Incentive Compensation Management with Anaplan: How to Motivate Your Sales Team, Achieve Goals, and Drive Revenue

Incentive Compensation Management with Anaplan: How to Motivate Your Sales Team, Achieve Goals, and Drive Revenue

By Marta Teneva

Incentive Compensation Management with Anaplan: How to Motivate Your Sales Team, Achieve Goals, and Drive Revenue

By Milan Pinalov

June 6, 2024

Incentive compensation management is no small feat, especially when trying to align diverse sales goals with overarching business objectives. 

Many companies struggle with outdated systems that fail to effectively motivate their sales force, leading to decreased sales performance and increased turnover.  

If you find yourself wrestling with these issues, you’re not alone. 

Here’s something to consider:  

  • 90% of top-performing companies use incentive programs to reward salespeople. 
  • Businesses with a well-structured sales incentive program report a 79% success rate in achieving their established sales goals when rewards are offered.  
  • Moreover, 50% of sales reps prefer reward experiences that focus solely on the recognition and presentation of the award itself, pointing to the significant impact of how incentives are perceived and delivered. 

This article will explore why effective incentive programs are crucial and how they can dramatically improve your sales team’s motivation and performance.  

We will discuss the essence of sales incentives, go over the compelling reasons for establishing a robust sales incentive program, and provide step-by-step guidance on creating an incentive plan that resonates with your sales team and aligns with your business strategy.  

What’s more, we’ll examine how Anaplan can streamline and enhance your incentive compensation management to handle the challenges of modern sales environments. 

Plus, we’ll share 21 innovative sales incentive ideas that could transform your team’s motivation and drive their performance. 


What Are Sales Incentives?

Sales incentives are rewards or compensations designed specifically to motivate sales employees to meet or exceed their sales targets. These incentives are not just random perks; they are carefully crafted elements of a broader strategic approach to enhance sales performance and business growth.

At their core, sales incentives can take various forms, each chosen based on the culture and goals of the organization. Common types include:

  • Cash Bonuses: These are straightforward and highly effective. They offer immediate gratification and clear value, making them a popular choice for short-term goals.
  • Gift Cards and Vouchers: Flexible and less personal than cash, these allow recipients to choose their own rewards, which can enhance the feeling of personal achievement.
  • Commission Increases: For sales roles, temporary or permanent increases in commission rates give a direct boost to earnings proportional to performance.
  • Trips and Getaways: These are often used as rewards for meeting yearly or quarterly goals and serve as a significant incentive for competitive sales teams.
  • Tangible Items: From electronics to luxury goods, tangible rewards can be highly motivating, especially when they are items that employees might not purchase for themselves.
  • Experiential Rewards: Unique experiences, such as concerts, dinners, or adventure sports, can create lasting memories and are increasingly popular among companies looking to foster a more engaging work culture.
Graphic showing different types of sales incentives. Categories listed are: Cash Bonuses, Gift Cards and Vouchers, Commission Increases, Trips and Getaways, Tangible Items, and Experiential Rewards.

The main goal of these incentives is clear: to encourage higher performance and commitment from sales teams. This is achieved by aligning the personal goals of the sales staff with the strategic objectives of the organization. When sales professionals see how their efforts contribute directly to the company’s success—and how they are rewarded for these efforts—they are more likely to push harder, reach higher, and stay with the company longer.

Moreover, effective sales incentives serve multiple purposes: they not only drive sales numbers but also help in cultivating a motivated, loyal, and energetically competitive atmosphere within the team. This environment fosters better teamwork, creativity, and overall job satisfaction, which are essential for sustained high performance.

Implementing a diverse range of incentives also reflects an understanding that different people are motivated by different types of rewards. A well-rounded incentive program is inclusive and offers something for everyone, ensuring that all members of the sales team are engaged and driven to succeed.

By aligning incentives with your company’s strategic goals and ensuring they are desirable to your sales team, you create a powerful symbiosis that can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your sales operations and, ultimately, the profitability of your business.

Why Are Incentives for Sales Important?

Incentives are a critical component in a sales management strategy for several reasons. They help create a motivated and competitive atmosphere within the team, leading to improved sales performance. Additionally, well-structured incentives align the goals of individual sales representatives with the broader objectives of the organization, ensuring a unified approach to business growth.

