Blog Post

5 Proven Ways to Incentivize Your Payroll Service Sales Team


Bet you didn’t know this: The word “incentive” is derived from a Latin music term that means “setting the tune.” When it comes to incentivizing employees to do their best, how does your payroll service bureau set a success-driving tune? Compiled from the best practices of top-selling companies, here are five proven practices for motivating your sales team.


  1. Set – and stretch – goals: Setting a sales goal, whether in volume or dollar amount, helps your team clearly envision their target numbers and develop their personal sales strategies accordingly. But in the same way that athletes elevate their games by pushing just a little farther than before, setting a stretch goal can help motivate your sales force to put in that extra effort to not only reach, but exceed the stated goal. Experts recommend a stretch goal that’s 20 percent over the initial target.
  2. Implement commission tiers and timelines: Commission tiers mean the higher the sales, the higher commission percentage a sales rep receives. It’s an effective incentive for your sales force to focus on getting one more meeting, one more client, one more sale – pushing themselves to attain that next highest tier. But while landing new clients and sales obviously is important, savvy marketers understand that retaining and ultimately upselling existing payroll service clients is key to long-term success. That’s where commission timelines come in. Too often, sales reps focus solely on landing new customers for the initial commission. Offer them additional commissions annually for keeping those customers happily engaged and upgrading their service contracts.
  3. Award commissions according to what and when a client pays: Paying commissions based on what your customer actually pays will help to discourage the use of discounts, free trials and other often counterproductive purchase incentives that can chip away at your payroll service bureau’s bottom line. Also, while some bureaus pay out commissions upfront or upon the signing of a contract, a far safer and more effective method is to pay sales commissions only after the customer has paid. If a rep lands a deal with a client for a year’s subscription payable via monthly installments, the rep also should receive commissions on a monthly basis so that your company won’t be out nine months of both client pay and commission funds should the client cancel three months into an agreement. This method helps to assure that your sales force will focus not just on the quantity of sales but the quality and potential longevity of those contracts.
  4. Keep it transparent: Start by assuring that your commission and bonus structure is clearly communicated and that reps understand exactly how their monthly commissions are calculated. Post a daily running tally of sales to help foster healthy competition among team members. At the end of the month, consider allowing all sales reps to view their coworkers’ commissions and ask the high achievers to share their top sales tips with their teammates. This will help to foster trust, fairness and ongoing sales training in your organization.
  5. Celebrate success: This can be done in a multitude of ways, including awarding bonuses for specific, over-and-above results, and recognizing and rewarding top achievers in each quarter. One creative approach that works wonders is setting aside a percentage of new revenue each quarter toward a particular reward that the full team votes on, such as a restaurant outing, game or concert tickets or some high-end company swag.


Of course, equipping your sales force with the best tools lends confidence and boosts competitiveness. And Apex HCM offers a full suite of top-line payroll, HR and time and attendance software and tools. Call 877-750-2739 to schedule a demo today.