SPIFs are Garbage, Do This Instead

Sales Performance Incentive Funds or SPIFs are used to increase sales, however, there are a lot of drawbacks that make SPIFs something you should steer clear of in favor of other approaches that will increase sales for the long term.

Why SPIFs Are Garbage


The main problem with SPIFs is that they only work for the period of the program. Most programs are designed to increase sales over a short period of time. Typically, sales incentive programs run one to three months. SPIFs do not create permanent sales representative behavior changes.

Hard Sell

SPIFs motivate sales representatives to engage in hard-sell behavior because they want to ensure the sale is made before the SPIF period ends.

One and Done

SPIFs create a mentality of selling fast and moving onto the next customer. Instead of creating a long-term relationship with the customer, sales are closed quickly and without a lot of thought.


SPIFs are taxed as income, even when the incentive is a thing, like an LCD television. In the end, all you have are unhappy sales representatives when they see the tax deduction on their pay check.

Got Game

SPIFs motivate sales representatives to find ways to game the system. As a result, you often don’t get the results you set out to create.

Limits Sales

The irony of SPIFs is they can actually stifle sales when the SPIF ends. Many times, there are incentives for the end customers tied into SPIF programs. When this happens, customers often wait for the next discount offer before making a purchase again.


Trash SPIFs and Do This Instead

Connect the dots

To increase sales, connect each step the customer will take in making a purchase and align those steps with your marketing efforts and sales process. For long term, consistent sales growth, there aren’t any shortcuts.


Invest in your sales people. Education is an ongoing initiative that never ends. Ensure you are giving your sales team all of the tools they need to be the best they can be. They not only need to know everything about your offerings, but also the competitor’s offerings, and interrelated products and services your solution will need to integrate with.

Customer Experience

Deliver the best customer experience. Focus on the relationship that is built with the customer, which is what really matters. Customers should feel like their sales representative is representing them. Sales representatives should be able to give smart advice to customers based on deep knowledge and understanding of the buyer’s situation.

Right Incentives

Incentivize sales to create happy, loyal customers. Don’t use unit sales, revenue, or profit as key measures, because these measures can result in unintended consequences.

It’s time to take a long-range view to consistently increase sales. Discard SPIFs and start on your path to enhancing your organization’s sales performance today.