Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

Towards a New Model for Inside Sales Motivation

by Matt Bertuzzi on Tue, Jan 19, 2010

Note: I've been thinking about this post for a while and the earthquake and it's aftermath in Haiti have really brought it top of mind.

Many Executives, and often Reps themselves, will describe salespeople as "coin operated". That's what the spiff model is all about, right?

  • Establish a goal
  • Run a spiff
  • Comp the winner
  • Shame the losers (?)

I recently ran into a post by Lilia Shirman over at Revenue Orchard where she asks:

Maybe sales reps don't operate by the same rules as all other humans. But I doubt it.  Would love to know for sure.  Anyone out there who's tried something other than a spiff to motivate sales?

For some time I've been thinking about that very question and how Inside Sales groups might integrate team based and even social / philanthropic giving into motivation programs.

The folks over at Green Leads have a really interesting program and I asked their COO,  Linda Flanagan, to share a bit of background.


Linda, last year Mike wrote about the Green Leads team-micro lending project. Can you share how that got started?

Linda: Mike and I are big believers in the "green" thing, hence the company name, and we were out on the west coast with our good friend Christopher Lochhead.  He introduced us to Kiva and we were addicted.  At first, we opened a personal account and started making micro loans, then we came up with the idea of sharing the idea with the company.  It started at one Friday night weekly meeting at the local pub.  Mike said "If you guys contribute to Kiva, we'll match it!".  A day later we had a Green Leads lending team.

How does the team participate in the Kiva lending process?

Linda: Every month the team donates from their commissions.  We also allocate SPIFFs that are specifically directed to Kiva.   We then send around some links to specific Kiva projects and people choose.  Nothing formal. Just "I like this guy, he's doing a fish farm" or something.

What benefits have you noticed?

Linda: Most good comes from good...someone said that.  In our case, we've seen some of the most sales-quota-dollar-pinching-sales guys donating the most and being the most compassionate.  It's great.  We have one guy who used to be a wooden toy craftsman before getting into technology.  He asked to fund a carpenter.

The great thing about it all is that it's perpetual.  As the folks we loan money to pay it back, we can use the money again to fund another project.  It's an annuity.  It's a Green Leads fund of good will.


I absolutely love what Linda and the team are doing over there. is also doing some great "integrated philanthropy" work with their 1/1/1 model.

Our 1% model is all about getting the most bang for the buck. We take just a fraction of's time, product, and equity, and give it to social-change organizations so they can amplify their impact.

We are in the process of building out a Bridge Group charitable project based on the Salesforce 1/1/1 model and we will keep you posted with what we come up with.

I'd love to hear from our readers on what you‘re doing. Please share.


I'm sure you've already seen this, but you can donate $10 to the American Red Cross by texting Haiti to 90999.

(Photo credit: lightsight)

Topics: inside sales motivation

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