Creative Tips for Rewarding Top-Performing Sales Reps

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Let’s talk about sales rep rewards. With employee engagement at an all-time low and more reps leaving their employers every day, we’ve got to find new and creative ways to show appreciation to our top-performing employees to entice them to stay! 

If you lead a digital sales team, you’ll probably remember the days you brought big-screen TVs to the front of the sales floor for the quarterly contest. My husband and I both came up in sales, and we have patio furniture, a few game sets, and LOTS of electronics. We’ve been to countless baseball and basketball suites and even visited Maui, Whistler, and the Bahamas thanks to President’s Club Trips. I bet you’ve enjoyed the big three sales incentives yourself: Sports, Electronics, and Travel (oh my!).

They’re classics for a reason, but every once in a while I have to remind myself that classic can actually mean outdated. Here are a few creative ideas to refresh your sales rep rewards and incentives with the new generations and dispersed teams in mind:

  1. Combine travel and service. I love how this generation wants to give back. Can you build homes before hitting the resort in the Dominican Republic? We learned about a group called Wine To Water that provides sustainable water resources in 3rd world vacation destinations. Let your winners pick from a few choices!
  2. Focus on growth trips. Today’s sellers are ALL about career growth. So make the trip to a great industry conference + pre-conference certification. Or send them with a few colleagues to off-site career training + a weekend of fun instead.
  3. Add family. That’s right, not all your reps want to be seen in a swimsuit with the rest of the team, so give them the voucher to take their family instead! 
  4. Go big with recognition. The top rep gets a billboard. They pick the message!
  5. Make quality time even more quality. How about an elegant dinner with the executives and their families? Fly them in, let them bring a guest, and have the head honchos serve them! Bonus, invite them to your President’s home to do it.
  6. Go social. Refresh your standard prizes by helping them post their win with a photo backdrop, custom frame, or even a great new title or award honor they can hold and post online. Because it’s not just about DOING great, it’s about being SEEN doing it!
  7. Combine development + time. Leaning in again to their desire to learn and grow, gift them professional training AND Friday afternoons to study, or Wednesday mornings + a personal coach for a year, or 5 Monday morning shadows with 5 top performers in the company!
  8. Recognize their individuality by letting THEM pick! There are really cool services today like and Blueboard that let reps pick their own rewards. Add the recognition component by posting a picture + interview of them with their prize.

While you’re refreshing your prizes, I invite you to also refresh your criteria. Sales incentives get eye-rolls FAST if the same people always win. Do you have a contest for the newbies? For call quality? For attitude? For key performance indicators? For metrics? All of these can help spread the love for different kinds of talent and behaviors you want more of – not just for the tenured reps with the big accounts. This is critical for keeping fresh diverse talent interested! Folks are watching your leaders and your winners for signs of favoritism and inequity, and sales incentives are definitely in that fishbowl!

Not sure where to go? Pull in a few high-potential reps and ask their opinions! That’s a reward in and of itself.

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