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Any good sales manager knows that employee rewards and recognition programs gives positive attitude and increases chance to meet company sales goals.

The idea that sales teams need to be rewarded for their efforts is not a new one.

However, sales leaders often use these two concepts synonymously. In order to reap the maximum benefit from your incentives, knowing the difference is crucial.

Rewards and recognition programs – main differences:

Recognition is abstract. Rewards are concrete. Sales managers can recognize their employees in many ways, but recognition itself is a concept — nobody can see or touch it. On the other hand, tangible rewards are visible and touchable. This fact speaks to how they are best used. While long-term competitions such as Employee of the Year are best met with recognition, rewards should be given for short-term contests.

Rewards and recognition programsRewards are expendable while employee recognition is experiential. Since rewards are tangible items, they can be given and received. In essence, they are consumed once a contest is over. On the other hand, recognition is an experience. People typically remember experiences longer than they remember items. While a little goes a long way in terms of recognition, rewards will continue to be in demand.

While rewards are part of a job, recognition is the icing on the cake. Not everyone on the sales floor expects to be recognized for what they do. Members of a sales team are used to being the unsung heroes of a business. That’s why those little pats on the back make such a large impact. However, unlike with employee recognition, rewards are anticipated. Every sales employee expects to be rewarded for what they do. It’s ingrained in the sales culture to anticipate rewards. In fact, it’s this drive that makes for a good salesperson. Used in combination with recognition, rewards can take on a deeper meaning to sales teams. The best when recognition and rewards programs are managed together.

Recognition is continuous. Rewards are finite. Recognizing a deserving employee costs nothing and takes little effort. Recognition can come in many forms, from the informal “thumbs up” to the more strategic designation of company honors, and should be offered daily. In contrast to recognition, rewards do have a cost, and they do take effort to provide. They are once-and-done opportunities. When offered more sparingly than recognition, rewards are less likely to be taken for granted.

Employee recognition boosts morale while rewards boost the bottom line. When recognition is given for a job well done, it has a prolonged effect on job satisfaction. While the heart of the sales floor is effected by recognition, rewards speak to the wallet. They foster a competitive spirit that recognition does not result in. Therefore, if a boost in morale is needed, recognition should be given. However, if sales numbers need to be improved, go with a reward.

When employee rewards and recognition programs are offered on a continuous basis, sales teams will constantly feel like valued members of a business, and through a culture of recognition, rewards will be appreciated more. This is the value in actively differentiating between rewards and recognition: sales managers can rally an enthusiastic and loyal team of salespeople, knowing precisely when and how to motivate them. Through rewards and recognition programs and a positive attitude, event the loftiest goals are within reach.