Graphic explaining the importance of sales incentives. Benefits mentioned are: Motivation and Engagement, Improved Sales Performance, Strategic Alignment, Retention and Loyalty, and Cultural Benefits.

Motivation and Engagement

Incentives keep the team’s energy levels high. They offer something tangible to strive for beyond regular salaries, making daily efforts feel more rewarding. Whether it’s a monetary bonus, a vacation, or recognition at a company event, these rewards provide personal satisfaction and public acknowledgment of a job well done, which boosts morale and engagement.

Strategic Alignment

Well-designed incentives do more than just encourage hard work; they ensure that the efforts of sales representatives are aligned with the company’s broader strategic goals. For instance, if a company wants to break into a new market or promote a new product, incentives can be tailored to reward those who successfully sell in these new areas or meet product-specific targets. This strategic alignment helps maintain a unified direction in all sales activities, ensuring that every effort contributes directly to the company’s overarching objectives.

Improved Sales Performance

The direct correlation between incentives and sales performance is well-documented. Incentives drive sales teams to work harder and more efficiently. The promise of a reward for achieving specific targets can turn mundane tasks into exciting opportunities. As a result, sales figures can see significant growth, driven by motivated individuals who see the value in maximizing their output.

Retention and Loyalty

In today’s competitive job market, retaining top sales talent can be as challenging as attracting them. A strong incentive program ensures that your best salespeople feel valued and fairly compensated for their efforts, which increases their loyalty to the company. This is crucial for maintaining a stable sales force and avoiding the costs associated with high turnover.

Cultural Benefits

Beyond individual motivation, incentives contribute to a culture of success and achievement. They set a standard of excellence that permeates throughout the organization. This culture of success breeds further success, as new employees enter into a motivating environment where high performance is both expected and tangibly rewarded.

5 Reasons Why You Need a Sales Incentive Program

A structured incentives program is a fundamental component of a successful sales strategy. Here are five key reasons why implementing a robust sales incentive program can significantly contribute to your organization’s success:

Graphic listing five reasons why you need a sales incentive program. The reasons are: Boosts Motivation and Morale, Enhances Performance, Reduces Employee Turnover, Aligns Sales Goals, and Encourages Continuous Improvement.

Reason #1: Boosts Motivation and Morale

Regular incentives are vital in keeping the sales team engaged, driven, and happy. Sales can often be a challenging and exhausting field, requiring constant client interactions and high-energy commitments. Incentive programs that reward achieving targets not only boost morale but also help maintain a high level of motivation across the team. This motivation translates into employees going the extra mile to close deals and exceed their sales targets, directly impacting the overall productivity and energy of your sales force.

Reason #2: Enhances Performance

There is a clear and measurable connection between well-structured incentives and enhanced sales performance. Incentives act as a catalyst that motivates sales teams to exceed their regular performance thresholds. By offering tangible rewards for specific achievements, incentives make the pursuit of sales goals more attractive and worthwhile. This not only helps in achieving current sales objectives but also sets a pace for sustained performance improvements, as employees continuously strive to meet the incentivized benchmarks.

Reason #3: Reduces Employee Turnover

The competitive nature of the sales job market makes it essential for companies to not only attract but also retain top talent. A competitive and fair incentive program plays a critical role in employee retention strategies. By recognizing and rewarding the hard work of your sales staff, you underline their value to the organization, thereby fostering loyalty and reducing the likelihood of them moving to competing firms. This stability is crucial for maintaining the continuity and efficiency of your sales operations.

Reason #4: Aligns Sales Goals

Effective incentive programs are designed to align closely with the strategic goals of the company. They ensure that every member of the sales team is not just working towards personal success but is also contributing to the company’s broader objectives. For example, if the strategic goal is to enter new markets or increase market share in existing sectors, incentives can be tailored to reward those who pioneer these initiatives, thus ensuring that personal efforts are directly linked to corporate goals.

Reason #5: Encourages Continuous Improvement

Incentives are not just rewards; they are also motivators for continuous personal and professional development. By setting new benchmarks and linking them with attractive rewards, incentives encourage sales personnel to continually enhance their skills and tactics. This pursuit of excellence means that your sales team is not static; they are evolving, learning, and improving, which in turn drives the growth and adaptability of your business in a competitive landscape.


