By Malcolm Fleschner

Do your sales incentive rewards appeal to the men – and women – on your sales staff? Here’s a hint: If your prizes primarily consist of power tools, bass fishing gear and DVDs of the greatest heavyweight bouts of all time, you might not be doing all you can to motivate all team members. In today’s professional marketplace, points out Philip Holmes of the Sales Marketing Network, women are playing critical roles as both buyers and sellers, so the benefits achieved by keeping everyone in your sales organization operating at peak capacity are greater than ever. The following are Holmes’ tips for diversifying your incentive portfolio.

1. Check your assumptions.

Take a close look at your current incentive program. Was it clearly designed with men and women as the proposed targets? In addition to pondering the rewards themselves, consider whether your programs are structured exclusively to pit salespeople against one another. A more inclusive approach might be to promote group problem-solving and team-based achievements.

2. Where’s the input?

Are you consulting both men and women on your team about the best ways to help them be more productive at work? If not, why not?

3. Provide meaningful recognition.

Meaningful recognition that allows sales reps to display their accomplishments publicly can prove particularly effective and motivational – for both men and women.

4. Think outside the motivational box.

Besides the incentive program, consider other ways to create a more rewarding and motivational workplace environment. Some powerful ideas include offering flextime, promoting family-friendly policies and creating a diversity committee. Far from passing fads, these creative strategies are not only effective, they also offer viable alternatives when your motivational budget is tight.

5. What’s the word on the street?

Get your team members to buy into your company and its objectives and they’ll feel well treated and appreciated. In return they’ll become walking PR recruiters and mobilizers for what you’re trying to accomplish.

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