Build a flexible incentive system for your sales team inside HubSpot

Build a flexible incentive system for your sales team inside HubSpot


Incentives are a proven way to improve the performance of sales teams. But calculating the incentives across product categories may be a complex exercise. Or else, companies go with a percentage increase slab and retain that for a fixed period because making changes requires several calculations to be made. And rather than a blanket incentive, it works better when tailored to each sales person’s target and the potential in that particular market.

The number of sales people deployed in the field could go beyond a 100. The product portfolio could be complex. But by breaking things down to what needs to be achieved on a monthly basis, the sales teams and management can keep track of achievements and gaps to be addressed.

Automating custom code workflows in Operations Hub

Sales reports on deals completed and revenues realised are filed every month. That can be mapped to the target and the numbers generated. When this is matched with the sales person’s projected numbers, tallying incentives is possible.

Blueoshan has implemented this through HubSpot for a client selling to both residential and commercial customers. The incentives are different because the revenue realisations between residential and commercial orders is different. But by tying in the revenue generated and the percentage of the target achieved, sales personnel get their incentives paid out every month when they exceed targets every month.

Working out the incentives for large numbers of sales people can be structured and managed within HubSpot with custom code workflows

That keeps motivational levels high. Structuring an incentive program to ensure that the targets are tough but not beyond the reach of sales people is also a tricky proposition. Being able to change the variables lets managers find the sweet spot between hitting targets and keeping teams charged up.

Within HubSpot, this can be worked out by breaking down complex stages in the sales cycle and structuring the incentive in a way that conversion gets the largest percentage but every stage in the customer journey is incentivised as well.

That helps sales reps stay focused on getting prospects to advance to the stage when closing out is easier, rather than one single goal as the basis for incentivisation. 

This means tying in various activities within the channel, right from fixing meetings to drip emails but benefits are transparent and teams can see how the best sales personnel operate and mimic successful strategies. It also dials down on the competition within teams and builds closer links for collaboration.


It’s a deal!

The way to leverage HubSpot functionality is go beyond tracking stages and deals. Build an incentive system that recognises the effort of the people involved. And drive major stakeholders into doing their bit.

The effort involved can be discussed, split into percentages and agreed upon. Working backwards from revenue possibilities, bringing everyone on board increases involvement in achieving the common goal.

While sales teams and the frontline relationships they build with customers is still a crucial element in closing the sale, it could never be applied to the entire customer journey.

Since HubSpot allows the same information to be seen by everyone with a defined level of access, they can see what works and what led to the customer contact. That, for teams working in silos is an eye opener and dissolves some of the internal misconceptions.

Rethinking incentives down the line

Every customer acquisition is expensive. And there are several studies which have shown that long-term customers are the best ways to steadily increase revenue by cross selling, up selling and servicing.

Incentives to retain and increase revenue from existing customers is another set of avenues to explore. This goes beyond the perks and certificates typically handed to service professionals for a good job done.

An example from beauty salons illustrates the point. A customer may come in for a hair colouring job requirement and the employees are trained to expand and suggest the additional range of treatments the customer can avail of.

That invariably leads to a 30-40% increase in the salon’s revenue for customers who have already entered the premises.

Incentives can be worked out to influence various stages in a sale process as well as final conversion, once there is a clear understanding of deliverables

In a B2B scenario, the options will not be quite as simple or obvious. But companies have found that their revenues can scale with adjacent product partnerships that increase their own revenue along with those of partners.

Rather than use services merely for support and to resolve client issues, incentives can drive greater revenues from calls that are initiated only for support. 

HubSpot’s CRM structure enables every part of the customer journey to be accessed by marketing, sales, services and operations. That is a good place to start and revenue generation from customers who already know the company does not have to start from zero.

A deal pipeline does not have to begin with marketing and culminate with sales. New deals can originate from service streams. And incentives work with everyone – the motivation to learn and perform better increases.

Content plan

How the incentives are worked out, how they are structured is all conjecture for now. But the possibility for additional revenue from the company’s existing customer base is substantial.

Talk to us at Blueoshan on how you can use HubSpot to solve or extend the possibilities. We need to have a broad view of the market and where you see potential. Then work out a flow that determines the effort put in and the value estimation. Once this is done, the rest of the process can run automatically over a defined period. Making changes in the percentages also revises the way in which incentives flow.

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About The Author

Venu Gopal Nair
Venu Gopal Nair

Advertising and Branding Specialist, CEO - Ideascape Communications, A professional journey through the tumultuous years of advertising and communication, starting in 1984. Started out in the age of print, saw the changes with the entry of satellite TV and the momentous transition to digital. Advertising and branding today is vastly different from its practices in the 20th century and the last two decades have seen dramatic changes with smartphone domination. As a Creative Director turned CEO, making the transition personally and professionally has been a tremendous experience.

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