Sales Awards Are Overrated

Sales people love to talk about their sales awards. President’s Club, Rookie of the Year, etc. I even met a guy who put these accomplishments on his business card. Yuck! Trust me, customers do not care about some internal award you won. Let me explain why sales awards are overrated.

What Is A President’s Club Award Winner?

The President’s Club is the supposedly prestigious sales award that many reps aspire to earn during their career. This is called a lot of different things depending on the company. The Winners Circle, 100% Club, etc. It is a way of recognizing sales reps that meet or exceed their quota. These reps are recognized with a trip or a reward for being a top performer. Sometimes the trips are to an exotic destination and grant sales reps one on one time with company leadership. The concept started back in 1907 at NCR.

Related: How To Get Promoted In Medical Sales

Do Sales Awards Really Drive Results?

I am big believer in controlling the things you can in life. Trying to control things beyond your control just leads to frustration and disappointment. It is good to be ambitious and set stretch goals. One of the most fulfilling things in life is to work towards a goal that just beyond your grasp. Sales awards don’t help with any of this. They exist to incentivize a sales force towards working harder. They exist to get sales people to think they can control things they really are not able to. Yes, you should strive towards being a high performer. But many of the market factors that go into determining who wins these awards will always be beyond your control.

What Does Top Performance Look Like In Sales?

The system is only credible if all sales reps at the organization have a equal opportunity to succeed. This is rarely the case. To be fair, companies try to make things work. They play around with the metrics. For example, a percentage to plan structure favors smaller markets. A total sales or revenue structure favors large markets. A blend of these is probably the structure which makes things most attainable for every rep on the team.

The purpose of these awards is to drive the right behavior. The idea is to reward high performers and motivate the rest of the team to keep improving. The problem is that awards for sales reps function more as a recruiting exercise than a way of motivating the entire salesforce. It takes the highest performing reps, and therefore the highest paid reps, and shows others in the industry what is possible. This is great for demonstrating to those outside of the company that a lot of money can be made. But it is not representative of the average rep at the company. Just because one rep, in one market, in one year blew out his quota and made 600k does not mean anyone coming over can generate these type of results. It is gimmick.

Related: The Career Path Of A Medical Device Sales Manager

Is President’s Club A Big Deal?

It depends on who you ask. I think President’s Circle programs are outdated. They do not align with the expectations of Millennials and Gen Z. This era of workers desires programs that acknowledge the uniquely specific contribution of an individual. I am not speaking about some new age, “everybody gets a trophy” type of thing.

Related: 5 Biggest Challenges In Medical Device Sales

The next generation of corporate workers sees through an arbitrarily constructed program designed just to squeeze extra productivity out of the workforce. In the past, sales award programs were static and rewarded the same reps every year based on the same metric. These programs need to be updated for the era of “The Great Resignation” and “Quiet Quitting”.

Think about it. The general culture of the country is changing. Things like the Oscars and Grammys use to be a big deal. Now, they are viewed as fake, corporate, and uninspiring.

What Are Some Types Of Better Sales Awards?

  • Contribution to culture
  • Spiffs or cash bonuses
  • Personal bests
  • Most improved or growth award
  • Tenure or milestones
  • Market specific awards
  • Celebratory dinner
  • Gamification

Should Medical Sales Reps Post Awards on LinkedIn?

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