In a competitive industry, simply being good can only get your team so far. As such, you would want to elevate your sales force toward greatness. But how do you achieve that goal? Through bonuses, a sales incentive travel program, or other prizes?

All of these can contribute to helping your organization move closer toward the goals you have set. However, it is crucial to understand how each member's behavior impacts an employee and the whole team. One team member may respond positively to an incentive while another may respond better to other types of incentives.

And in order to gain maximum leverage out of the incentive scheme you are planning to use, it is worthwhile to have a fair idea of the two key types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. A basic understanding of these can help you design a program which will benefit your organization better.

When speaking of intrinsic motivation, this refers to the individual being motivated to achieve a goal, not because of the reward, but because of the actual achievement of that specific goal that has been set out for him. Hence, recognition and incentive programs should be implemented without forgetting to ignite an employee's inner drive.

Intrinsic motivation is anchored upon two important foundations. The first is purpose. Here, the employee believes that he is part of something that is bigger than himself. In the second, belief, the employee believes in the product or service that the company offers, and that these can have a positive impact on the lives of the consumers.

Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, refers to the type of motivation that best responds to rewards and prizes. Incentive programs specifically work on this principle. However, any increase in the level of performance will plateau or taper off without introducing or blending the principle of intrinsic motivation.

In order to gain the maximum returns on your investment in an incentive scheme, one crucial thing to remember is that you need to take into account what motivates each individual member of your team. Implementing incentive schemes that motivate only a handful of your employees will not result in the ends you have in mind. In designing an incentive program, it is worthwhile to take into account intrinsic motivation and ways to make the program inclusive — not just for the top performers in your organization.And the best way to do that is to establish a clear set of criteria which will be used to recognize the efforts of your team.

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