Skip to content

Sales Incentives: 5 Ideas to Motivate Your Team

New SDRs are often young, ambitious and full of drive.

But the repetitive nature of the job or a small slump in performance can hit motivation hard. That’s where incentives kick in.

When it comes to incentivising SDRs, it might seem difficult to know where to start. It’s definitely not a case of one-size-fits-all.

If you’re a sales team leader looking for tips on creating incentives, you’re in the right place. At the end of the article, we’ll suggest a couple of creative incentive ideas. So stay tuned!

Ready to have reps that generate more leads and close more deals? Keep scrolling! 👇

7 tips for creating effective sales incentives 

1. Tailor incentives to particular roles

There are many types of sales personalities in your team; make sure your incentives are specific to each one.

If your sales reps open conversations with prospects before booking demos with AEs, reward them for every attended meeting they book.

If your sales reps are responsible for closing deals, consider tying incentives to the deal value or the number of deals they close. This way, they’re motivated to prioritise and work towards their goals. 

2. Tie incentives to the company’s goals

Imagine you’re one SDR in a team of fifty. It’s not easy to see how your work impacts the wider company. Considering that, it can be difficult to motivate yourself and align your goals with your employer’s.

How best to counteract this?

Explore what your company’s goals are for bringing in new clients.

Are you focused on aggressive expansion? Then reward your reps for each meeting they book. 

Do you need your reps to build more pipeline? Then consider giving them a percentage of the pipeline they generate.

Other things to tie incentives to might be upselling, signing more service agreements, or bringing in higher-quality meetings. 

The bottom line here? 

Work out what you need your reps to focus on and reward them for it.

3. Reward input as well as output

B2B sales can be very results and output focused. Sometimes, it’s hard for reps to focus on anything else.

However, focusing too hard on booking meetings can lead your reps to push prospects too hard and burn bridges. If this starts impacting their ability to book meetings, their morale and motivation will take a hit.

That’s where it pays to reward input as well as output. This will make them less outcome-focused and increase their activity levels. Odds are, they’ll end up booking more meetings! 

After all, sales is a numbers game - the more you do, the more successful you’ll be.

4. Personalise incentives to individual reps 

Yes, you heard us right - sales incentives can be personalised, too!

Let’s say you have a star rep that hits target but could be bringing in even more clients. Why not consider accelerating commission after they hit?

What if you have an SDR who’s struggling? That type of sales incentive won’t motivate them.

In this case, you’ll want to run incentives based on how many connects they have. That will boost their activity levels, increase the number of conversations they have, and lead to them booking more meetings. 

You can go even further by simply asking your reps why they work. If their reason for working is to spend more quality time with their family, consider cutting a deal with them. Maybe you’ll give them a half day off if they book a certain number of meetings.

Your reps tailor their approach to different prospects. So as a team leader, you must tailor your approach to your reps!

5. Use micro rewards

Sometimes smaller rewards are just as impactful as bigger ones. 

Here’s how they work:

If your reps manage to book three meetings a day, why not offer them a £10 Deliveroo voucher or a Starbucks card? This not only gives them a crucial boost of motivation, but it’s also a great way of appreciating their daily work.

Research shows that positive incentives stimulate the brain’s reward centre. This means that, for every incentive you give them, it motivates your SDRs to go further. 

And for struggling reps, it only takes a small win to get the ball rolling again. One prize can set off a chain of events that’ll spur them to meet and beat target.

6. Make goals absolutely clear 

Sales incentives are only successful if the reps understand how they will be rewarded. Before setting an incentive, make sure you clearly communicate the competition criteria to your team.

Moreover, depending on the incentive, consider reminding them how close they are to winning a prize. For example:

If your reps are competing for the most direct dials in a week, keep a leaderboard! That way, everyone knows where they stand and what they should be aiming for. It’ll also push those at the top to try and beat each other.

On top of this, make sure the incentives aren’t overly complicated or based on complex conditions. The last thing you want as an SDR manager is confusion and frustration.

