Use SPIFs to Spice Up SDR Performance

Sales Performance Incentive Funds (SPIFs or SPIFFs) are a great way for Sales Management to motivate their teams. A SPIF is a paid bonus for Sales Development and Sales teams for their achievement of specific goals. SPIFs earn money separately from the commission plan, and drive specific behavior or the achievement of short term goals. Commissions are part of the team members earnings based on hitting quotas.

SPIFs are a quick incentive to channel sales goals and certain behaviors. For example, if your team isn’t making enough dials or hitting their Key Conversations quota (read more here and download the free CRM Field Mapping Resource), you can have a fun program with sales incentives to focus the team and hit targets.

SPIFs are Effective When Done Right

When I was managing both SDR and Sales teams, I had to follow 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 needed better results.

Done correctly, SPIFs are a great way to re-energize teams, increase sales, and shift focus away from daily, tedious work. SDRs carry out 50-100 dials per day, most of the time not connecting with anyone or getting a “not interested” response.

Thus, it’s not unusual for team success and confidence to degrade over time. SPIFs create a competitive atmosphere as the winners of SPIF-related goals receive spot bonuses and compensation for their results.

SPIFs are also effective training methods; team members compete against each other while collaborating on skills and experience.

SPIFs Produce Measurable Results

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 SDR has with a C-Level Executive or a person who is a key decision maker. These are the people who understand the issues and can provide the best insights into their needs and pain. Conversations with these prospects tend to improve the quality of leads. Thus, these leads are most valued by Sales Reps.
  • SDR Pipeline: Effective SDR teams have 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, however, they are not quite ready to turn over to sales. For example, if the lead quota is 8 per SDR per month, the list of Potential Leads should be around 3X that number. In this case, it would be 24 to ensure that Sales receives 8 leads by month’s end.
  • Key Conversations: These are conversations 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 SDR has, the more likely they will meet their monthly lead quota.

KPIs such as C-Level conversations, SDR Funnel size, and Key Conversations have a more direct impact on lead quality and sales pipeline growth. In addition to these SPIFs I have used a “Dial-Ramp” SPIF when team dials have dropped by 25-30%. I call these SPIFs Power-dial days to show the team how making more dials can dramatically impact their KPIs.

Make it Fun!

Make a big deal out of your SPIF days. Create a brochure to announce the SPIF goals and objectives, as well as 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 incentive compensation 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 SPIF bonus. Then at day’s end, have a big celebration to celebrate the winners of the hourly bonuses, and announce the biggest winner of the day.

The frequency 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.

Read the blogpost “Track These Metrics to Build a Viable Sales Pipeline” to learn more and be sure to download our free CRM Field Mapping Resource.

Read the book The Radical Pipeline Strategy: How to Grow Pipeline and Revenue by Optimizing Sales Development. This book outlines tested best practices and implementation strategies that I developed while rebooting and building 65 SDR and Inside Sales organizations.

The Radical Pipeline Strategy Book by Alicia Assefa

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