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Incentive Compensation Planning: Importance & 5 Planning Strategies

Incentive Compensation Planning Strategies 

Incentives are typically rewards given to someone when they complete a particular task. Financial prizes known as incentive compensations are offered to salespeople who meet or surpass their quota.

Giving individual or group incentives encourages your sales team to reach and even beyond quotas, boosting the earnings of the business.

Here is a handbook explaining incentive compensation, as well as how to create a plan that can drive your sales force.

What is Incentive Compensation?

Salespeople receive incentive compensation from their employers by having their pay correlated with their individual sales efforts and the amount of money they bring in to the business. On the performance of the entire sales team or the overall company’s sales, incentive compensation may occasionally be determined.

Incentive Compensation Planning

The incentive compensation may be the salesperson’s entire revenue (commission income), or it may consist of extra benefits, depending on the firm. Without rewards for individual performance and sales effort, the sales staff might be less driven to reach their goals.

People who reach their quota, for instance, can get a bonus for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The bonus would be appreciated because most people would work hard to reach their quota in order to celebrate the holiday.

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Examples of Incentive Compensation

Although there are many different kinds of incentive pay, the following are some typical examples:

Gain Sharing:

When employees reach their quotas under this strategy, the corporation distributes a portion of its revenues to them. This strategy is frequently used because higher employee rewards for higher organizational profits are effective motivators for workers to outperform expectations and produce significant profits for the business.

For instance, an employee is entitled to 3% of the company’s profit in addition to their wage if they bring in a particular number of paying customers.

Employees are encouraged to meet their quota all year long when this strategy is employed to pay their complete compensation because they will have a steady income.

Retention Bonus:

A retention bonus is a reward provided to staff members by organizations for sticking with the business. A retention incentive is often granted as a pay increase in most companies.

For instance, a business might elect to increase employee pay by 20% at the conclusion of each quarter.

This incentive compensation strategy is used by most companies since it encourages employee loyalty. Employees are more motivated to stay and advance their careers with the company when there is a clear structure for compensation rises.


Employees who qualify for profit-sharing incentive compensation receive a portion of the company’s profits after it reaches a predetermined level. Similar to gainsharing, but based on company performance rather than employee performance, this system distributes company profit to employees.

Employees receive 7% of the profit, for instance, if an organization’s quarterly aim is $1 million and the profit target is achieved.

Companies use incentive pay to promote cooperation among their workforce. All employees are more inclined to put in extra effort to get a raise if the profit is shared by all of the workers.

As an example, the sales and marketing team may receive a larger share of the profit than other teams. In most cases, the percentage distributed to all employees is based on their contribution to the revenue generated.

Spot Awards:

Spot awards are modest bonuses provided to workers who outperform their coworkers for a predetermined amount of time. The majority of organizations use this kind of incentive pay to promote friendly rivalry among staff.

A notable example is the employee of the month award, which is given to the worker who performs the best. Naturally, the majority of workers are driven to succeed in order to receive the rewards and incentives that come with it.

Annual Incentives:

Annual incentives are often bonuses provided at the end of the year to employees who have performed very well all year.

As a retention bonus, some businesses offer annual incentives to every employee, while others base it on performance. In any case, the corporation is recognizing and thanking its staff for their dedication and loyalty.

Incentive Compensation Planning

Purpose of Incentive/Compensation

1. Motivating Sales Reps:

Employees might be highly motivated by incentives to thrive in their jobs. It enables sales representative to close deals proactively and achieve business objectives.

Setting clear goals for sales representatives to achieve has the benefit of motivating them to make the most of their resources, such as going after large clients, which enables them to complete their quota more quickly. Larger clients will be more eager to collaborate with you if you have experience working with them, which will enhance the reputation of your business.

2. Increasing Business Revenue

Excellent salesman performance typically results in enormous profit for the business. There is a very strong likelihood that you will generate more income than you would without incentives because the entire sales staff is diligently working to close agreements.

