How to Appreciate High Performing Sales Reps

by Dec 16, 2015Solution Selling0 comments

  Appreciate High Performing Sales Reps

Do you know how to best appreciate high performing sales reps?  Now that you are a sales leader, think back to your days as an individual contributor on the sales team. What types of rewards and recognition were you hoping for if you achieved your sales objectives? What kept you reaching for higher targets? Which incentives were the most powerful drivers?

Why Appreciation Matters to Sales Reps

Any sales manager who wants to keep their high sales performers motivated, engaged and retained should know what matters most. Sales compensation strategies need to be designed so that the entire team works to earn the rewards in alignment with your sales strategy and sales culture. But it is critically important to have strategies in place that appeal to your top sales talent.

Why? Because, according to results of studies done by Ernest O’Boyle, Jr. and Herman Aguinis that were cited in the Harvard Business Review, “a high performer can deliver 400% more productivity than the average performer.”

How to Appreciate High Performing Sales Reps

What do high performing sales reps need to feel appreciated? They tell us that they need:

A Generous Level of Base Pay Plus Bonuses as Deserved
Typically, top sales professionals care more about monetary rewards than average performers because they have the direct ability to earn more according to their contribution. They need to know the earning potential is there. Some solution selling training experts recommend that there be no cap on sales bonuses.  We agree.  A “no cap on sales bonuses” is a consistent characteristic of high performing sales cultures.

Frequent Positive Feedback
Though they are to some degree self-motivated, top sales performers tend to have healthy egos that feed on being regularly, fairly, and accurately recognized and appreciated.

Meaningful Development Opportunities
Top performers want to get better and better. They like to learn from each opportunity and assignment. Make sure there are opportunities for diverse, and challenging experiences and lots of possibilities for sales training and development and career advancement.

A Rewards and Recognition Program that is Timely and Aligned with What Sales Reps Value Most
Many companies have a President’s Club program that singles out the top sales reps for special recognition. This recognition can come in many forms – from public thanks to an all-expenses paid trip to some exotic location. Do you know what your top salespeople would most appreciate? You could certainly ask them and have them be part of the process to design a rewards and recognition approach that is meaningful.

If you want your rewards and recognition program to increase discretionary effort, decrease attrition, and improve employee advocacy, also make sure that you make the desired performance goals and behaviors abundantly clear.  Then decide how to recognize and reward individual vs. team and company performance in a way that aligns with what people can influence and with your go-to-market sales strategy.

The Bottom Line

All too often, companies choose to reward the “wrong” behaviors. For example, if a major business goal is to work collaboratively on and across teams, the company that rewards individual productivity alone or at the expense of others sabotages the very behaviors they desire to encourage.  Be thoughtful about the rewards and recognition program you design. Encourage the “right” behaviors and make sure that your top performers are excited about striving for the carrot.

To learn more about how to balance appreciation with results, download  Sales Culture – What is the Right Amount of Sales Performance Pressure?

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