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Motivating Your Sales Team with Rewards

Posted, by Deborah Merkin
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While motivating your sales team can be a difficult task, it’s a crucial factor in the overall success of your organization. Highly motivated sales professionals are more engaged with their work and have lower levels of absenteeism. They also help your business thrive by both acquiring and maintaining loyal and recurrent clients or customers.

Often, business owners feel that salespeople should be able to ‘self-motivate’, and to some extent this may be true. But in order for business owners to support a successful sales force they cannot idly stand by with the hope that employees will always find that inspiration from within.

Motivation can come in different shapes and sizes. What motivates one salesperson may not motivate his or her colleagues. There are two primary categories when it comes to motivation: Recognition (in the form of intangible praise or ‘thank yous’) and Appreciation (shown in the form of tangible rewards such as gift cards or time off)


Public recognition – Salespeople, by their driven nature, thrive on personal recognition. Make it a point to compliment them, especially in front of their customers and colleagues. If salespersons work resonates with a client, ask the client for a testimonial. Testimonials are a win-win for both customer and salesperson. The salesperson feels like a valuable asset to the customer and the customer will have an inspired salesperson working with them, and for them, in the future…creating a loyal customer.

Recognition from higher-ups – It’s good to hear praise from sources who aren’t our direct manager. Whenever possible having someone like the CEO, President, etc. recognize a salesperson’s hard work can have a long lasting effect on performance.

Make it a ‘family affair’ – Salespeople tend to put in long hours at the office, spend time traveling, and entertain clients long after the 5 o’clock bell rings. Sending a letter home to their family thanking a spouse or children for their support in addition to the attributes of the salesperson can show you care for the well-being of the employee and the loved ones that mean the most to them.

Immediate recognition goes far – remember when recognizing an employee “the sooner, the better”. An immediate reaction to closed deals and overall positive attitudes goes much further than waiting days or weeks to recognize an action. Recognizing employee’s actions when the activity is still fresh in everyone’s mind reinforces that behavior will be repeated.


Rewarding your employees for a job well done can have a long lasting effect on your salespeople.  Here are a few ways to use incentives to show your team you appreciate them.

Implement daily/weekly/monthly incentives – Offering gift cards and other incentives can encourage your sales team to go the extra mile.  Daily incentives for new leads or lead qualifications can help your team push each other to do better and increase friendly competition. Incentives can also be budget friendly, like a $5 gift card for a cup of coffee the next morning. Weekly and monthly grand prize gift cards can be for a dinner for two at The Cheesecake Factory, or a new business outfit from The Limited. Be creative with the possibilities.

Incentives for reaching personal goals – Observe your salespeople for what motivates them.  Perhaps they perk up when lunch is catered from their favorite sandwich shop or getting a few extra hours off on a Friday to go out with their children or being rewarded on their birthdays, work anniversaries, or wedding anniversary. Whatever the occasion may be, help them achieve exclusive perks to their favorite places to celebrate or just some extra time out of the office to be with family when they reach personal sales goals.

Rewarding company sales goals – Implement incentives for when an individual salesperson or sales teams reach or exceed company sales goals. A quick example: Set a goal of $100,000 in sales for the quarter. To keep the sales team motivated throughout the quarter, use a  $50 gift card in addition to the standard commission structure, for reaching certain sales milestones such as $10,000 in sales for a week.

Incentives can go a long way and leave a lasting impression with your sales team.  Whether it’s a memorable dinner out or a new item that the salesperson wouldn’t purchase with cash, rewards focused on individual’s interests or passions are more valuable and set the bar for a more productive and motivated workforce. Here are 10 more ways to help motivate your salespeople.

Topics: Employee Recognition, Gift Card Incentives & Rewards, Employee Appreciation, Employee Engagement, Rewards and Recognition, Sales Incentives

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