Sales Management: Sales Performance Incentive Funds (SPIFs) That Work

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Sales Performance Inventive Funds (SPIFs) are a great way for Sales Management to motivate their teams. A SPIF is a bonus, paid to Teleprospecting and Sales teams for their achievement of specific goals. SPIFs are paid separately from the commission plan, and can be used to drive specific behavior or achieve specific goals.

In my experience, I was given a specific SPIF budget ($900-$1,200) per quarter and asked to determine the areas that required improvement. Having identified the issues, I would assign a SPIF day and week(s), and gather the team to focus on the issue that requires attention.

Done correctly, SPIFs are a great way to re-energize teams and shift their focus from daily, tedious work. Teleprospectors carry out 50-100 dials per day. Many times they are received with rejection. Team success and confidence can degrade over time. SPIFs create a competitive atmosphere, as spot bonuses are distributed when each objective is reached.

SPIFs are also effective training methods, with team members competing against each other, while collaborating skills and experience.

My most effective SPIFs have aimed to improve the following Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

  • C-Level /Key Decision Maker Conversations:  These are the conversations that a Teleprospector has with a C-Level Executive or a person who is a key decision maker.  Conversations with these prospects tend to improve the quality of leads.  These are the people who understand the issues and can provide the best insights into their needs and pain.  These leads are most valued by Sales Reps.
  • Teleprospecting Funnel: Effective Teleprospecting teams are assigned a monthly lead quota.  In order to achieve this quota, they will need a list of “potential leads”.  These potential leads may have some of the qualification criteria.  They, however, are not quite ready to turn over to sales.  For example, if the lead quota is 8 per Teleprospector, per month, the list of Potential Leads should be around 3X that number of 24, to ensure that 8 will be turned over to Sales by month end.
  • Key Conversations:  A Key Conversation is a conversation with a person who can provide insights and answer the basic qualification questions that are required to make a lead qualified.  The more Key Conversations a Teleprospector has, the more likely they will meet their monthly lead quota.

While dials are important – Teleprospecting is a telephone job – they are not directly responsible for Sales Funnel and revenue growth.  KPIs such as C-Level conversations, Teleprospecting Funnel size and Key Conversations have a more direct impact on lead quality and sales funnel growth.  I have, however, used a “Dial-Ramp” SPIF when team dials have dropped by 25-30%. Power-dial days show the team how making more dials can dramatically impact their KPIs.

Make a big deal out of your SPIF days.  Create a flyer to announce the SPIF goals and objectives, the rules and hours of “play”.  If your budget allows, bring in lunch and take a team lunch break to enable them to share their experiences and early results. I recommend that small bonus amounts, for specific objectives, be paid out hourly.  For example, every hour set a Key Conversation goal.  The first person to meet that hourly goal would receive a $50 bonus.  Then at day’s end, have a big celebration, to celebrate the winners of the hourly bonuses and announce the over-all winner for the day.

The rhythm of your SPIFs will depend on team morale and performance issues.  SPIFs shouldn’t be the norm.  Rather, they should be used to re-energize the team and improve specific areas of performance.