How to Make a Sales Incentives Plan That Actually Works?

Creating a sales incentives plan that yields real results requires understanding what motivates your team and aligning it with your company’s strategic goals. It’s about setting clear, achievable targets, effectively communicating them, and ensuring the rewards are desirable and delivered in a timely manner. To ensure effectiveness, regularly engage with your team to gather feedback on what incentives truly drive their performance and adjust the program accordingly. It’s crucial to monitor the effectiveness of the incentive plan continuously and make necessary adjustments to keep the incentives relevant and motivating. Additionally, consider the diversity of your team when crafting incentives, as a one-size-fits-all approach may not address individual motivational drivers effectively.

7 Steps to Effective Sales Incentives Compensation Management

Step #1: Define Clear Objectives

Every effective incentive plan starts with clear, measurable goals. What do you want to achieve with your sales team? Higher revenue? More new customers? Define these goals clearly and ensure they are aligned with your business objectives.

Step #2: Choose the Right Incentives

Not all rewards resonate the same with every salesperson. While some may prefer cash bonuses, others might find trips or physical gifts more motivating. Tailor your incentives to suit different personalities and preferences within your team.

Step #3: Communicate Transparently

The criteria for earning incentives should be crystal clear to everyone on the team. This transparency helps avoid confusion and ensures fairness, which is crucial for maintaining morale and trust.

Step #4: Leverage Technology for Management

Managing an incentive program manually can be fraught with errors and inefficiencies. Use technology solutions like Anaplan to automate and streamline the management of your incentive programs.

Step #5: Monitor and Evaluate

It’s not enough to set up an incentive program and hope for the best. Regularly track the performance and the impact of your incentive programs and be prepared to adjust them as necessary to ensure they continue to meet your strategic goals effectively.

Step #6: Ensure Compliance

Your incentive program must comply with industry standards and legal requirements. This is crucial not only for ethical reasons but also to avoid potential legal issues.

Step #7: Celebrate Achievements

Recognizing and celebrating achievements is a powerful motivator. It shows your team that their efforts are noticed and valued, which can inspire continued excellence.

Graphic illustrating seven steps to effective sales incentives compensation management. The steps are: Define Clear Objectives, Choose the Right Incentives, Communicate Transparently, Leverage Technology for Management, Monitor and Evaluate, Ensure Compliance, and Celebrate Achievements.

Anaplan Incentives Compensation Management Software

Effective incentive compensation is key to aligning your sales team’s goals with your company’s strategic objectives. Anaplan offers a powerful, cloud-based solution that addresses common challenges faced in incentive management and drives sales performance.

Anaplan’s Approach to Common Challenges

Anaplan tackles the critical pain points in incentive compensation head-on, offering tailored solutions that streamline and elevate the entire process.

Graphic describing Anaplan's approach to common challenges with three focus areas: Automating Manual Processes, Enhancing Visibility, and Optimizing Time.

Automating Manual Processes

Anaplan minimizes commission errors by automating compensation calculations, increasing accuracy and efficiency.

Enhancing Visibility

The platform provides real-time insights for reps and stakeholders, reducing disputes and enhancing transparency.

Optimizing Time

By ensuring data reliability, Anaplan keeps disputes to a minimum, allowing teams to focus on selling and optimizing plans.

Anaplan’s Streamlined Planning and Adaptation

Anaplan’s platform redefines the agility and intelligence of incentive compensation management, ensuring your strategies are robust and responsive.

Graphic detailing Anaplan's streamlined planning and adaptation. Key points include: Comprehensive Management, Real-time Insights, Connected Planning, and Scenario Analysis.

Comprehensive Management

Anaplan facilitates the management of varied compensation elements and enables swift adjustments in response to shifts in market strategies.

Real-time Insights

Sales performance data is updated in real-time, providing accurate tracking and analysis.

Connected Planning

Sales compensation planning is seamlessly integrated within your overarching go-to-market strategy, fostering growth and coherence throughout the organization.

Scenario Analysis

Real-time modeling supports strategic planning and prompt adaptation to alterations in business objectives or market dynamics.

