Motivating Your Sales Team with Rewards

motivating your sales team

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.

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

3 Tips for Creating a Successful Multi-Generational Workplace

multi-generational workplace

As we progress into a multi-generational workplace, young employees entering the workforce for the first time are now working with and collaborating on projects with people old enough to be their parents. This creates a dynamic working relationship and an active set of workplace challenges.

Here are three tips on creating a successful multi-generational workplace:

  • Be transparent: Millennials want to know everything about their organization from the top down. Being transparent with company financials and areas of the leadership’s focus isn’t something Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are accustomed to, but it still benefits them. Providing company information is what the younger workers need to hear to be comfortable and it can open the older workers eyes to the benefits of transparent leadership.
  • Make careers unique: Generation X is seven times more likely to be excited to come to work when they feel like their job is a real career, unique from their colleagues. This also works for millennials who want multiple career path options at one organization. If each staff member feels like they’re on their own individual path not only will they feel loyal to the organization, but they will explore what options exist within the organization before looking to leave it.
  • Make it a good place to work: I’m not talking about nap pods and beer kegs making an organization a great workplace. I’m talking about the camaraderie between colleagues and trust in leadership. Millennials, sometimes seen as the job-hopping generation, are 25 times more likely to be loyal to their job if they believe they are in an excellent work environment. It’s less about the perks and more about making a stable, successful organization. This is the most important and transcendent component of success in a multi-generational workplace.


Read more about how to motivate your multi-generational workforce


Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

HR Initiatives and Employee Engagement

HR Initiatives and employee engagement

According to the new #HRWins study done by George LaRocque, employee engagement might be a top priority for HR departments, but when it comes to dedicating financial dollars, core HR initiatives like professional development and learning and training initiatives still garner more of the budget than engagement initiatives, which are still viewed, at least financially, secondary.

Comparing organizational priorities

The study unveiled compelling facts about a chasm between leadership priorities and finance specific priorities. If leadership teams aren’t in line with their finance groups, both areas suffer. We talk a lot on this blog about getting teams to work together and engage effectively. This is a great example of that cooperation needing to start from the top in order for the whole organization to follow suit.

  • 87% of executives rate culture and employee engagement as a top HR issue/initiative
  • Yet only 37% of companies indicate that finance is prioritizing employee engagement
  • Only 8% of responding organizations has implemented a strategy around employee engagement

On the flip side, finance teams are willing to increase budgets for core HR initiatives

  • 39% of finance leaders would increase budget for benefits
  • 34% would increase budgets for learning and development initiatives

What does this tell us?

Benefits and other core HR initiatives are still number one, at least when it comes to the budget. If HR initiatives and employee engagement are truly a top priority for leadership staff the monetary value and long-term ROI needs to be communicated and shown in practice and staff impact. One of the major issues that finance leaders have is tying employee engagement to overall business results. If employee engagement programs are working we need to be able to display monetary evidence that prevents miscommunication and can’t be subjectively argued with. When employee engagement is as important as benefits and training there will be a financial trail to support that importance.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Engaging Employees with Safety Incentives

Safety incentives

Employee safety and wellness are fast becoming a top priority for organizations. In a given year, companies spend over $170 billion in costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses. To reduce these costs, and to keep employees engaged and healthy, you need a successful safety incentives program, but that will not create itself. Employees do not just see a safety program and buy in 100% for an indefinite amount of time. Employees need to be incentivized to engage in the programs that you are putting out there for their, and your, benefit.

Creating a Successful Safety Incentive Program White Paper

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The employee benefit of safety incentives

The most valuable asset in any company are the employees and it is the employer’s responsibility to make work conditions as safe as possible. Implementing an effective safety incentive program helps to increase employee engagement, makes your workforce more productive and satisfied and has even shown lower turnover rates.

The employer benefit of safety incentives

Successful safety incentive programs can yield an ROI of up to 400. The money saved from developing an effective safety incentive program which prevents accidents, increases engagement, and maintains morale far outweighs the costs associated with an accident itself. Inspirus, an employee engagement platform provider, shared a number of companies that reduced accidents with a safety incentives program, saving millions of dollars in wellness costs in the process. Let’s take a look at one example of a company who saw successful from implementing a safety incentive program:

Heartland Foods: Went from 285 lost-time injuries per year to just 14 after implementing a safety incentives program, and in the process saved $11,653,000.

