Most sales leaders and sales teams talk about using Spiffs to hit certain goals.  To incent a certain revenue goal this month, to try to incent selling a new product, a new add-on, etc.  Sometimes, to incent folks to help others on the team.

A spiff — an extra bonus for achieving a goal beyond just their core bookings targets.

“Let’s Do a Spiff!” comes up on many sales calls.

But … do spiffs work?  I did a quick survey.  Most of you said … Meh.    20% said they don’t work at all, and 49% said only a little. 

In my two start-ups, we never really used spiffs.  We just had sales comp plans that paid a lot — a lot — for top performers.  And I also paid out my VP of Sales a big bonus for hitting the stretch plan.  That seemed to be all we needed.

But in the past few years, I’ve tried all different spiffs.  For us at least, what I’ve learned is they work best as a reward — not as an incentive. Spiffs are a ton of fun to reward for crushing a goal.

But do they incent sales execs to do something they might not otherwise do?  For me, the experience is No.  Not really.  And it seems to be the same for most of you.

So by all means, try spiffs.  Have fun.  Reward those that hit the goal.  But don’t expect them to magically change things.

(image from here)

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