Skip to content

Reimagining Recognition: A Sales Manager's Weekly Challenge

Reps tend to love recognition, at least the really good ones do.  There are a lot of ways to do recognition. Here are a few ways you may have not considered... 

The Pitch
Sales Manager Challenge: Do recognition differently this week. In the hustle of closing deals and hitting targets, the smaller achievements often go unnoticed. Yet, it's these moments that build the foundation for success. This week, take on the challenge of recognizing the unsung efforts that align with your team's values and behaviors. A study by Bersin by Deloitte found that organizations with recognition programs highly effective at improving employee engagement had a 31% lower voluntary turnover. This isn't just about saying 'good job'; it's about fostering a culture where every contribution is valued and every effort is acknowledged.

Find 1 thing each day to recognize someone for
Make it your mission to identify daily contributions that make a difference. This could be a rep's innovative approach to a client problem, their dedication to team collaboration, or their ability to stay resilient in the face of challenges. The key is to look beyond the obvious wins and find value in the behaviors that contribute to a positive and productive team environment. By doing so, you're not only acknowledging the importance of these actions but also encouraging their repetition. This daily recognition becomes a powerful tool for reinforcing the behaviors and attitudes that you want to see in your team. It's a proactive approach to shaping your team's culture and ensuring that the values you espouse are lived out in day-to-day interactions. Moreover, this practice can lead to increased morale and motivation, as team members feel seen and appreciated for their contributions, no matter how small they may seem.

It can't be for closing a deal
Shift the focus from end results to the processes and behaviors that lead to those results. Recognize the meticulous planning, the creative problem-solving, and the exceptional customer service that are often overshadowed by the final sale. This shift in focus can lead to a more balanced and sustainable sales culture, where long-term success is built on a foundation of solid sales practices and strong customer relationships. It also helps to mitigate the pressure that comes with a sole focus on closing deals, which can lead to burnout and turnover. By celebrating the journey as much as the destination, you're acknowledging the full spectrum of what it means to be a successful salesperson. This approach also aligns with research from the American Psychological Association, which suggests that recognizing employee efforts increases job satisfaction and loyalty to the company.

Tied to a team value or behavior
Connect recognition to the core values and behaviors that define your team. This reinforces the importance of these values and demonstrates how they translate into everyday actions. Whether it's a rep's commitment to continuous learning, their support of a teammate, or their integrity in dealing with a difficult situation, these are the moments that truly define your team's character. By tying recognition to these values, you're not only celebrating individual achievements but also strengthening the team's collective identity. This practice can also serve as a guide for new team members, illustrating the kinds of behaviors that are valued and rewarded within the team. It's a way to ensure that your team's values are more than just words on a wall; they're a living, breathing part of your team's culture.

Can be about something that is part of the sales play
Look for opportunities to recognize contributions to the sales play—those strategic actions that are part of your team's approach to winning business. This could be a rep's thorough research on a prospect, their thoughtful preparation for a sales call, or their diligent follow-up after a client meeting. These are the building blocks of a successful sales strategy, and recognizing them underscores their importance. It also provides clear examples of what good looks like when it comes to executing your sales play. This kind of recognition can serve as a practical guide for the rest of the team, highlighting the specific actions and approaches that contribute to success. It's a way to make the abstract concrete and to show that the sales play isn't just a concept; it's a set of actions that real people are taking every day.

Share that recognition publicly (huddle/weekly mtg)
Public recognition can be a powerful motivator. When you acknowledge someone's contributions in front of their peers, you're not only giving them a moment in the spotlight; you're also signaling to the rest of the team what kinds of contributions are valued. This public acknowledgment can boost the recipient's confidence and encourage others to emulate the recognized behaviors. However, it's important to be mindful of how you do this, as not everyone is comfortable with public recognition. The key is to know your team and to share recognition in a way that feels genuine and appropriate. This could be a brief mention in a team huddle, a shout-out in a weekly meeting, or even a highlight in a team newsletter. The format is less important than the act of recognition itself, which should be a regular and visible part of your team's rhythm.

Be specific
When recognizing someone, be specific about what they did and why it matters. This specificity not only makes the recognition more meaningful to the recipient but also serves as a learning opportunity for the rest of the team. Instead of vague praise, offer concrete examples of what the person did and how it contributed to the team's goals. This clarity helps to reinforce the behaviors you want to see and provides a clear model for others to follow. It also ensures that the recognition is perceived as sincere and well-deserved, rather than as empty flattery. Specificity turns recognition into a tool for personal and professional development, not just a pat on the back.

Share why it's important
Explain the impact of the recognized behavior on the team and the organization. This context helps the recipient understand the broader significance of their actions and can be incredibly motivating. It's one thing to know that you did something well; it's another to understand how that action contributed to the team's success or aligned with the company's mission. This understanding can deepen the recipient's sense of purpose and connection to the team and the organization. It also helps to build a narrative around what success looks like, which can inspire others to contribute in similar ways.

Thank them for doing it
Always end with a thank you. This simple act of gratitude can go a long way in making the recipient feel valued and appreciated. It's a sign of respect and acknowledgment that their efforts have not gone unnoticed. A thank you can be the final touch that turns recognition into a truly meaningful experience for the recipient. It's a small gesture that can have a big impact on morale and motivation.

So What?
By taking on this recognition challenge, you're committing to a practice that can transform the dynamics of your team. It's an opportunity to build a culture of appreciation, where every contribution is acknowledged and valued. This kind of environment not only boosts morale but also drives engagement and performance. When people feel recognized and appreciated, they're more likely to go above and beyond, to be more creative, and to stay with the company longer. For the sales manager, this practice is a step toward becoming the leader that everyone wants to work for—one who sees and celebrates the full range of their team's talents and efforts.

Next Steps
✅ Identify daily contributions.
✅ Connect recognition to values.
✅ Be specific in praise.
✅ Explain the impact.
✅ Offer public acknowledgment.
✅ Express gratitude.

Closed Won!
As we wrap up this discussion on recognition, I encourage you to take these insights and turn them into action. Recognition is a powerful tool that, when used thoughtfully, can elevate your team's performance and morale. What have you done that worked, what are you trying to help level up your reps and make you the Sales Leader you wanted to work for?

Leave a comment or question below, let's help each other, and our reps move those deals to "Closed Won!"

Leave a Comment