The multi-generational workforce

To successfully increase engagement in a safety incentive program, it is important to know who you are trying to engage and their preferred “reward style” (i.e. the type of reward and how it is given). Different generations need to be segmented differently, as do different types of workers, like contingent vs. permanent workers. Each segment needs to be treated differently while valued equally.

Gift cards as safety incentives

A recent annual survey for EHS Daily Advisor revealed that gift cards was the most popular reward option in a safety incentive program. Gift cards can be customized, and the variety of options available with gift cards (restaurants, retailers, etc.) makes appealing to every audience easy. Gift cards can act as a tangible and instantaneous reward for specific actions and help to engage employees and truly reward them for specific safety behaviors.

Want to learn more about successfully implementing a safety incentive program?

Download Creating a Successful Safety Incentive Program to learn how utilizing a safety incentive program increases engagement and what rewards work best for your workers.

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A Brief Guide to Employee Advocacy

employee advocacy

Employee advocacy can be a powerful tool in building employee trust, investing in the company, and also helping to recruit talent and spread positive word-of-mouth about your organization and its products. However, employee advocacy needs to fit your staff, your company, and your objectives for a program to have the desired affects.

Here are three components to help when deciding if employee advocacy is right for your organization:

  1. Know if advocacy will work for you: According to a recent study from Holtz Communications, 70% of employees in a typical organization aren’t behind the organization’s mission. Ensuring that your employees and management are in good standing with each other, and that your general workforce believes in the goals and mission of your organization, is key. You need to make sure that your advocates are going to advocate for you and not antagonize the organization.
  2. Start with enthusiasts: This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s often overlooked. Start with your enthusiastic, positive people. Employee advocacy can be a huge risk if the responsibility is put in the wrong hands. Lower your risk by putting that responsibility in trustworthy hands at the beginning of your program. Lower your risk and create easy wins.
  3. Make it easy: Using content sharing platforms to set up challenges and allow employees to share content with only a couple of clicks is a great way to create momentum early in your program. Making it easy for employees to participate is critical. Don’t intimidate an employee because they don’t know what to share on social media. Put the power in their hands and watch the advocacy momentum take off. Use the virality of social media posts to jump start your program.

Employee advocacy can be tricky, but if you start your program off strong, it will grow employee loyalty, trust and investment in your organization. Employee advocacy can easily grow into employee retention.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Internal Factors Lead to Organizational Growth Issues

organizational growth issues

Organizational growth issues exist in some form at almost every company. There can often be a “chicken or the egg” mentality between two opposing factors that often lead to a scramble instead of a steady positive growth curve. Most companies blame this on external factors like funding, the market, or even a competitor move. However, new research from Bain & Company shows that most organizational growth issues actually stem from within the organization.

According to the survey of 400 executives:

  • Only 15% cite lack of opportunity as a growth barrier
  • 85% believe their biggest organizational growth issues are internal in nature
  • 94% believe that their most difficult challenges of any persuasion begin from within

And then there’s this “squishier” stat. Most of these growth barriers are a result of bureaucracy and organizational complexity. For example, it’s tough to be agile and come up with an innovative, quick solution to a problem when you need 5 layers of approvals from busy folks who may not check their emails until 10 p.m. Harvard Business Review calls this the Growth Paradox. As growth creates organizational complexity, that complexity can stifle growth.

It’s also important to consider how these changes and organizational growth issues can affect employees. If someone had a lot of autonomy in a position, and as the company grows they lose that autonomy, your organization risks losing their talent. Balancing bureaucracy with necessary layering is critical to balancing growth with turnover. This also becomes an issue of balancing employee satisfaction and employee loyalty. If as you grow, you also grow a reputation as a place where great talent simply passes through, rather than sticking by and investing in the mission, your internal issues will endure.

Organizational growth issues can quickly grow into not only revenue issues, but HR and employee/management relationship issues. Knowing the signs and understand your company’s specific issues can help minimize and even avoid them.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Promote Employee Loyalty From Within

promote employee loyaltyEmployers are constantly looking to find ways to promote employee loyalty in a professional climate of job hoppers and career changers. Employers try everything from nap pods to unlimited vacation to beer in the kitchen. But what do employees really need in order to feel dedicated to an employer? The answer, real purpose. To feel important and connected to organizational goals and to be provided with opportunities to learn and grow outweigh any perk an employer could provide. In short, invest in employees and they will invest in you.

