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Effort unrewarded wastes the effort. Unrecognized achievement does not repeat itself. But, the sales management focus often surrenders to the “wow” factor of big prizes. Once you determine what “strategy” means, you can look at 10 workable sales recognition strategies.

Defining strategy

Search the Internet for “strategy,” and you fall into a dark hole of management theory. Cutting through that fog of information, you can settle on an understanding that “strategy” refers to the means and manner employed to achieve a goal or complete a mission.

For example, if increased revenue is your sales management goal, strategy is the how and not what of your plan. A marketing strategy might lower prices or differentiate your product from the competition. But, a sales strategy will look at how sales reps engage and produce.

Sales performance recognition continues to challenge sales managers to create and sustain workable sales recognition strategies. Managers get lost in the administration, cost, and metrics when they would benefit from looking at what works.

10 Workable Sales Recognition Strategies

  1. Make it immediate. Recognition does not get better when delayed. There is a direct relationship between the effectiveness of recognition and the performance achievement date.
  2. Be clearly specific. A general thank-you does not get the mileage that an award for the specific accomplishment does. Your recognition should refer to the revenue, volume, or timeliness. Complimenting specific behaviors will motivate the repetition of those behaviors.
  3. Mean what you say. Employee radar always senses the insincere. They listen better than you know, and they process what you say as meaningful or casual. Real recognition honors their personal accomplishment – not performance as routine.
  4. Set the feedback aside. Many managers think that they should lead with good news and, then, follow with constructive corrective action. They are separate events, each worth attention. Praise and recognition deserve their own time. Later, you can assess performance particulars and integrate them into action plans.
  5. Differentiate the praise. No two sales reps are the same. No two value or respect the same approach. Balancing the equal treatment takes some skill; on the other hand, that just may be your job – knowing your sales reps well enough to measure their perception and expectation.
  6. Exercise surprise and awe. Even if you have a formal structure on performance recognition, like sales contests or compensation structures, you benefit from rewarding performance on the spot as it occurs.
  7. Spread the wealth. Recognition is not just for the sales rainmakers. A little encouragement delivered to the low and mid performers goes a long way towards leveling the playing field.
  8. Get performers’ input. Congratulating someone on his/her performance has one effect. Asking for their input on how they accomplished the goal benefits others and pays a completely new sort of respect.
  9. Keep the system transparent. Using clear and uncompromised methodology and metrics adds trust and conviction to the praise.
  10. Make success auditable. Sales reps should be able to follow and share performance objectives and metrics easily and publicly enough to see the integrity in the praise.

For the Sales Manager to succeed there needs to be a culture of recognition. While you may lead, you want to encourage praise from all who are positioned to do so. You want to facilitate peer participation and recognize the praise as a team and unit norm. In short, you may also recognize those who praise. These 10 workable sales recognition strategies are only a start.

Sales recognition strategies image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tomek Jordan

advisory board member at Repignite
Interested in Sales Performance Management, Sales Incentive Management.