In Incentive Program Planning, Sales Incentives

Generating Sales Through a SPIFF Program

It’s crucial to kick off Q1 with a new drive to beat your goals from last year. Sure, you increased your numbers in 2018 (hopefully), but what are you going to do differently in 2019 to really boost your generated YoY sales? The answer is to motivate your channel sales partners using a SPIFF strategy.

What is a SPIFF Program?

A SPIFF (Sales Program Incentive Funds) program is an incentive program that manufacturers use to motivate their retail channel partners to produce more sales. Retail partners earn rewards when their participants sell “X” number of dollars towards a sales goal or campaign.

When Would Your Company Use a SPIFF Program to Generate Sales?

Sometimes products (new-to-market and old-to-market) have a hard time attracting and keeping a loyal following. SPIFF programs are a great way to increase sales by getting the attention and focus of your retailer’s sales team on your products through dedicated incentives.

When would be a good time to suggest a SPIFF to generate sales at your company?

  1. New brand/product line hits the market and it needs to be properly introduced to the public
  2. Specific merchandise is not selling well and needs to be pushed
  3. Old inventory items need to be sold and cleared from the shelves
  4. The pressure is on your company to increase its overall profit

SPIFF programs push sales people to perform better (without discounting your products) by offering specific incentives based on performance over a short time period. This immediate response method is highly effective for encouraging your sales people to strive for short-term goals.

As a manufacturer, you can offer the partner retailers a certain percentage if they will help boost the sales of your products. Advertising alone is not enough. There has to be an incentive involved that is beneficial to the sales team, the store, and the manufacturer.

Sales Sprint vs. Traditional SPIFF

A sales sprint is put in place on a sales team to increase sales during a specific period of time.

This particular SPIFF program strategy isn’t centered around the product, but rather around dominating the competition with a high number of sales.

Depending on your goal for the quarter or year, you might strategize your SPIFF differently. Campaigns can run for days, weeks or even months, depending on how much merchandise needs to be moved or the target revenue number.

The Benefits of SPIFF for Sales

Sales incentive programs and SPIFF programs are proven methods of increasing results through your sales partners, especially when your partners also sell your competitors’ products.

The benefits of our unique approach to sales incentive and SPIFF programs are clear:

Better Relationships With Sellers

We know how important it is for manufacturers to build and maintain strong relationships with their end sellers. Customized sales incentives are crucial for fostering these relationships and are particularly effective for establishing long-term goals.

Increased Consumer Brand Loyalty

At some point in time, your customer will have to make a decision to repurchase. Depending on your product that time might be weekly, monthly, or every decade–but it will happen. Having a SPIFF for your product ensures that end-sellers are paying attention to your product, who ultimately keep the attention on your product or brand.

Increased Consumer Base and Demand

Utilizing sales incentives is an excellent method for encouraging end sales staff to promote your products to a wider customer base and to encourage upselling. Due to the nature of SPIFFs, your goals become your partner’s goals. When your sales partners are motivated, they will do what is needed for both companies to succeed.

Highly Knowledgeable Sales Partners

In order to sell anything, you have to understand the product, brand, and benefit for the consumer. When you have a SPIFF with your end seller, both parties are informed of the goals, roles, and responsibilities involved. With the added attention on your company’s brand and products, participants will have greater knowledge to pass along to in-store consumers.


There are few things that make implementing a SPIFF program challenging. For example, as with any program, when the incentive does not meet or satisfy the need of the sales partner or is unable to actually facilitate the reward, the program will not be successful. This is why it is imperative to be set up with a company that can facilitate the SPIFF between you and your partner to ensure everything is working smoothly.

Another hazard that is important to recognize is that legal standards need to be met. If SPIFFs are used erroneously, the rewards can become illegal. It’s important that you’re able to get all the information needed to correctly file taxes.

Consider a SPIFF as bonus money. At the end of the campaign, the salesperson will turn in his or her sales receipts for validation, and cash in on the rewards. However, this type of SPIFF is not tax-free; it must be reported on a 1099-misc tax form when the annual amount exceeds the IRS limit for the calendar year.

Therefore, it is imperative to always review the paperwork to make sure all the details, rules and regulations are clear, and everyone understands their part.

This is why many manufacturing companies partner with a third-party incentive program company. Companies like ours, Incentive Insights, will implement and manage the SPIFF program for you.

When the program goes well, everyone involved gets what they want.

The great thing about SPIFF programs is that when facilitated correctly, everyone wins!

Participants get rewards, prizes, or other incentives, sales teams get bonuses, manufacturers make a profit off new or old products, and the retailers get hundreds of potential customers!

And for more quantifiable incentives information to share with your team, download our free benchmark book: Incentives by the Numbers.

Contact Incentive Insights today to see what a SPIFF program can do for your company and sales teams!

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