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A recent repignite.com post – Drawing an Employee Recognition Roadmap – illustrated the big picture of a strategic approach to employee recognition. Here, we want to show how to create a recognition roadmap for Inside Sales Reps.

The picture imagined a board game strategically anticipating twists and turns, ups and downs, and enough roadside attractions to engage interest. But, it was more picture than plan, a way of seeing something difficult to understand.

Step #1 – Understand strategy

A sales department strategy refers to the long-term plan for the department to seize advantage in the market by organizing and exploiting its resources to meet the needs of the market and satisfy stakeholders. Planning a strategy asks and answers key questions:

  • Where does the business want to be in a specific long-term, say one, three, or five years?
  • What does the market need and want?
  • What advantage does the business have over competitors for the same market?
  • What tangible and intangible assets and what technology and expertise does the business have with which to compete successfully?
  • What is the sales unit up against in terms of external pressures and environmental factors?
  • What do customers, investors, and partners want and how will the wants be specifically satisfied?

Sales management succeeds in tis responsibilities when it can answer such questions fully. It must also ask and answer the questions repeatedly because answers evolve and change.

Step #2 – Determine a calendar

Inside Sales Reps may contribute to the answers, but it is not their job to ask the questions. We expect management to have that perspective. Management must see the questions and answers rolling out before them. And, the Inside Sales Reps expect them to put the long-term rollout onto short-term calendars they can get their hands around.recognition roadmap for inside sales reps

The Sales Manager strategy may be a five-year plan, but the Inside Sales Rep responds better to manageable units like three- or six-month competitions. A five-year plan is too much for the Inside Sales Rep to see and process.

Step #3 – Assess the terrain

As with any journey, the topography will influence the design of the roadmap. There are those rises in the road that you can predict and others you cannot. So, the plan has to be flexible and resilient. It has to roll through or around the predictable but have the mechanics to adjust to the unexpected. For example, your roadmap would plan for holidays, but it also has to adjust to sick days.

Sales management has to engineer its own global positioning system (GPS) that plans horizontal and vertical moves but also announces alerts to accidents and roadblocks ahead. The more fluid and responsive the system the easier it is to use and follow.

Step #4 – Make the trip fun

A good roadmap will take you from point A to point B efficiently and expeditiously. But, a recognition roadmap for Inside Sales Reps has to sustain participant interest throughout the strategic calendar. So, just as you might break up a family vacation road trip, you want to include stops and points of interest along the way. There might be rest stops, overnight stays, tourist attractions, and natural marvels. The idea is to reinvigorate the interest and satisfy short-term attention spans.

It is here that the recognition plays a vital role. It is just as true that these points of engagement can vary in size and impact, from a small badge of encouragement to a significant financial reward. But, like all good maps, clarity is important.

Step #5 – Label the map

All good maps have a scale and a compass. Map-readers must know where they are going and how far it is to the next mark. The roadmap needs clear labels describing each stop and the options to making each stop along the way. The Inside Sales Reps pursuing the goals must know what they are in for and what they can win or lose with each challenge.

Providing engagement opportunities along with recognition for the participation takes management skill. Drawing a line between A and B is one thing; making it fun and productive takes more talent. Making challenges fun and rewarding their resolution sustains the strategy and delivers the results. When sales management seeks to create a recognition roadmap for Inside Sales Reps, it needs to exploit time, resources, and engagement.

Recognition roadmap for inside sales reps image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net