Risk, Reward, Motivation

risk_reward_motivationNotice the picture says “DANGER THIN ICE.” I was speaking with a sales manager that had just returned from a quarterly sales award presentation. I could tell from the tone of her voice that it didn’t go well. Then the dreaded words… “I hate this job, can I come work for you?”

Here is an employee that should have been returning from a quarterly sales event FIRED UP, not looking for a new job. This sales manager was clearly on thin ice.

The reason: Management had screwed up the numbers so the people who should have won didn’t. Now she has an entire team pissed off at her for the mistake(s). Any momentum or motivation that she should have received is now gone.

As a sales consultant I work with organizations that fall through this ice. These organizations want to do well. They want to reward their employees. They spend the money, create the trips, offer spiffs, cash, dinner and plaques. The goal of a sales award presentation is to recognize the sales employees who have gone above and beyond the results  of the other representatives.

However the real goal of these sales presentations is to motivate the group of sales representatives that didn’t quite get on the stage. You want this group of sales reps to perform next quarter at a higher rate.

The award ceremonies are one of the most positive events you can have. They are usually a lot of fun with guest speakers, dinner and cash. Everyone has a good time.

So how do you blow it?

Mess up the sales numbers, or worse have representatives question the numbers. If your sales reps don’t completely understand  their compensation plans then the management of that sales department is doomed from the beginning.

The risk with not having a solid compensation plan is that sales reps will not know exactly how they are being measured. If you make changes to the compensation plan in the middle of a quarter then you better have good bean  counters and you better make sure all the representatives understand the change.


Otherwise what happens is that all of the motivation will be sucked right out of your sales department. No amount of reward will be useful because the reps either don’t understand the numbers or they don’t trust the numbers.

Risk, Reward, and Motivation: You WANT and NEED your award ceremonies to go off with out a hitch. Before you assigned the date of your next award ceremony you need to make sure that all of the reps know their sales goals. They need to know the number they are responsible for. If not you will suck any motivation or worse momentum right out of the room.

PS: Talking about thin ice, it will take at least 1 quarter to move past a motivational problem like this.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

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