By simplifying incentive compensation management, Anaplan helps your sales team stay motivated and in tune with evolving business goals, ultimately enhancing growth and revenue.


21 Sales Incentive Ideas That Will Motivate Your Sales Team

 The right incentives can be the fuel that powers your team’s drive and determination. Crafting a compelling incentive program means thinking beyond the traditional bonus structure and tailoring rewards that resonate with your team’s diverse motivations and desires.

Here are 21 inventive and impactful incentive ideas, each designed to ignite enthusiasm and foster a culture of achievement within your sales force.

1.     Profit Sharing

Share the wealth to make success tangible. Profit sharing directly ties rewards to the company’s success, giving employees a sense of ownership and a vested interest in driving sales.

2.     Paid Training Opportunities

Investing in your team’s growth pays dividends. Offering paid training opportunities encourages continuous learning and helps sales reps stay ahead in the competitive market, bringing new skills and insights back to your business.

3.     Extra Vacation Days

Rest and rejuvenation can boost performance. Rewarding top performers with extra days off acknowledges their hard work and gives them the well-deserved break they need to return more focused and productive.

4.     Public Recognition

A moment in the spotlight can make a big difference. Publicly recognizing outstanding achievements can boost the recipient’s morale and inspire the whole team to strive for excellence.

5.     Tickets to Sporting or Cultural Events

Provide experiences that create memories. Tickets to sought-after events not only serve as an exciting reward but also offer a reprieve from the daily grind, enriching your team’s work-life balance.

6.     Special Lunches or Dinners

Break bread on the company’s dime to celebrate success. These social rewards can also double as networking opportunities, further enriching your team’s professional connections.

7.     Company Stock Options

Let them invest in the future. Stock options can make employees feel like true partners in the company, aligning their long-term interests with the company’s success.

8.     Choice of Assignments

Autonomy is a powerful motivator. Allowing top performers to choose their projects or clients can lead to higher job satisfaction and a sense of control over their success.

9.     VIP Parking Spots

Sometimes, convenience is king. A VIP parking spot saves time and adds a daily reminder of recognition for their contributions to the company.

10. Tech Gadgets Like Tablets or Smartphones

Equip your team with the latest technology. Not only does this serve as a trendy and desired reward, but it also ensures your team has the best tools for the job.

11. Subscription Services (Streaming, Magazines)

Keep them entertained and informed. Subscriptions to popular services offer a personal touch to rewards, catering to the individual’s interests.

12. Office Upgrades

Create a better workspace. Upgrading an employee’s office or workspace can have a lasting impact on their daily comfort and productivity.

13. Team Outings

Strengthen bonds outside the office. Team outings reward the group effort and can build camaraderie, leading to better collaboration.

14. Health Club Memberships

Prioritize their health and wellness. A membership can show you care about their well-being, which is integral to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

15. Charitable Giving in Their Name

Make a difference in their honor. Donating to a cause important to your employee can be deeply meaningful and reflect shared values.

16. Books and Learning Resources

Fuel their knowledge and expertise. Providing resources for personal and professional development shows an investment in their future.

17. Home Office Stipends

Support their remote working environment. A stipend for home office improvements can greatly enhance their comfort and productivity.

18. “President’s Club” or High Achiever Retreats

Reward excellence with exclusivity. These retreats offer relaxation and networking opportunities, reinforcing the status and success of your top performers.

19. Early Release Days

Give the gift of time. Early release days are a simple yet effective way to reward hard work and give employees a jumpstart on their personal time.

20. Special One-on-One Mentoring Sessions

Offer guidance from the top. Personalized mentoring from company leaders can provide invaluable insights and growth opportunities.

21. Custom Awards or Trophies

Create a lasting symbol of their achievements. A custom award or trophy can be displayed with pride, serving as a reminder of their accomplishments and the company’s appreciation.

Optimize Incentive Compensation Plans with B EYE and Anaplan

To truly transform your sales incentive strategies and motivate your team effectively, leveraging the combined expertise of B EYE and Anaplan can be your key to success. Together, we help you build a scalable, flexible, and efficient platform that not only motivates your team but also drives significant business growth.

Join us in our upcoming webinar to for more invaluable insights into incentive management and a live demonstration of how Anaplan can make your incentive strategies more effective than ever.