our One4all gift card has a maximum value of £120, which makes it a favourite for smaller, more regular, rewards.
Your salespersons get to choose their own reward, encouraging an increase in engagement as you help them to create memories on top of feeling rewarded. They’ll remember the feeling of enjoyment they got from their purchase (whether it’s an item or experience) far longer than a bottle of champers. These memories will be a constant reminder of how much you value them. 

One4all gift cards can be given in a physical or digital format, and there’s also the ability to brand the cards with your company’s logo and preferred design. 


Envy is our experiences reward. It provides a vast range of experiences your workforce can choose from, such as spa days, hot air balloon rides, and driving supercars. We find many businesses enjoy rewarding their sales teams with once-in-a-lifetime-experiences and offering an opportunity for them to encounter something new.  

As with our gift cards, Envy allows your team to choose their own experience. They can also upgrade their package if there’s something else they wish to try. Envy rewards can be presented in both physical and digital formats, whatever suits your business best. 

Interested in finding out how offering sales incentives for your sales teams can support your company? Fill out the form on your right and one of our engagement experts will be in touch.