Incentive travel tops the list when it comes to ways of rewarding employees, according to the 1996 ECS Survey of Sales & Marketing Personnel Compensation. Almost three quarters of the 921 respondents to the survey said they reward employees with trips.

ECS also found that the Retail and Wholesale Trade sector was most likely to hold sales contests (68 percent of the companies in this sector) and had the highest average number of annual sales contests (six).

Other findings: * Some 27.3 percent of respondents have a sales incentive plan in which non-management sales and marketing support personnel can receive awards. Support-staff awards were common in the Retail and Wholesale Trade sector (71 percent) but rare among insurance firms (14 percent).

* One fifth of the survey respondents said they expect to expand their sales staffs, while just under seven percent expect their sales staffs to shrink.

The survey respondents provided information on more than 52,000 sales, sales management, and sales/marketing support staff positions.