Recognizing and Rewarding PreSales Roundtable Summary

Feeling seen and praised for your accomplishments and hard work is a core human need. This is especially true in the workplace, where we really want our hard work to be noticed and rewarded. 

But in the PreSales profession, recognition and rewards are often lacking. While many sales teams have sophisticated programs built for this purpose, like “President’s Club”, PreSales professionals can feel left behind and overlooked. 

That’s why today we’ll be talking about the most effective ways to recognize and reward your PreSales teams and partners, from the little moments that shine to celebrating big accomplishments. 

Reward and Recognize the Right Way 

It can be easy to simply default to designing a rewards and recognition program that copies ideas the sales team at your company is already using. But not every team or person enjoys being rewarded the same way. 

From talking to plenty of PreSales teams, we’ve come up with a few effective ideas for ways to provide rewards and recognition to sales engineers. Most leaders we’ve talked to agree - PreSales pros tend to prefer recognition and accolades over money, so our suggestions focus more on that area. 

  1. Shout Outs. Whether these happen on a dedicated recognition Slack channel, the general SC/SE Slack chat, or on LinkedIn, generously giving kudos on an ongoing basis is a top recognition strategy. These can be praise for a great meeting, thanks from a happy customer, or a celebration for winning a deal. 

  1. Leader Love. Getting noticed and praised by a leader, whether in PreSales, sales, or another part of the organization, feels very validating. PreSales leaders can encourage their sales counterparts to recognize PreSales contributors by working with the sales leaders to make it happen. Helping the CEO or CRO ghostwrite emails to send out to PreSales reps to thank them for a first deal won, or a big deal closed, or a work anniversary is also very effective.

  1. Access to Executives. Providing career advancement opportunities is a really powerful way to reward your PreSales team. Inviting them to executive meetings, like a weekly CRO staff meeting where the agenda is safe to invite non-managers, can give them visibility and potential for career growth. 

  1. Create a Recognition Culture. Recognition shouldn’t only be happening when big deals close - there are plenty of other moments where PreSales professionals shine and put in a lot of hard work. Building in moments for recognition during internal town halls and forums, and encouraging people to call out each other’s wins and successes, keeps recognition happening on a frequent basis. 

  1. The Right Rewards Platform. Bigger orgs might have their own internal recognition tool, but there are plenty of other options as well. Kazoo, Bonusly, YouEarnedIt, Workday, and more all have great options for encouraging recognition and designing effective rewards. 

  1. Trip to a Conference. Reward top performers by giving them the opportunity to go to a conference that’s of interest to them (e.g. Dreamforce, re:Invent, Black Hat) and where they can gather learnings to bring back to the team. 

Since recognition should be frequent and happen throughout the year, it’s important to have a variety of recognition platforms so no one gets left behind. This is especially important in PreSales, where almost every leader we’ve talked to faces significant challenges in getting recognition for their reps who often get left out of meetings, award announcements, and deal announcements. 

One common place where leaders tend to struggle to get PreSales included at some organizations: the President’s Club. There’s a lot of variance in how PreSales leaders handle questions around this event, like deciding how many PreSales reps get to go. 

  • Some teams use a fixed percentage of people set at the beginning of the year, or decide at the end of the year based on results. 
  • Other leaders use a point system based on PreSales reps performing specific activities throughout the year. 
  • And some leaders just base it entirely on manager discretion. 

One common factor - the PreSales rep had to hit at least 100% of their annual goal to score an invite to keep it to the objectively highest performers. Whatever method you choose will depend on the specifics of your organization, and your targets for your reps. 

Recognitions and Rewards Strategy

Why are you working to create a recognition program and a rewards strategy? This is a great question to ask yourself before you design anything - you want to be sure you’re focusing on the right aspects of rewards and recognition. As with introducing any new program, you will want to carefully design your recognition and rewards strategy to make sure you’re hitting your goals and mitigating your risks. 

Does it sound a little hyperbolic to say there are risks to thanking individuals and teams for a job well done? Well, consider the common risk factors below. 

Staying focused on those goals for your PreSales recognition program will help you design the right kinds of recognition opportunities and rewards. It’s not about creating cut-throat competitions or just ensuring sales doesn’t get all the glory - you want to keep morale high and show your team what excellence looks like. 

Finding the Right Recognition 

How can you be sure what kind of recognition and rewards each of the PreSales professionals on your team will respond to? Recognition is a highly individual preference - some people love public shoutouts and facetime with executives, while others thrive on a quiet word from a manager in a 1:1. 

The best way to figure this out? Just ask! You can do targeted surveys to ask what most motivates each individual on the team. Do they like cash or physical awards better? Public or private recognition? Here’s a “Getting to Know You” survey submitted by a PSLC Member.

If you don’t have an easy survey tool set up, you can just ask directly in 1:1 meetings and note each team member’s preference for the future. 

Recognition also doesn’t need to be entirely dependent on managers and leaders to be effective - actually, peer-to-peer recognition is sometimes even more effective. This is especially true in a highly technical role like PreSales, where your peers will have a much better idea of what it took to get that demo performing flawlessly than leaders way up the chain who don’t know all the details. 

Praise and PreSales 

Don’t let your talented PreSales team be overlooked when it comes to their accomplishments any longer. With the right rewards and recognition strategy in place, you can create plenty of meaningful moments where they feel seen, appreciated, and valued for their hard work. 

Recommended Reading:

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People

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Sorry, this content is available for Leadership Collective Members only!

The Leadership collective is a group designed for PreSales leaders in a management capacity (Manager+ title) who are looking to network, grow professionally, and actively participate.

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