Recognize The Prize

By Malcolm Fleschner

Too frequently the sales manager’s job is so taxing, so filled with paperwork, and generally so stressful that the important work of recognizing the terrific job salespeople are doing falls by the wayside. The challenges of an uncertain economy have merely exacerbated the situation. But with a few simple changes to your managerial strategy, says author Denise O’Berry, proactive recognition can become a regular part of the way you run your sales team. She recommends the following five tips.

1. Put It on the Schedule
Arrange a team meeting where the only topic is what great work people are doing. Be specific and focus on the actions both individuals and groups have taken that have produced results or laid the groundwork for future success. Make the meeting a negativity-free zone.

2. Little Actions Have Big Effects
Even something as seemingly minor as sending a note to a team member for a job well done can do wonders toward keeping that person motivated and excited about his or her work. Also, encourage team members to recognize one another for accomplishments.

3. Party Together
Make team celebrations a regular part of how you operate. Plan the events to celebrate around (successful resolution of a crisis, meeting a big deadline, adding a new team member, etc.), how to celebrate (festooning the office with celebratory posters, inviting a senior manager to join you, bringing the whole team together to meet with a customer onsite), and then make the plan happen.

4. Find the Culprits
Sometimes the true hero of a successful effort is not the one who seizes the spotlight. If there is anyone operating under the radar at your organization who nonetheless plays a critical role in making success happen, be sure to set aside special rewards or recognitions for that person.

5. Do It Up
Go ahead and make a big deal of recognition. It’s nearly impossible to say thank you too much or too effusively. And the benefits – a greater sense of involvement, ownership and commitment from your team members – leave no doubt that this is the best policy.