Monetary incentives like sales commissions, bonus and spiffs are generally the preferred method when a sales leader wants to boost employees’ motivation and engagement. But there are actually plenty of other ways to incentivize sales reps! The old adage, “Money Talks, Bullshit Walks”, may not seem as true in a world where many of the most successful companies have taken a different approach to motivating their employees.

In this blog post, we’re going to explore how some of these innovative companies are getting their teams motivated without relying on additional cash bonuses.

Time off!

Did you know that a report from Glassdoor Economic Research highlighted that granting an extra day of vacation time and/or paid time off is one of the most valuable perks for employees, ranked in second place just after health insurance benefits. It is ranked as one of the best predictors of employee satisfaction.

We’ve asked a couple of members of the Operations.Family and they confirmed: some employees value even more paid time off than pay raises as it helps them achieve a better work-life balance.

So next time your sales reps crush their target, just tell them to get extra days out of the company so they can spend time with family and friends, engage in new projects or travel.

Time is priceless.

Help them grow their career and expertise

Here is a good idea to reward your employees that could ultimately be beneficial for the whole company: help them grow in their career and expertise!

Did you ever read Daniel Pink’s fourth non-fiction book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”? In this book, Daniel Pink explains that people are mostly driven by three intrinsic motivators: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.

Mastery is the urge to get better skills and the desire to constantly improve.

Consider offering them all-expenses paid trips to industry conferences, events or seminars. Such events are a great way to:

  • learn from the best (these events usually organize keynotes led by successful executives);
  • network with relevant people in your industry (founders, executives, investors);
  • have fun;
  • better understand the market (biggest names or competitors might also attend these events);

Another idea is to pay for professional training. There are a number of topics you can train your sales team on:

  • negotiation,
  • account planning,
  • storytelling,
  • discovery,
  • mastering linkedin,
  • building mutual plans
  • territory planning
  • etc..

Training sessions can also give them a boost if you provide them with a glimpse of how their career could evolve. Give them a career path and explain to them how mastering these skills could lead them to their next role!

Why not organise a meeting with influencers or motivational speakers? Inspirational speakers can often bring a different perspective, turn perceived challenges into opportunities or replace complexity with simpler approaches. Bringing someone in for a fireside chat can really help bring energy to the organization, show your team how they can be successful, or simply bring fun in the workplace 🙂

Offer quality time with the leadership

Invite your top-performers to a lunch with the CEO, the Chief Revenue Officer or one of your company’s leaders. It’s an incredible boost to have the opportunity to spend quality time and feel connected with someone they admire in the company. Share with them the vision of the company, how you think about the culture or the market, fun stories about the early days (when the CEO was handling deliveries), or simply more context about strategic decisions that were recently made.

Quick remark, as the organization scales, the CEO can often lose touch with what is happening in the organization. Meeting with the people who work further down the organization is actually a great habit to have. You never know what a launch with that promising top sales performer could bring!

Consider small things that make a difference

You do not always need to pull out all the stops to reward your employees. Sometimes, simple courtesies can truly show your team that you care!

Consider things like a public shout-out, an award with their name engraved on it or a personal thank you letter. A culture of recognition can be one of the most powerful ways to drive results and increase engagement in your sales team. Next time you want to highlight the achievement of someone, go to the sales floor and congratulate that person in front of everyone!

Also, think about endorsing their skills on linkedin, or writing a great review on their profile.

Last but not least, how about putting a small gift on their desk when they arrive at the office in the morning. It doesn’t have to be super fancy. Find something personalized. The intention is everything!

Help them create precious memories about their time working at your company

What better way to make sure your employees are having a good time at your company than helping them create great memories! Find creative ways to spawn meaningful work experience and fond memories. These precious moments will build strong ties in your team. Don’t forget, they are also what your employees will tell their friends when talking about their work. So help them feel proud about having chosen to join your team!


We hope that, after reading this article, you don’t necessarily think that cash is king when it comes to motivating employees. There are indeed plenty of other ways sales leaders can encourage staff performance and drive engagement without relying on additional cash bonuses or commissions.

How about your own team?! What’s the most appreciated non-cash incentive in your company?

If you’ve got questions about how to implement such incentives in your team, or just want to brainstorm with us about ways to motivate the sales floor, please reach out – we’d be more than happy to chat!

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