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Reimagining Your President’s Club Award for Top Sales Performance

For a long time, rewarding your top performers with a President’s Club designation has been the ultimate recognition for sales organizations. As competition for quality talent continues to escalate, finding unique ways to motivate and reward high-performing sales leaders is becoming more critical.

The traditional President’s Club Award – an all-expenses-paid group vacation – has recently lost some favor. Attitudes toward work have changed. Employees now focus on personal well-being and individual experiences. 

Yet recognition programs continue to work. Glassdoor found that over 80% of employees are motivated to work harder when their manager shows appreciation for their efforts.

What is a President’s Club award?

A President’s Club award (also called the “Winner’s Circle” or “Achiever’s Club”) is an annual performance reward that recognizes top salespeople. Usually the reward is an all-expenses-paid vacation to an exotic destination for achieving sales goals or quotas.

The award can drive positive behavior among top-performing reps with meaningful stakes, encouraging them to push above and beyond their usual performance levels.

But today’s talent wants a custom rewards experience that reflects how they live, work, and communicate – not a one size fits all approach.

Sales organizations need to rethink their President’s Award if they want them to remain a valuable incentive. 

Why reinvent your President’s Club award program?

By rewarding outstanding performances with various tangible items and experiences your employees want, you help them keep their “eyes on the prize” and drive them to achieve their highest potential. Most programs encourage employees to set and hit their daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual targets.

It is impossible to achieve employee satisfaction without showing employees how much you appreciate them and their work. When you recognize their wins, you communicate that they matter to the company, and as a result, employees feel valued, seen, heard, motivated, and inspired.

Where Your President’s Club Award May Fall Short

Unfortunately, many companies approach the President’s Club award in a manner that’s not aligned with modern workers. With Millennials and Gen Z rapidly taking over the workforce, attitudes toward work have shifted.

Today’s employees want jobs that recognize their individuality, offer growth opportunities, and allow them the freedom to be themselves. The traditional approach to a  President’s Club reward has less appeal, a lower “inspiration factor,” for today’s sales professionals, particularly those under 40.

The Trip Is Not Personalized

Most President’s Club rewards are the same every year. High-performing employees receive the same group trip to Maui, Grand Cayman, etc. with the same one-size-fits-all itinerary. Don’t get us wrong – these are luxurious, well-planned trips and always a good time. 

But given the choice, some winners would rather use their reward to pursue a bucket-list item such as a Super Bowl weekend, skiing vacation in Whistler, British Columbia, or perhaps a hiking trip through the Scottish Highlands. And they would take the trip on the most convenient dates for their schedule.

Employees Can Feel Like They’re Still at Work

‍People take vacations primarily to relax, unwind, and find space and time to unplug from work. However, with traditional President’s Club trips, the awardees and their +1s have to hang out with bosses, coworkers, and the company’s senior leadership – hardly the break that they deserve or need from a vacation. 

The Award Can Demotivate Those Who Miss Out

Because President’s Club trips are costly and involve group arrangements, they are often planned a year out, with a cap on how many can go. As the qualification cutoff date passes, other sales professionals realize they won’t qualify. So for months before the trip, you’ve got good employees who feel demotivated. 

Designing an Inspirational President’s Club Award

The disadvantages of traditional President’s Club awards outlined above mean that you need new ways to inspire, engage, and motivate your top performers. 

Get creative by selecting a catalog of qualifying products, services, and experiences from which your award recipients can choose. You’ll get far more value from your recognition investment by providing the ability to choose an award that has the most meaning for them.

Here are 6 steps you should take to design a President’s Club award program with memorable incentives and activities that will inspire your team:

  1. Award Qualification

Nothing is more demotivating than having the same criteria every year. The same group of people gets awarded, with perks that set up nearly impossible quotas for the remaining reps to achieve.

To provide meaningful recognition, set fluid criteria for rewards and recognition. Base the President’s Club award on performance thresholds that are attainable by the entire team but remain exclusive enough to be meaningful.

  1. Award Budget

Most companies prepare a budget for President’s Club award based on the expected number of participants, but other options exist.

The most motivating and inspirational way is a fluid system where each salesperson starts the year with a clear idea of the performance metrics they must hit to qualify for the President’s Club. 

Other options include:

  • Stack ranking, where an exact number of spots are reserved for the award.
  • Performance bar, where anyone that surpasses qualifies, regardless.
  • The “funding” approach, which flexes the number of attendees based on the sales team’s performance. For instance, if the team hits their goal, 5% of the reps attend the trip, and for each 1% above target, an additional 1% of the team gets to participate.
  1. Measuring Employee Performance

What does your organization consider high performance on the job? It could be a unique achievement, extraordinary sales performance, or submitting an innovative idea.

Other typical criteria include minimum revenue, sales for a specific product, or regional sales totals.

Criteria must be clear and transparent. Since the award is competitive, any subjective measure of performance and success will demoralize the rest of the team.

  1. Tenure

Most companies exclude sales reps who’ve been on quota for nine months or less during the year. It is difficult to determine accurate ramp quotas for new sales reps, mainly if they inherited occupied territories.

  1. Award Deadline

There are various ways that companies set their President’s Club deadlines. For instance, you could evaluate sales rep performance monthly and anyone hitting their sales quota for three consecutive months qualifies. 

  1. Choosing Rewards

When building a rewards catalog for President’s Club winners, choose options that run the gamut. From personalized luxury travel and unforgettable experiences to high-end merchandise and services, an experienced reward and recognition partner can help you design a comprehensive, flexible President’s Club program that fits your company’s culture. 

Ready to create a President’s Club award that inspires?

If you need help modernizing your recognition program or rethinking how your President’s Club program operates, rely on Xceleration. We provide full-service rewards, recognition, and incentives solutions worldwide via RewardStation, our proprietary web-based platform. Contact us today to create a customized President’s Club program with options to fit different employee tastes and preferences.

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