Additionally, sales representatives are encouraged to upsell to users when you announce new features or products in order to increase revenue from the money users pay for the extra features.

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Incentive Compensation Planning Strategies

1. Organizing

Laying the groundwork is the first stage in developing a successful incentive compensation scheme. To ensure that your staff is aware of the conditions necessary to qualify for incentives, you must develop rules for how incentive compensation operates and effectively explain these rules to them.

When employees get unstructured incentive compensation, they frequently do not know what is expected of them. Because of this, they are unable to understand why they are exerting themselves, which is not a good motivator.

Additionally, it could give the incentive compensation system a bad reputation, causing workers to completely disregard it.

2. Regular Reporting:

Following the creation of an incentive compensation plan, you must constantly assess how it affects business revenue and staff morale. You can pinpoint the highs and lows of the incentive compensation plan and the factors that contributed to them using performance reports.

You can connect staff KPIs to corporate KPIs by examining performance reports. This illustrates how employee performance affects the performance of the entire business.

You may be certain that the incentive compensation plan is effective if there is a proportional relationship between exceptional employee performance and company performance since you adopted the plan.

3. Effective Communication

A strong incentive compensation scheme should be easy for employees to grasp. They shouldn’t be uncertain about their incentive amount or the prerequisites for receiving it.

Additionally, the sales professional will be more successful in achieving your incentive plan’s goals if its terms and conditions are made plain to them. If they have any inquiries, make sure to provide clear answers so they know what to do.

Furthermore, no matter how lofty your company’s objectives, they must be attainable by your sales staff. Generous rewards might not be enough to inspire workers to achieve improbable objectives.

Sales representatives will strive nonstop to meet unrealistic goals, with virtually little possibility of success. Employees may thus view the incentive pay scheme as a trick to get them to perform better than expected without receiving remuneration.

4. Evaluation 

Regular reports serve the objective of using them to evaluate the success of the incentive organization. You may decide if your current strategy is effective or if it needs to be changed by analyzing their responses.

An incentive compensation plan window is necessary for your organization; after it closes, you must review the reports to decide whether or not to keep the current incentive compensation plan in place.

The review ought to take into account the performance of the sales team as well as the overall performance of the business.

5. Improvement

Continuous improvement is necessary for an efficient incentive compensation scheme. You may better grasp the appropriate incentive compensation plan for your staff and the business with regular evaluation.

When you know what in your plan works and what doesn’t, you can utilize that information to improve your present plan and achieve the goals of the stakeholders.

Incentive Compensation Planning

Frequently Asked Questions about Incentive

What sort of compensation is an incentive?

Cash incentives like as commissions, year-end bonuses, sign-on bonuses, and performance bonuses are a few examples of incentive pay. either shares or stock options.

Are compensation and incentives the same thing?

Salary, perks, and incentives comprise compensation. Incentives are the most likely drivers of attracting and keeping the finest people in startups, even though salary and benefits must be competitive. Three primary incentive kinds exist: bonuses, profit-sharing, and stock options.

What distinguishes a salary from a compensation?

In the simplest words possible, your annual compensation is the sum of your basic income and the value of any financial benefits your employer offers. The sum of money you receive from your company on an annual basis as compensation for the work you do is known as your annual salary.

How can Incentive inspire workers?

Employees receive a wage as payment for completing all duties and as a reliable source of income. They are motivated to reach and surpass their goals by the incentive, which can be a commission for salespeople or a bonus for others, and it provides them with the chance to make more money.


Employees are inspired to work hard and achieve the company’s sales goals by an incentive compensation program that works. Incentives also show that you appreciate the effort that sales representatives make in order to achieve challenging objectives.

The industry, employee interest, and corporate culture all have an impact on how effective incentive compensation systems are. Choosing an incentive plan that is suitable for your business and its employees is the greatest approach to guarantee that incentive compensation enhances your company’s income.



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