Some salespeople have been with you for years, others only months. How do you motivate both camps? Peripheral Enhancements, in Ada, Okla., has incentives for the year, quarter, month, week, and even for the hour. "I have a bonus plan in place at all times," says Jeff Thompson, president of the $72-million manufacturer of computer-memory products. While some of Thompson's best performers among his 24 salespeople thrive by working toward quarterly and yearly goals, others, particularly the newcomers, respond better to daily stimuli.

His most effective sales contests reinforce the value of staying in touch with customers. For example, when Thompson buys a large quantity of computer-memory parts at a great price, he runs an "overstock" contest--for so many lots sold over a certain price, the salesperson puts his or her name in a hat to win $100. It's an incentive to get salespeople to call old clients, as well as cold-call prospects, about the latest bargain.

Many of the bonuses are tied to gross profit rather than sales volume. On certain days, the person who contributes the most to the gross profit wins an extra $100 to $500. To make it easier for salespeople to offer attractive prices without cutting too far into profits, Thompson posts a chart that lists the cost to his company of popular items; the staff can check the computer for product costs, too.

Copyright 1998 G+J USA Publishing