No sales team kicks butt 24/7, 365 days a year. We all fall into slumps, but what can make or break a sales team’s success is how long those slumps last and what you as a leader do to break out of them.

One way to pull your team out of a slump and get them firing on all cylinders again is to implement an incentivization plan. Trips are a great way to fire people up; who doesn’t love visiting a new place and basically taking a vacation on the company’s dime? Here are some tips for implementing an incentivized trip program at your company.

Be clear about your objectives.

What do you want your sales team to do? Increase leads? Increase phone calls to leads? Increase closed deals? Hit a certain revenue number by a certain date?

Be clear about what goals you want your team members to meet, and then lay out clear parameters for meeting those goals. Also, be clear about who is eligible and who is not. Can employees tackle the challenge as a team, or is it a lone wolf competition? Nothing will stop a good program in its tracks like fuzzy objectives.

Socialize the program effectively

A simple email to your team members may not be sufficient. Different people communicate in different ways, so take that into account as you “market” this program to your employees. It could be in the form of posters in a public place, a reminder at your weekly stand-up, a prompt inside your CMS, and much more.

Make sure all the logistics are taken care of

To implement any type of incentive trips, you need to be clear about your financial freedom and budgeting options, and you should do that before you say a peep about the program to your team. Is this trip for your salesperson and their spouse? If so, you’re looking at a minimum of $1,200 to send them anywhere. Other things to consider:

Tax implications for the employee and the employer

In most cases, you and your gifted employee will need to pay taxes for the trip. For employees, this is considered income. Employers may be able to set up your incentive trips as part of an official company policy or plan. If that is the case, you can deduct up to $1,600 per employee.

Reimbursement vs. Pre-paid

As a trip organizer, you typically have two options: Pre-paying for their trip or reimbursing them upon return. We recommend reimbursement unless you have multiple dedicated HR reps with bandwidth to book and communicate with employees. This is how it could work:

  • The employer gives a strict, set amount of money that an employee (Miranda) is eligible to use.
  • You, as an employer, give strict guidelines on what those funds can be used for.
  • Miranda goes on her incentive trip, keeping copies of every receipt she plans on submitting.
  • Once back to the office, Miranda hands all receipts over to the HR rep, where they will be documented.
  • Once processed, the reimbursed funds will be added to Miranda’s standard paycheck.

The only drawback of this plan is Miranda may exceed her fund limits during her travels. Depending on the employee average salaries, it has to be decided whether it can be considered.

Days Off

If it’s a trip that your company is rewarding, it’s likely that they will need additional time off. Be sure to plan this into your program.

They Hate Traveling

While most salespeople will jump at the chance of a free trip, there’s no doubt there will be scenarios when travel isn’t convenient (think newborns, illness, or time of year). Plan an alternative prize. This could be a shopping spree for work-appropriate clothing, a gym or ski pass, a donation in their name, or cold hard cash.

Done well, incentivization programs can be a real morale booster and result in great outcomes for your team and the company’s bottom line. Be deliberate about planning, organizing, and rule-setting for the program, and you’ll have your team members stoked in no time!

Boost sales motivation with trips, and keep track of your sales team’s metrics with sales acceleration tools.