The 4 W’s Of Sales Spiff Program Management

Sales operations folks have always been in a really numbers-driven position in the business world. They are on the hook to project numbers, accountable to deliver numbers and responsible to measure the results and then start all over again.

The challenge for so many of these folks when it comes to their sales incentives spend, is that they are flying blind when it comes to measuring the results.

While it is valuable to look at the top line sales, notice a lift and say “yup, its working,”there is more intelligence that you could be gathering to help you spend smarter when planning your next campaign. Here is a barrage of questions to help you answer that age-old question “do sales spiffs really work?” 


Who is getting paid?  Are the bulk of your incentive dollars being paid out to the usual suspects who were already selling your product at a high level, or has your program actually brought out the best in some new folks? What was it about this particular program that drove these new behaviors?  The more historical data you are able to measure against, the more insights you can draw here to make the best possible choices going forward.


What products are you paying out incentive claims on the most? Are you simply moving more of that lower margin, mass-market, entry-point SKU or has your program actually incented sales of some more upmarket products?  Is your program growing sales in a desirable way that leads to greater health of your company?


When are your programs generating the greatest amount of desired results? Are you able to use the programs to enhance sales during periods that are historically sales dry spells for your company?  Do you need an aggressive program in order to stay competitive on the showroom floor during the weekend of Black Friday or is the strong consumer will to purchase going to be enough to help you make your volume and margin numbers?


What territory, what dealer, what reseller is receiving the most incentives payments from you? Were they always a star, or has your program helped your company gain market share in a territory or dealer that was previously a bit soft for your company?  Can you dedicate more of your spend to that specific region/dealer/reseller if you know you are going to get more of the desired return?

In a world where big decisions are becoming ever more data-driven, it is easy to become bogged down by the very data we have collected to serve us. Knowing the difference between simple vanity metrics and the metrics that really matter is what is going to make your decisions as a sales operations or channel marketing person easier going forward. And isn’t that the point of all this digitization?

Jason King 360 IncentivesJason is the Content and Community guy at Connect with Jason on Twitter