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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Valued and Recognized: The Key to a Motivated Sales Team

Valued and Recognized

It takes a unique set of talents to be successful in B2B sales. People who are naturally self-motivated and have a strong desire to win consistently outperform the rest.

But here’s the catchthese same people are those who crave recognition for their performance the most.

Recognition isn’t just “nice to have;” but a crucial element in boosting employee motivation and job satisfaction. Consistent recognition can be the key to unlocking each of your team members’ full potential.

When people receive recognition for their work, it creates a chain reaction with two specific results: increased productivity and increased performance.

Failing to recognize and reward your team can have detrimental effects. It leads to decreased employee engagementmeaning lower productivity, lack of results, and higher turnover rates (just to name a few).

Reinforce Positive Behavior in the Workplace Through Employee Recognition

What Should Recognition Look Like?

Recognition should be as specific as possible. Think back to the last time someone told you, “Great job!” Do you really know why they told you that? Was it because you met their expectations? Exceeded them? Simply completed the task?

Instead of “great job,” identify the specific behaviors you saw that led to someone’s success. This makes it easier for someone to repeat those behaviors again.

For example, “You did a great job warming up the group before jumping into your presentation. I also liked the way you thoroughly explained the information on slide five and then thoughtfully paused for questions.”

When Should I Provide Recognition?

The most impactful recognition is provided as close to in-the-moment as possible. If you’re like me, sometimes you struggle to remember what you had for lunch earlier in the day. Did I have last night’s leftovers, or was today the day I walked down the street to the deli?

The more time you allow to pass, the more likely it is that the person will forget exactly what it is they did to deserve the recognition. Not to mention the fact that you’re more likely to forget to provide the recognition! Build a habit of providing recognition as you see things happening. If that’s not something you’re used to, it may feel a little uncomfortable to begin with, but you’ll be amazed by how quickly your team will appreciate your efforts.

As you recognize others, make sure you have a strong understanding of how each individual likes to be recognized. Some people prefer it face-to-face, some prefer a quick email or message, and some want their name in the lights for all to see! The method of recognition you choose can make a large difference in its effectiveness.

Effective Feedback for Sales Performance

But I Just Can’t Find Anything to Recognize!

There’s a story about how legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry turned around his struggling team. While the other teams were reviewing missed tackles and dropped balls, Landry combed through game footage to build a highlight reel for each of his players. These reels provided his players with example after example of when they had done something naturally and effectively. In sharing these reels with his players, he was recognizing them for the good work they were doing (even though they weren’t winning yet).

When asked about this, Landry explained that while there are an infinite number of ways to do something wrong, but any given player has only a select few ways they can do something with excellence. By watching their previous plays, they could discover what they naturally did right and build upon it. Improving performance isn’t just about accepting what someone says. It’s about taking what they’ve said and applying it in the future. That requires learning.

You can use the same technique with your direct reports and coworkers daily. When you see someone take effective action, stop for a minute and recognize it. This on-the-spot recognition will help them identify their innate behavior pattern, further refine it, and repeat it again in the future. Think of recognition as part of the journey, not just a product of the destination.


Recognition is a powerful tool that can unlock the full potential of your team. By consistently recognizing their efforts, you can boost motivation, engagement, and overall team performance. Start by thinking about each individual and ask yourself - what would be most meaningful to them?

Remember, when your employees feel valued and recognized, success becomes inevitable.


Topics: motivation