SPIFF Incentives: What They Are & Their Relation to Sales Performance

In sales, a SPIFF is an incentive used to motivate sales teams and reward them for meeting expectations and going the extra mile. SPIFFs may be what your company needs to drive sales excellence, but they do have their disadvantages.

We examine the pros and cons of SPIFFs and how to properly implement one to drive sales performance.

What Is SPIFF Sales Incentive? 

SPIFF stands for Sales Performance Incentive Fund and is a cash or non-cash incentive, with the purpose of motivating sales reps for short-term sales goals.

It is not the same as commission, which is a permanent incentive for sales performance over time. Instead, a SPIFF is a one-time bonus performance payment for selling a particular product or service the company needs to push.

The immediate nature of a SPIFF reward system triggers exciting, high-energy selling motivation. This makes SPIFF highly effective in helping salespeople hit and exceed sales targets.

Different Types of SPIFF Incentives

Consider your team’s makeup and choose the perfect SPIFF incentive to motivate your salespeople.


SPIFF sales incentive programs commonly use cash as flexible compensation. For convenience, SPIFF pay can be on a VISA debit card or another reloadable prepaid card that works like cash. 


Utilized by 84% of U.S. companies, non-cash SPIFF awards can be strong motivators. They also add a personal aspect and element of fun. Make sure the rewards are appealing and the recipient has a fair window of time to redeem their prize.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Sales SPIFF

SPIFF sales incentive programs are not a simple fix to raise sales numbers. Without thoughtful planning, SPIFF programs can fail miserably, but there is a multitude of potential gains that are worth the effort of doing a SPIFF right.


  • Engagement. For reps who lag behind the team or cover lower-demand regions, strategic SPIFFs can make a noticeable difference in sales performance. 
  • Competitive edge. Intensely promoting a product with sales incentives gives the company and product more name recognition and long-term visibility among customers. SPIFF can be the edge you need to beat competitors.


  • Sandbagging. When team members realize a SPIFF is coming soon, some may delay carrying out sales tasks until the SPIFF in order to artificially hike up their rewards. And if sales reps take too long to close deals, they might lose sales and customers.
  • Workplace toxicity. Do not let competitiveness get out of control or encourage poor behavior. If a SPIFF incentive only allows one person to win, competition can escalate into tension and a toxic environment.
  • Optics. SPIFFs may be less acceptable or ethical within the industry and the regional culture where you do business. Research the risk of SPIFF practices hurting your reputation.
  • Fraud. Secure and monitor your means of rewarding sales reps, so debit cards, for example, are not vulnerable to theft or fraud.
  • Costs. Never offer a larger total payout than you can afford. If redeeming SPIFF awards consumes too much of the budget, it can cancel out the gains of improving short-term sales productivity.

Drive Sales Performance With PerceptionPredict

SPIFFs can increase sales performance and allow your team to hit sales goals; however, what helps as much as SPIFFs is hiring the right salesperson. Our research-backed predictive analytics solution looks at your existing sales rep data and accurately predicts their sales performance, as well as what types of salespeople will thrive at your organization.

Our AI-powered solution creates your company's unique Sales DNA, which will allow you to predict the performance of future sales hires.

Book a demo today to see how PerceptionPredict can help create a high-performing sales team for your company.

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