What's a SPIFF Program - Definition, Examples, When To Use, Dos and Dont's

What is a SPIFF?

A spiff, or Sales Performance Incentive Fund, is a type of cash incentive that motivates salespeople to promote a certain product or assortment of products. The word "bonus" is frequently substituted for this phrase. Vendors and employers often use the spiff to launch new products into the market or boost sales within a predetermined time frame. The inducement could be a bonus or rebate in cash or a gift like a trip, a car, or a club membership. The term's origin is unclear, but it is usually believed to have something to do with the slang expression "spiffed up," which means to improve something's appearance. Sales Performance Incentive Fund can occasionally also be written as spiff.

Different forms of Sales Performance Incentive Fund are possible. For instance, you could reward a team or person once they sell a certain amount of merchandise. Or you may start an incentive scheme to encourage product release. Some businesses even employ it to bolster poor performance or enhance certain financial measures. Sales Performance Incentive Fund initiatives, therefore, aid in accelerating the sales pipeline by inspiring salespeople.

Examples of SPIFF

1. Cash Spiff

Because victors can instantly receive incentives, cash is a popular option. However, because better options are available, actual cash isn't as popular as it was. It is simpler to use prepaid cards online. They provide certain benefits for your company as well. You may receive a discount off the face value of prepaid cards by purchasing them in quantity. Cash and paper checks are susceptible to theft and fraud, which might empty your company's checking account. A digital card allows for fast delivery and online verification. You can collaborate with other companies to receive cards for less money. It will benefit both management and employees in this case. The use of prepaid cards might be a better option.

2. Travel and Entertainment

It is unlikely that employees will spend money on leisure and tourism. They might still want to travel and have fun, though. Weekend getaways, quick movie trips, or sporting activities are excellent choices for Sales Performance Incentive Fund programs. These choices will provide them with a leisurely break from work.

3. Offsite Activities

Employees can go to the spa or play sports of their choice. Plan your programs based on what your employees say they would want. Keep a variety of options available, as not everyone will choose the same thing.

4. Creating too many Commissionable Events

The range of subscription services includes everything from reading clubs to gym memberships. Even subscriptions to websites that deliver food or allow for online shopping are options. It is a fantastic approach to motivate workers to pursue their passions outside the workplace.

When to Use SPIFF?

1. To Incentivize Engagement

For many organizations, employee disengagement is a real worry. Keeping workers engaged and productive can be challenging, but Sales Performance Incentive Funds are one way to deal with this problem because they encourage engagement. SPIFFs are known to promote employee engagement and support dynamic, competitive work environments.

2. To Acquire New Accounts

Sales Performance Incentive Fund should not be the mainstay of your sales incentive program. You don't want to take your reps' attention away from crucial objectives based on, say, total gross revenue. Spiff, however, can aid in achieving supplementary objectives like increasing customer signups.

3. To Meet Immediate Sales Needs

Sales Performance Incentive Funds are made to help improve in quickly achieving or exceeding sales targets. A really well-designed spiff can be the best option for your company if you want to see your agents swiftly reach their sales quota.

4. To Push Deal Renewals Forward

Reps frequently move on to fresh opportunities once a contract has been finalized with a customer. Renewals, however, are crucial for companies that rely on subscriptions. Your reps may be able to concentrate more on customer retention if you include a Sales Performance Incentive Fund based on renewals. When a quarterly or annual deadline is approaching, and during the off-season when sales experience a yearly slowdown, spiff can be useful in encouraging salespeople to move deals along the pipeline and achieve progress.

5. To Fix Quotas

Correct quota setup necessitates precise forecasting, which might be difficult. Organizations have the option of lowering sales quotas when they are set excessively high. This isn't always the ideal choice, though, as it gives the impression that commissions are assured regardless of performance. Spiff can be used to bridge the gap created by inaccurate quotas for this purpose.

6. To Support a New Launch

It's crucial to plan a new product or service launch that is successful. When sales representatives are evaluating new prospects or trying to upsell existing customers, the Sales Performance Incentive Fund can be useful for keeping the new offerings in the forefront of their minds.

7. To Boost Poor Sales Numbers

In a last-ditch effort to hit the numbers, often at any cost, Sales Performance Incentive Funds are most frequently used to assist push-meet or exceed faltering sales goals. When sales are down, they occasionally need to be put into place to improve performance. Spiff can improve sales performance by incorporating highly motivating short-term incentives into the current sales compensation plan to guarantee targets are fulfilled.

