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Public and private recognition in sales teams

When most people think of what equates to good recognition in business, the word that jumps to mind is “money”. Being paid well for good work is motivational as it enables individuals to better their personal lives. But is it the best way?


Apparently not! In a survey conducted by Make Their Day, 70% of people reported that their most meaningful moment of recognition had no monetary value. This comes as a surprise to many, and for good reason (as mentioned above). However, non-financial means of recognition have a greater impact on a person’s “emotional motivation”. Such actions include:
– A simple “well done” from a higher up
– Being taken for lunch/another experience as a sign of a thank you
– An email being sent around a team or the whole company appreciating their achievement etc.


We know that non-monetary recognition is a good thing. But is it better to do it in public, or private?



This the kind of appreciation given 1-to-1 or behind closed doors. It could be a direct email, a sincere “well done” in a 1-to-1, or a bonus for an individual for a job well done.



Any recognition given that is visible to an organisation is classed as public recognition. Team-wide emails are very common in sales environments but other things like deal bells and team lunches fall into this category too.

Which to use?

It depends entirely on your objective. Public recognition is great for culture development and letting public appreciation ripple throughout the business. Private is great for more focused, direct recognition. People respond in different ways to different motivators and there’s no one size fits all – experiment and measure!

An example of public recognition – using “deal flashes” to ensure everyone in the office knows what a team member has achieved

Ideas for sales teams

As former games developers, we’re huge advocates of real-time recognition. “Do action, get recognition, feel good” is the feedback loop video games live on. If step 2 – the recognition – is too far detached from the action, the strength of step 3 is massively diminished. Find a way to get recognition as instant as possible. You could do this by:
– Implementing a real-time email system to send an email around the team when a deal is won on your CRM
– Using a solution such as OneUp Sales to push celebrations onto TVs and emails automatically
– Holding daily “happy hours” where the team celebrates their successes as a collective


There’s tons more you can do – get creative!

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