A special performance incentive fund, more commonly known by the acronym SPIF, is a short-term sales incentive typically used to drive sales results that are needed right now. It’s probably no coincidence that the verb to spiff means to dress or spruce up something and give it a little extra pizzazz. In the same way that you can spiff up your appearance, you can spiff up your incentive plan. Since all companies have short-term goals, SPIFs should be a regular part of your incentive compensation strategy. As a matter of fact, recent research from the Aberdeen Group showed that more than 50% of best-in-class companies drove their increased profits through SPIFs. When spiffing up your incentive plan with SPIFs, keep these six things in mind: 1. Know your goal. Is your short-term goal to boost revenue, units sold, sales leads, or order size? Having a solid handle on your goal will help you develop SPIFS that drive the behaviors necessary to meet goals. 2. Be unpredictable. SPIFs that come at the same time every month or year can be taken advantage of by sales reps. Keep your plan “game-able” by introducing SPIFs at unforeseeable times, and be sure you don’t have so many SPIFs throughout the year that gaming them becomes the main focus. As a good rule of thumb, you should have no more than eight to 12 SPIFs in one year. 3. Figure out your time frame. Determine if your short-term needs are a week, a month, a quarter, or a year. 4. Keep it simple. SPIFs should provide guaranteed results. For specific actions, both results and actions should be crystal clear. Sales reps should understand that if they sell X, they will be rewarded with Y. 5. Target your audience. One of the greatest benefits of short-term incentives that are quickly deployed is that they can be easily tailored to individuals and groups. Use your data to determine what kind of SPIFs have worked in the past and which are likely to work in the future, and then use predictive modeling to determine potential outcomes. 6. Analyze the outcome. Compare the results to your predicted outcome, and decide if you like what you see. If your SPIF didn’t drive the desired behavior, use your data to figure out why. Then, tweak your plan. One of the many advantages of using SPIFs is that they can be used to reach any specific goal—no matter how large or small. If you feel productivity is getting stagnant in your sales department, a SPIF might be just what you need to fire up reps, and use their competitive nature to your advantage. They get an exiting trip or prize; you get to easily reach your goals or quota. To learn more about how SPIFs can drive results for your business download Game the Plan chapter kit three: Sources: Aberdeen Group. May 2013. Better Tools, Better Process, Better Performance: Best-in-Class SPM Deployments Mirrored by Xactly Customers.