Employees and career choices

According to a recent Cornerstone OnDemand survey conducted by Kelton Global:

  • 89% of employees would consider a lateral move to find fulfillment in their careers
  • 77% would relocate to work for a company that fulfilled their career goals
  • 55% would change careers (including 75% of millennials) in order to be more satisfied at work

These statistics show that perks are great, but a really fulfilling workplace that grows talent and recognizes exceptional work outweighs any cool atmosphere enhancement. Your office might feel like a clubhouse, but if you aren’t willing to grow your talent from within, it might end up walking out the door.

These statistics and others like them are so important for employers to be aware of and to take into account when making Human Resource management decisions. With employee loyalty a top-of-mind priority for most HR departments, creating a culture of talent value, promoting from within and professional development at any level are extremely important.

Keys to help promote employee loyalty

  • Peer mentorship with high-level employees to low-level employees
  • Maintaining a budget for employee learning programs
  • Ensuring that when employees do learn externally there is accountability to share that knowledge with their peers

Implementing programs like these are a few simple ways to build the infrastructure required for professional development and long-term employee loyalty.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

3 Tips to Engage Remote Employees

engage remote employees

Technology has made working from home a more common occurrence than ever before. Gallup’s 2015 annual Work and Education poll showed that 37 percent of U.S. workers indicated they have worked from home, up almost 30 percent since 1995. So how are you going to engage so many remote employees this year? With an increased number of companies providing flexible schedules and the ability for many employees to work remotely at least part of the time, it is important to have a plan to motivate, inform engage remote employees to ensure success.

  1. Mutual understanding: Remote employees and their managers need to work extra hard to safeguard that responsibilities, tasks, due dates are taken seriously and continuously met. Since these employees and their managers don’t have the chance encounters in the hallway or in the 5 minutes after a meeting ends, it’s important to find alternative ways to have those off-hand check-ins. Managers also need to make themselves easily available for employees to ask questions more often than just in planned meetings. It can be as simple as more emails or short phone calls, but it could make the difference between engagement and employee failure.
  2. Trust, trust, trust: This may seem like a given but trust is the most important part of having a remote workforce and engaging those employees. You can’t see them, you don’t know that they are at their desks all day and likewise, they may not know their manager cares about the extra hours they put in or their above and beyond performances on a certain project. Differences in time zone and working hours can compound this challenge. Additionally, tone can often get lost in our connected world, so doing a little extra to make sure your employees know you trust them to get their work done and to give their all to projects could be the difference between having an engaged, empowered remote group and having to look for a new team.
  3. Recognition and reinforcement: Since communication structures are often different for remote teams, recognizing exceptional behavior and reinforcing it among peers is critical. Mike Ryan, Senior Vice President at Madison Performance Group notes that creating a “democratic” or peer-to-peer recognition strategy can be even more engaging. It empowers employees not only to work hard, but to look out for others’ exceptional behavior. Giving employees the power to call each other’s hard work out is empowering and engaging all on its own. It can be a unique engagement program component that brings a remote team together. Adding rewards to this type of program can also show that an employer is willing to invest not only time and effort but money into this type of recognition and engagement as well.

Remote workforces can enable your team to scout the best talent and create work schedules and arrangements that work for both managers and employees. However, these teams can grow distant and it can be difficult for executives and managers to engage employees who aren’t in the office, or aren’t in the office all of the time. Use recognition, trust, and clear communication to engage remote employees.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Motivating a Multi-Generational Workforce

Motivating a Multi-Generational Workforce

When typing the word “motivation” into Amazon’s bookstore you’ll discover there are over 100,000 books related to motivation: The Motivation Manifesto, 77 Ways to Get Motivated, Drive: The Surprise Truth About What Motivates Us; the list goes on and on. But all that helpful advice must be taken with a grain of salt now that managers are motivating a multi-generational workforce.