So, keep your incentives simple and straightforward. Track progress every day so that your team knows what they need to do to win. 

7. Be creative! 

Incentives don’t have to be boring or generic. Get creative and think outside the box; come up with unique plans that will excite your team. 

Some ideas include offering a day off, a free vacation, or a chance to attend a conference they’re interested in.

There are a hundred tried and tested incentive ideas. But you know your team and your reps better than anyone. Why not try something different and tap into some new possibilities? 

Speaking of which - scroll 👇 for Cognism’s best sales incentives!

5 top incentives for sales teams

1. Group incentives

Putting reps into groups or pods and having them compete against each other is a great way to build team cohesion. 

Having multiple winners will also motivate reps who are struggling; winning feels more achievable when people work together. 

With regards to the prize, how about an event or team-building activity? Think of things that your reps can do together - drinks, dinner, bowling, darts.

With this incentive, you fire up your team and bring them closer together at the same time. A win-win for any SDR leader!

2. Provide extra training opportunities 

This is one of our personal favourites!

Investing in your team’s growth and development is always a good idea. More often than not, reps want to improve their sales skills and get better in their roles.

So, as an incentive, offer your SDRs the opportunity to enter a great sales course and upskill. This can be a great motivator, not just for now but for their long-term sales career.

3. Offer cash incentives

We haven’t forgotten - for a lot of people, outbound sales is all about the money!

Cash is always a popular motivator and with good reason. Potential rewards for outstanding performance include gift cards, travel vouchers or even paid time off.

It’s a good idea to link cash incentives to your individual reps’ wider goals. They’re saving up to buy a property? Add to their savings account. They’re looking forward to going on holiday? Give them cash to spend abroad.

Cash is a great sales incentive; it keeps your team engaged while helping them to progress in their personal and professional lives.

4. Offer flexibility and time off 

For busy SDRs, time off or flexibility around work can be just as valuable as cash. 

Incentives we’ve run in Cognism’s sales team include giving our reps the chance to work from home once a week and earlier ends to the working day.

These kinds of incentives show that you value your staff and trust them to do a good job. They also don’t cost you anything, so why not try them? 

5. Host fun team-building events

Regular team-building events are great ways to boost morale.

Here are some ideas:

Try hosting a sales team ‘happy hour’ with free food and drink. Or, organise activities like escape rooms and group workout classes.

With these incentives, your reps will spend more time together, share sales tips and become more enthusiastic about their work. 

After all, if they’re close to their colleagues, they’ll be more likely to work harder and enjoy the work they do.

Key takeaway

Take it from us:

There’s no set way to motivate your team. Every company is different. Every team is different. Every rep is different.

However, there are an endless array of incentives you can run to inspire your SDRs and keep them working hard. Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas.

And if you try any of our sales incentives, let us know! Click here to talk to us on LinkedIn 👇

Follow Cognism on LinkedIn

Read similar stories


What is a sales funnel
What is a Sales Funnel? And how to build one for 2023.
Boost sales conversions with a strategic sales funnel! Click to learn how to build sales funnel stages for 2023 with examples and a downloadable template.
The Importance of the Qualitative Mindset in Sales_Card
The Importance of the Qualitative Mindset in Sales
Sellers need to focus on leads that’ll convert in order to build quality pipeline. This requires a mindset shift from quantity to quality. Find out more.
4 tried and tested SDR competition ideas to skyrocket your MB rate_Resource card (1)
12 Winning Sales Competition Ideas to Inspire Your Team
Discover 12 inspiring sales competition ideas for SDRs, AEs and teams. Read this blog for detailed strategies and their unique benefits.

Experience the Diamond difference.

See how our phone verified contact data can increase your connect rate by 7x. Book a demo today.

Skyrocket your sales

Cognism gives you access to a global database and a wealth of data points with numbers that result in a live conversation.

Find customers ready to buy

Cognism intent data helps you identify accounts actively searching for your product or service – and target key decision makers when they’re ready to buy.