Tips for Implementing SPIFF: Dos and Don'ts

Sales Performance Incentive Fund initiatives can benefit both the business and the workforce. But not every business would implement it in the same way. Planning and research are needed. Setting quantifiable objectives is also necessary. If you comprehend the subsequent elements, you can do it correctly:

1. Do - Understand and Define your Goals

You should be crystal clear about what you need from your sales team and the actual spiff. Once you are aware of your goals, make sure your salespeople are fully aware of them, whatever it is that you want to do. Your reps need to be fully aware of your goals to stay on task and focus on what's best for your company, whether you want to increase sales, complete more transactions, market a new product, or do something else entirely. The target includes an exact, reachable number that can be used as a gauge for how effectively your spiff is doing.

2. Don't - Let the Limited Visibility Limit the Impact of Spiff

Excel spreadsheet management shows how motivating the Sales Performance Incentive Fund is for your sales staff. Reps won't be continuously encouraged to chase the Sales Performance Incentive Fund if they can't immediately see how they're advancing in that direction. Since spiffs are frequently paid out at the conclusion of a predetermined time, most reps won't learn how much progress they've achieved toward the target until the promotion is finished. A lack of visibility in a Sales Performance Incentive Fund program causes sales staff to waste time developing their own spreadsheets to measure progress (shadow accounting) rather than following leads and closing agreements. When spiffs are included in long-term sales incentive programs, they significantly increase ROI in a dependable, quantifiable manner.

3. Do - Know Your Audience

The ability to quickly customize short-term rewards for both people and organizations is one of their biggest advantages. Use your data to identify the Sales Performance Incentive Fund types that have previously been successful and those that are most likely to succeed going forward. The performance of various spiffs as a component of your entire sales compensation plan can be predicted using intelligent compensation software.

4. Don't - Let SPIFF Disturb Your Budget

Sales Performance Incentive Funds are fantastic for sales in moderation, but there's a reason they may only be used for brief periods of time. Regarding your Sales Performance Incentive Fund success, timing is crucial. These rewards are intended to increase sales temporarily. As a result, they shouldn't be applied continuously to boost performance. If your company uses too many spiffs, the employee engagement they provide may start to fade, and coordination of numerous Sales Performance Incentive Funds may become expensive. The incentives can be employed when sales representatives begin to anticipate receiving spiff at the conclusion of each quarter or year. By rarely introducing spiff so that sellers aren't expecting them, you can keep your plan "gameable." Sales Performance Incentive Fund should be kept uncommon, usually no more than 12 per year.

Ready, Steady, SPIFF!

It's possible that using a spiff program is the standard method of conducting business in the regions you sell to or desire to sell to. Do your research before adopting them. Although generating sales is crucial, are you equipped to set them up and run a spiff properly? In the end, it comes down to ethics and perception more than gains and losses. How do you want your reps to view you, your business, and your other salespeople? You must begin developing a strategy that will assist in aligning goals inside your organization if you want to take full advantage of all the opportunities that a Sales Performance Incentive Fund program can offer. Although motivating sales teams might be challenging, your business can succeed with a little bit of attention.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called a spiff?

A spiff is a unique scheme that awards cash bonuses for exceeding sales targets. Nobody knows where the word originated, but it was first recorded in a slang dictionary in 1859.

Is spiff illegal?

Spiffs are not prohibited in the majority of sales sectors. If they are not applied or used properly, they might cause ethical issues. Spiffs, however, are only regarded as unlawful for government purchases because it is impossible to determine whether the salesman is objective when recommending things to the government.

Is spiff capiatalized or not?

To avoid confusion with the word "spiff," which means to spruce up or clean up, spiff is most frequently written in all caps. To avoid giving the impression that we are shouting spiff at you every minute of your reading, we purposefully chose not to capitalize the word in many instances. We are nice people, aren’t we?

Is there a difference between a spiff and a SPIV?

No, the words spiff, SPIV, and Sales Performance Incentive Fundall refer to the same class of sales incentive programs.

About Author

Amit Jain

Sales Compensation Expert, Founder, Mentor - Helping organizations transform their sales incentive programs into growth engines