There is a growing trend in human
resource management pertaining to benefits provided to employees. While many of
the concepts are not new, when combined on a per-employee or per-department
basis, they are taking on new meaning. And, there are surprising reactions
taking place, especially in the sales arena. Although not necessarily
politically correct, the use of the phrase “no perks for jerks” is being
whispered by many.
For years employers have offered a
variety of scheduling options to employees, such as work-from-home, flex
schedules, shared work schedules, etc. Additionally, there are company cars or
mileage reimbursement programs. You may have options for gym memberships or
other wellness programs. And, of course, medical (and related) insurance
products are becoming more and more customized.
So you may be wondering why I’m on this
topic? Well, more than ever, these various benefits are being used by sales
managers (or sales intensive organizations) to motivate and reward their top
sales folks, the ‘A’ level sales people on their teams. I am being asked on a
fairly regular basis to counsel my personal clients on ways they can begin to
implement new plans for their sales teams. While each must be customized to
meet the individual working environment or culture, I want to share with sales
managers a few ideas.
First and foremost, the most successful
of sales teams are fully aware that sales people are not created equal. And,
good sales managers should not attempt to manage each team member equally, but
rather as the individual they are, and for the individual talents they possess.
But, keeping a level of competitiveness in place also helps maintain the spirit
a success-driven organization, a top performer only model, and weeds out the
weaker sales people.
Initially, all sales people should be
reminded that any and all benefits provided by the company are a privilege and
not a right or guarantee. A culture of general appreciation for what is made
available is a key factor in future modification to the benefits or incentive
plan. Once the culture of appreciation is in place, a sales manager can then
begin to make changes. Changes should be offered and made available to each and
every sales team member, but only based upon performance.
For example, offering a shortened work
week by allowing a rep to have Friday’s off during the summer, may be a great
incentive, but should only be available to the rep(s) that hit(s) a quota of
some sort. Or, once a rep has been with the company for a certain period of
time, and if this rep has exceeded the goals set forth, the sales manager via
the company may want to provide a different level of insurance or premium
The whisper of “no perks for jerks”
should be kept in mind at all times. As a sales manager, when sales reps begin
to fall behind or lack the necessary achievements for such benefits or rewards,
their true personalities have a tendency to show. If and when the rep begins to
act like a jerk because someone else is being granted one of these perks and
they are not, this becomes an indication that they are not an ‘A’ level sales
person and it may be time to go.
Use what is available in your benefit
offerings to help advance the ‘A’ sales people and the results will be
increased revenue and ROI.