Incentives and Recognition Make for a Strong Sales Team

by: Nichole Gunn November 10, 2010

Skilled business leaders and managers know the importance of the personal touch. Words of thanks and appreciation for meeting objectives, a ‘pat on the back,’ and even a handwritten thank-you note are effective motivational techniques. Along with these token of recognition are gift certificates, plaques, and even cash.

This type of appreciation is considered on-the-spot recognition and apt sales managers use it effectively to motivate and reward their sales team.

Every business that relies on salespeople to bring in new business and continue to draw business from existing customers knows their importance. Sales can be a high pressure job and it’s the sales managers’ responsibility to keep the team motivated and content.

Erick Mosley, Globoforce CEO and cofounder, noted in an article by Malcolm Fleschner for, that “on-the-spot recognition serves an important motivational role in sales, in particular with middle tier performers who tend not to win the big sales incentive prizes but stand to gain the most from additional encouragement and direction.”

While being an effective incentive strategy to motivate sales, the sales team also needs to be encouraged to look beyond the ‘sale.’ This may be difficult if their only rewards are focused on their successes in reeling-in-the-fish.

Fleschner advises “using unexpected recognition and appreciation to reward salespeople for behaviors that fall outside of what is defined by their sales incentives.”


The sales rep who brings in the most new business may very well be rewarded with existing and more traditional incentive and compensation programs. But, it’s the behind the scenes company oriented behavior that should be rewarded with on-the-spot recognition. Mosley explains that behavior “such as mentoring a junior representative, improving a sales process that saved the company time or money, or proactively finding an opportunity overseas,” are perfect areas for instant recognition.

Recognizing an employee in this manner has the added benefit of fostering like-minded actions by others in the sales team. This will go a long way toward building morale and loyalty, as well as building long-term company oriented employee behavior.

About Nichole Gunn