Sales Incentives
Oct 23, 2020

Best Sales SPIFF Ideas to Motivate Your Sales Reps

What is SPIFF in sales and why is it important? Here are some of the best sales SPIFF ideas for sales reps to keep them motivated at work to achieve more.

Running a successful, growing sales team is not an easy feat and it’s crucial to keep your team motivated with their ‘eyes on the prize’ all year round. Sales Spiffs or Sales Performance Incentive Fund is one of the best ways to do this. They can boost motivation and keep morale high. 

Sales SPIFF is a popular form of incentive. These give instant gratification to your sales reps after closing important deals. Whether you’re just beginning the fiscal year or trying to motivate your sales reps during the final quarter of the year, SPIFFs for sales reps can help keep them engaged. 

Do you know that one of the major advantages of using SPIFF is that they can help in reaching any sort of goal be it small or large? If you’re looking for some new ideas to motivate your employees, you’re in the right place! Let’s dive into what sales SPIFFs actually are and give you some good ideas to help motivate your sales team. 

What is Spiff in Sales?

A SPIFF, also known as a ‘spiv’ or SPIF, is a term used by sales teams to describe an immediate bonus for a sale. Spiff stands for sales performance incentive fund which is also known as a special performance incentive fund. While it isn’t completely clear where the term comes from, it’s known to stand for Sales Performance Incentive Fund - reflecting the idea of a short-term incentive to drive increased sales or exceed some short-term sales goals. Compensation is known to drive sales behavior, ultimately motivating sales reps and improving their performance.

The Pall Mall Gazette wrote a piece on the practices in London shops in 1890. They described the term SPIFF as “premiums placed on certain articles, not of the latest fashion, indicated by a marvelous hieroglyphics put on the price ticket”’.

However, the term has evolved and changed into something different today, usually referencing the sale of a specific product.

Sales SPIFF programs can promote several different types of incentives or rewards. These are usually paid by an employer to a member of their team who has sold a specific product. They could also be used to close any gaps in the pipeline, opportunities, or any metric that the business needs to improve upon by giving the sales team an extra push! 

The Different Types Of SPIFFs (Sales Performance Incentive Funds)

When taking your first steps towards diversifying your spiff incentive ideas, you need to consider what form you want these incentives to take. For example, cash or non-cash? Often a hybrid of the two can work well, but non-cash rewards are actually more effective in many cases

Getting the right mixture of incentives really depends on the type of sales behavior you want to promote. It also depends on how your team responds to various types of spiff incentives and which ones they prefer.


Cash, as the basis of compensation and commissions, is clearly an appealing sales incentive. Many individuals are motivated by money because it gives them choice over what they spend it on. In this sense, it is the most flexible reward of all!

When putting together your SPIFF scheme, make sure that you separate it from your compensation plan. Essentially, this makes sure that your cash incentive is appealing, and something worth working for. This motivates your sales reps to focus on a specific goal and find innovative ways to achieve it.

Usually, a cash incentive is set at a certain amount. For example, a $1,000 bonus for each deal closed during important times in the financial year, like the end of a quarter. This is particularly effective if this is when your team is known to secure the most deals. It will give them one final push to boost your revenue.

Non-Cash SPIFFs

On the other hand, cash isn’t always king. Some of your team might feel a cash incentive is less personal compared to the alternatives that are out there and aren’t as motivated by it as a reward. A non-cash reward leaves room for a little more creativity in your SPIFF scheme. Non-cash rewards can be incredibly effective so it’s no wonder that about 84% of U.S. companies use them to motivate their employees.

The options for non-cash incentives are endless! For example, you could organize a fine dining experience in a fancy restaurant that might otherwise be difficult to get into. Or, entertainment tickets for top seats in off-Broadway shows or sporting events can be equally enticing. These incentives aren’t things that your sales team might buy for themselves. They’re more exciting and offer your team something to look forward to!

The nature of these non-cash rewards is really dependent on your company and your sales team. What rewards would they enjoy the most? These are just a few of the examples that might appeal to the competitive nature of your team and drive more sales. 

Best Sales SPIFF Ideas for Sales Reps

Different types of sales SPIFF ideas that you could try out. Try to choose the ideas that you think your sales team will respond best to. It’s important that you test different ideas and get feedback so that you can find the strategy that works best for your company and your team. 

While cash is great, many studies have shown that non-cash rewards are actually more effective. There are many of the best non-cash sales SPIFF ideas to get you started. 

1. Gift Cards

Probably the most common of all the non-cash incentives, gift cards are a classic way to motivate your sales team. While they might technically be in the monetary category, they’re still something tangible to give to your sales reps. Gift cards are also very versatile. You can ask your sales reps what gift cards they want. That way, they can truly get something that they want out of it.

2. Entertainment and Travel

Tickets to shows, sporting events, or other experiences like fine dining or an out-of-town getaway are excellent sales SPIFF ideas. They are things that your reps might not usually spend money on. So, earning them through their hard work is rewarding and exciting! Travel vouchers or packages and weekend getaways are also very effective. They give your sales reps something to strive for and work toward. After all, who doesn’t love a little weekend away?

3. Activities

Similar to entertainment rewards, you could organize activities for your sales team to enjoy. Give them a day away from the office by sending them to the spa or out for a round of golf. These of course depend on what your employees would enjoy the most as not everyone would like the same thing.

4. Memberships and Subscriptions

Memberships are also very versatile sales SPIFF ideas and you can customize them depending on the preferences of your individual team members. For example, some might love a wine club subscription, while others may really enjoy a gym membership.

You could also get them a subscription box. These come in all sorts of categories meaning that you can personalize them to your sales rep’s tastes. Things like HelloFresh, FabFitFun, and Book of the Month are very popular right now and usually have different subscription options. So, think about giving your sales rep a 6- or 12-month subscription to a box that supports their personal interests. 

5. Status

In terms of status, some individuals find value in having a ‘better status’ than others. Mainly because it appeals to their desire to receive praise and recognition. Some examples include: featuring the top performer’s name in the leaderboard, inclusion to the President’s club, a better parking spot, or a displayable award or trophy. 

One way to do this is through gamification. Making your incentives program fun and competitive with a leaderboard is a great way to motivate your sales reps. You can then reward your top performers and everyone will see their status at the top!

6. Access

Another great sales SPIFF idea is to give your sales reps the opportunity to gain access to information, support, or resources that others might not. For example, first dibs on new accounts or clients, a private calling booth, or opportunities to attend valuable training sessions that puts them ahead of the competition.

However, like status SPIFFs, access isn’t without the occasional drawback. Take the following as an example, if a rep is motivated by money or status, they might feel this is a cop-out because it might come at no extra expense to the company. So, it’s best to consult with the rep to see if this is something they would actually like to receive.

7. Power

You could also leverage the idea of giving a successful sales rep more power and responsibility. With this, they can use their success to inspire change in fellow employees. Demonstrating proactive work means that such an individual would be a great role model for driving business improvements. 

Get Creative With Your Sales SPIFF Ideas

Engaging your sales team is so important if you’re looking to grow your business and revenue. Aside from the usual incentives, bonuses, and commission, Sales SPIFFs are an incredible way to achieve this. Being slightly unpredictable (often coupled with specific or even unusual products), makes them even more fun and exciting for your sales team! Whether you choose activities and gift cards or status incentives through gamification, just make sure you understand your team and what they respond best to for the greatest success. If at any time you feel like your sales reps are lacking motivation and their productivity is decreasing, give them a boost with sales spiffs.

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