Three generations now make up today’s workforce. Look around the office and you’ll see Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and who could forget all those Millennials. According to Pew Research Center’s 2015 study, U.S. Labor Force by Generation, Baby Boomers make up 44.6 million, Generation Xers make up 52.7 million, and Millennials make up 53.5 million of the U.S. labor force. So why is this so important? Because each generation is motivated by different values, work styles, communication tactics, job responsibilities, and rewards.

Motivating a Multi-Generational Workforce

Motivating a multi-generational workforce

To clearly identify what motivates each generation it’s important to understand their lifestyles, how they think and what major events may have shaped them up to this point. Lead Star’s recent report, Leading & Motivating a Multi-Generational Workforce, compiles guidelines —carefully differentiating them from negative stereotypes— to keep in mind when looking to motivate each generation.

Motivating a Multi-Generational Workforce

Chart created based on information from Lead Star’s report Leading & Motivating a Multi-Generation Workforce.

While this chart isn’t a catch all for finding exactly what makes each generation tick, it is helpful in identifying how different tactics work when motivating a multi-generational workforce.

Think of it this way…

Mary is a 35-year-old mother of two who enjoys going to her sons’ baseball games and camping on weekends. Mary goes above and beyond on a big project and the boss wants to acknowledge her hard work and get her motivated for the next project coming her way. Based on the chart above, what scenario would be the best for Mary?

Scenario 1: Mary’s boss schedules an in-person meeting with her to reward her with a promotion. The promotion will require Mary to work longer hours and one weekend a month, but gives her a big pay raise.

Scenario 2: Mary’s boss calls everyone’s attention right before lunch to publicly thank Mary for all her hard work on the project. He gives her a handwritten thank you letter with a Whole Foods Market gift card for $100. The following day Mary uses the gift card to buy refreshments for all the parents at her sons’ baseball game.

In this case, Scenario 2 would most likely be the better choice of action. Generation Xers tend to value both public recognition and work/life balance over financial rewards like promotions.

Gaining an understanding of what each generation expects or values helps guide managers and leaders to successfully reward or motivate. Take a closer look at your workforce, when it comes to motivation it’s not a one size fits all scenario.

Lauren is the Marketing Specialist here at GiftCard Partners. She enjoys all things marketing and design related. Learning about the newest trends and technologies in the b2b gift card world and seeing how we can use them to develop the best experience for our audience and reader base is our goal.

Employee Travel Rewards Gain Popularity and Value

employee travel rewardsEmployee travel rewards are common and have been since the days of service crystals and 5- year pins. But the way they are being applied in today’s employee reward environment is changing and evolving. Here are three ways employee travel rewards are changing and can be used to maximize effectiveness.

  1. Technology Extends Reach: Technology has changed every aspect of our lives, and employee rewards are no exception. Technology helps extend the reach of employee reward programs, allowing employees to accrue more points or credits towards rewards, as well as allowing employers to engage employees in different ways, like through gamification. According to the latest IRF 2016 Trends in Incentive Travel, Rewards, and Recognition study, over 30% of employers use gaming techniques in their employee reward and recognition programs. Technology also allows employers to build their programs to include large incentives like travel and to measure them to assure employees are earning the larger more expensive rewards.
  2. Gift Card Programs Show Confidence: The prevalence of gift card programs shows confidence in the economy, in investment in employee incentive programs, and confidence that larger rewards such as employee travel rewards can pay off. 38% of the responding employers to the 2016 IRF study plan to increase their rewards budgets in 2016, leaving options for larger incentive goals like employee travel rewards. So while gift cards are smaller spot rewards, they also act as indicators for the larger employee incentive and reward climate.
  3. Non-Cash is Playing a New Role: “Three quarters of all U.S. businesses leverage non-cash rewards and recognition to motivate and engage their workforce on some level, spending over $77 billion annually,” according to the IRF study. But in order for the non-cash reward to be most effective, it must be delivered appropriately. Using non-cash rewards for non-core job responsibilities maximizes their effectiveness and your program’s efficiency. Non-core job responsibilities can include tasks and projects that employees raise their hands to get involved in.

The value of employee incentive programs is rising and employee travel rewards are gaining popularity in the face of increasing incentive value, the continued rise of non-cash rewards, and technology extending the reach of rewards and the ability to track employee efforts. How are you using travel rewards in your company?

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.