In the face of an economic downturn, it becomes imperative for sales compensation plan designers to adjust their incentive strategies to sustain the motivation and productivity of the sales team. In this post, we’ll explore some key strategies for adapting your sales incentive plans to prepare for the downturn.

1. Reviewing and adjusting sales targets

During a recession, it’s likely that your sales targets will need to be adjusted to reflect changing market conditions. Setting more realistic goals that take into account the current economic environment can help your sales team stay motivated and productive.

For example, if your business typically experiences a 10% growth rate, you may need to adjust your sales targets to a more modest 5% growth rate during a recession. This can help ensure that your sales team has achievable goals that keep them motivated without feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.

2. Exploring alternative incentives

Cash bonuses may not be the most effective motivator for salespeople during a recession. Instead, consider exploring alternative incentives that can help keep your sales team engaged and motivated.

One option is recognition-based incentives, such as a “salesperson of the month” award or a public acknowledgement of top performers. Non-cash rewards, such as gift cards or additional paid time off, can also be effective incentives that don’t strain your budget.

3. Providing additional training and support

During a recession, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your sales team is equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Providing additional training and support can help them adapt to changing market conditions and stay productive.

Consider offering additional sales training or coaching to help your sales team refine their skills and stay up-to-date on market trends. Providing regular feedback and coaching can also help keep your sales team motivated and engaged.

4. Regularly reviewing and adjusting the plan

During a recession, market conditions can change quickly. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your incentive plan can help ensure that it remains effective and aligned with your business goals.

Consider setting up regular meetings with your sales team to discuss their progress and provide feedback on their performance. Use this feedback to adjust your sales targets and incentives as needed to ensure that your sales team is motivated and productive.

In conclusion, adapting your sales incentive plan during a recession requires careful consideration of several key factors. By reviewing and adjusting your sales targets, exploring alternative incentives, providing additional training and support, and regularly reviewing and adjusting the plan, you can keep your sales team motivated and productive in uncertain times. 

To learn more about adapting your sales incentive plan for a recession and how SpectrumTek can assist you, please contact us at