Note: This series, “Creating a Brilliant Sales Force,” looks at how you can purposefully design an incredible sales force to reflect your values and align them with your goals. In this fifth part, we’ll look at honoring your top performers in a public way. Read the first, second, third and fourth installments.
Every sales team has top performers. They shine brilliantly, deliver your values flawlessly and always exceed expectations. They are your most valuable tools—and, if you’re not careful, you could lose them to the competition.
Think of your sales team as an array of diamonds—each has their own characteristics, each is unique and each is valuable. When jewelry stores want to sell a particular diamond, they put it in a special display in a glass case.
And if you want your whole team to excel, you need to shine a spotlight on your brightest sales team members, too.
Why? Everyone needs a hero or a mentor. They need someone they can respect and someone they want to be. A well-honed recognition program can create heroes in your organization.
The Difference Between Good Companies vs. Great Companies Is Recognition Programs
At ITA Group, when we think of recognition programs, we live by this simple mantra:
Most companies have some type of recognition program. They’re branded with elite names like “President’s Club,” “Chairman’s Council” or “Peak Performers.”
And, most likely, the program was originally designed to retain top performers. Every head of sales knows competitors are always on the prowl—they’re courting your best people and would love to snatch someone up from right underneath your nose. Of course, losing one of these priceless gems is a living nightmare. The loss of a top performing sales team member can shake an organization to the core, put strong customer relationships at risk and give competitors a leg up.
Strong and meaningful recognition programs show your best players just how important they are to the organization. They make it more difficult for competitors to recruit these people and provide benefits appealing to their need for personal esteem.
But great recognition programs can play an even more important function for your entire team. They communicate your corporate culture, your values and the importance your company places on their people. More than that, recognition programs can reward your people for performance across multiple areas of focus.
While your sales team might lack people who can fly, pick up buildings or have laser-beam vision, there are still plenty of heroes. And celebrating these heroes is great for two separate, yet important, reasons.
- Everyone wants to be celebrated. When someone does something great, celebrating their hard work is a great way of using extrinsic motivation to keep them engaged and motivated. Inspiring participant loyalty can be accomplished through tangible awards or a powerful incentive travel solution.
- Everyone needs a mentor. Not everyone can be the hero of your sales team—and that’s OK. Let the lower-performing sales team members learn from your top performers.
Using your recognition program is a great way to build heroes—people for others to look up to, to put on a pedestal and celebrate.
When you broadcast your heroes’ stories in great detail and show others exactly how they achieved the lofty goals you set for them, you’ll help your whole team succeed. Here are a few examples of ways to turn your sales team members into heroes:
- Make a “best of the best” brochure or book, and send it out to everyone on your team.
- Interview each of your top sales reps and have them explain how they succeed in their own words.
- Bring top performers into classroom training to talk about specific strategies and tactics used to differentiate themselves from competitors.
To maximize your investment in sales team engagement and recognition, create a sales team with the right tools to shine and give them a roadmap to success.
Recognizing your top players helps retain them—that’s easy. But recognition only takes you so far. Find a way to recognize your employees in a way that celebrates their performance and helps others learn from their victories.