What is a Spiff? Meaning of Sales Spiff and Types

Boost sales team success with strategic Sales Spiff programs. Define clear objectives, tailor incentives, and measure results.

It’s a tough spot for a sales manager when only 3 out of 10 members of the team hit their sales quota. Missing sales targets means missing opportunities and building a tense atmosphere in the workplace. While it’s not a magic pill, the solution to this challenge might be Spiff. Spiff stands for Sales Performance Incentive Fund also known as Sales Program Incentive Fund.  

This blog post delves into the basics of the Spiff in sales and shares the ingredients you will need to start a successful Spiff program.  

What is Spiff in sales?

Spiffs in sales are short-term sales incentives or bonuses awarded to the sales team to motivate them to achieve their sales targets. It can be offered to an individual or the entire team. Think of sales spiff as a quick win for your sales reps and a simple yet powerful way to get your team excited and focused on their targets.  

Let’s understand this with an example. Imagine you push a new product in the market; you decide to offer a cash spiff bonus to those reps who sell the highest number of units of the product in a one-month timeframe.

Designing a Sales Spiff Program

Before you decide to offer a spiff bonus to your sales team, you need to build a Spiff program. There are different factors that you must consider when building this program, here are a few of them to help you get started:

Set clear goals

For designing the sales spiff program, you must build the foundation by setting clear goals. Vague goals lead to confusion, on the other hand, clear goals tell your sales team exactly what actions will earn them the Spiff payment.  

Here are a few pointers that will help you to set a clear goal for your sales team:

  • What do you want to achieve with this Spiff program?
  • Are you focusing on promoting a specific product or service?
  • Do you want to increase revenue, improve customer satisfaction, or something else?

Talk to your sales team

We also suggest that you work on the Spiff goals with your sales team. Every sales team is unique, and what motivates one group may not work for another. Understanding your sales team's individual and collective motivations is critical.

A few best ways to do that are conducting surveys, holding discussions, and gathering feedback to determine what drives your sales professionals. This information will help you create a sales spiff that will resonate with your team's values and aspirations.

Identify KPIs

Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your objectives. These metrics could include sales revenue, conversion rates, customer satisfaction scores, or market share. Ensure these metrics are measurable and trackable, allowing you to gauge the spiff program's effectiveness.

Invest in tools

Invest in software and tools that make tracking and reporting easy. These systems will provide real-time data on sales performance and reduce manual work to measure the impact of your spiff program. It will also allow you to regularly analyze the results and adjust the program based on the data to ensure continuous improvement.

Train your team

Not all members of your sales team will be aware of the spiff program. Allocate time to train your sales team and educate them on the upside of this program. Conduct training sessions regularly to improve their skills and product knowledge.

Take feedback

Establish a feedback mechanism where salespeople can provide input and suggestions regarding the spiff program. Their insights will help you refine the program and make it more effective

Keep an eye on competitors

Perform a competitive analysis of sales incentives in your industry. You will gain valuable insights about what motivates top performers and help you improve your sales spiff program. This will make you stand out from the crowd, and attract and retain the best high-caliber sales professionals.

Types of Sales Spiffs

Choosing a sales spiff is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The most successful Spiff programs are tailored to the company’s goals, the sales team’s preferences, and the nature of products or services.  

  • Cash Bonuses: This is one of the most common types of sales spiffs. Sales reps receive a monetary reward based on achieving specific sales targets or goals. These bonuses are structured as flat amounts or a percentage of the sales.
  • Gift Cards and Vouchers: Offering gift cards or vouchers that can be used at various retailers or restaurants is another common form of Spiff payment. This kind of sales spiff adds an element of choice that can be appealing to the sales team.
  • Travel Incentives: Sales spiffs that offer travel incentives include vacations, trips, or weekend getaways as rewards for achieving sales goals. Travel incentives are often highly motivating and are a significant perk.
  • Product Discounts: The sales team gets discounts or exclusive pricing on the products or services they sell. This type of spiff is particularly effective in industries where employees are likely to use the company's offerings themselves.  
  • Prizes and Awards: Sales spiffs are also offered in the form of physical prizes or awards, such as electronics, jewelry, or even company-branded merchandise. These tangible rewards are useful to increase excitement and healthy competition among team members.
  • Recognition and Public Acknowledgment: Recognizing top performers publicly within the organization is a powerful type of sales spiff. This involves featuring the salesperson's achievements in company newsletters, on bulletin boards, or during team meetings.
  • Commission Overrides: In addition to regular commissions, some companies offer commission overrides for achieving specific sales targets. This means that when a salesperson achieves a particular milestone, they receive a higher commission rate on those sales.
  • Performance-Based Bonuses: Instead of a fixed cash bonus, some companies offer bonuses tied to performance metrics like customer satisfaction scores, the number of new clients acquired, or sales growth in a particular market segment.
  • Team-Based Spiffs: Rather than individual rewards, some spiff programs focus on team performance. The entire sales team receives a reward when collective goals are met, fostering teamwork and collaboration.
  • Points-Based Systems: In this type of spiff program, salespeople earn points for achieving different milestones or objectives. They can then redeem these points for rewards of their choice from a catalog of options.
  • Profit Sharing: In profit-sharing spiff programs, a portion of the company's profits are distributed among sales employees based on their contribution to sales.
  • Stock Options or Equity: This is mostly seen in startups and publicly traded companies; sales professionals receive stock options or equity as part of their spiff program.

Pitfalls to Avoid While Designing Sales Spiffs

If you’re running a sales spiff program for the first time, make a note of the following common pitfalls. When you know them, you’re prepared beforehand to avoid these and save time and energy.  

Overcomplicating the Program

Complexity can lead to confusion and decreased motivation. Keep your spiff program simple and easy to understand to avoid overwhelming your sales team.

Inadequate Budgeting

Be realistic about your budget and ensure it aligns with your goals. Underestimating the financial requirements of your spiff program might demotivate your sales team which you wouldn’t want.  

Lack of Consistency

Consistency is essential in maintaining motivation. Avoid constantly changing the program's rules or incentives, as this will lead to uncertainty and reduced engagement.

Ignoring Compliance and Legal Considerations

Make sure your spiff program complies with legal and industry regulations. Consult with legal experts if necessary to ensure your program is ethically and legally sound.

Ethical Considerations

Avoid pushing your sales team to engage in unethical practices to earn rewards. Ensure your program aligns with your company's values and ethical standards.

Spiffs – Fueling your sales engine

Spiffs are a powerful tool to keep your sales team motivated, excited, and pumped for achieving short-term goals. Implementing a well-designed sales spiff program requires setting up clear objectives, communicating with the sales team, and establishing KPIs among other things. But, when done correctly, it will have a significant impact on the sales performance and overall team morale.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the benefits of sales spiff programs?

Sales spiff programs are a big push for your sales team. By offering rewards for hitting specific goals, Spiffs increase motivation among your sales team members, sharpen their focus, and drive results. This leads to a more productive team, happier salespeople, and ultimately a bigger bottom line.  

2. How do you choose the right type of sales spiff for your team?

Choosing the perfect spiff program requires understanding your company’s goals like more revenue or new market entry. It also factors in the team’s motivations and the best way to find that out is by talking to your sales representatives and finding out what drives them. Once you have that information, pick a Spiff that aligns with both their desires and business objectives.

3. What are the Key Performance Indicators for measuring the success of sales spiff programs?

Key metrics like sales revenue, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction are the most common KPIs used by companies. Market share gains, high sales team participation, and ROI are other metrics that must be calculated.  

Find out how Compport can help you manage all your Sales Incentive process, book a demo today!

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