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The Incentive Research Foundation Resource Center

Rewards and Recognition as a Vital Compensation Component

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 To download the full paper, click here.


In September and October 2011 Aberdeen surveyed 291 companies to support research on their study  "Sales Performance Management 2012: How Best In Class Optimize the Front Line and Grow the Bottom Line."  Their findings showed that the top 20% of companies (aka the "Best in Class") had the following profile:

  • 83% of Best In Class companies' sales reps achieved annual quota in the last year compared with 51% of Industry Average firms and 22% of laggard companies.
  • Best In Class companies had 23.1% average year over year growth in corporate revenue versus 7.2% for Industry Average firms and a decline of 5.9% for Laggards.
  • Best In Class companies had 9.7% average year over year improvement in average deal size, compared with 1.9% for Industry Average companies and a .4% decline for Laggards.

Key Findings: Organizations that Provide Non Cash Reward/Recognition Perform Better

  • Best in Class companies are more than twice as likely as all other firms to provide non cash incentives (21% of Best in Class vs 10% of other companies use R&R programs) 
  • 64% of Best in Class companies have a process to incentivize rapid activity around a particular product, an end-of-cycle-push, or even a way to dispose of excess inventory using spiffs versus compared with 48% of Industry Average firms, and 38% of Laggards.
  • Organizations that provide non cash reward/recognition had an average year over year annual corporate revenue increase of 9.6% versus 3% for all others.
  • Organizations that provide non cash reward/recognition had a 2.1% year over year increase in revenue per sales FTE versus a 0.7% decrease for all others.
  • Organizations that provide non cash reward/recognition had a 1.6% year over year increase in team attainment of quota versus a decrease of 2.2% for all others.
  • Adopters of non cash rewards/recognition also had 34% shorter sales rep time-to-productivity and 10% shorter sales rep time-to-hire.

Case Study

  • The paper also provides an short case study of an Incentive Travel Program implemented to improve sales productivity.  
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