More than commission: 7 NYC sales leaders share what motivates their team

by Liz Warren
May 22, 2019

What motivates salespeople? A strong commission structure, for starters. But aside from that, there are a number of creative ways NYC tech leaders are recognizing sales wins, both big and small. From company outings to Dos Toros gift cards, these rewards encourage the following teams to keep making deals.

 

knotel
image via knotel

The sales team at real estate tech startup Knotel is motivated by a number of incentives, both individual- and team-focused. Head of Global Growth Ang McManamon explains how both are necessary for bringing out personal bests.

 

How do you recognize small wins? How do you pull out the stops for the major ones?

As a leader, I find common themes. Currently, members of my team in NYC talk about wanting to travel, so I put together a travel incentive contest for the highest ARR brought in 45 days. The directional prize fueled excitement across the team and allowed the winning rep to book their next trip. Aside from monetary prizes, I  have found days off, summer Fridays and working from home are a win-win for high-performing sales teams. These types of perks can slow down work, so you need to have a trusting, collaborative team to make the incentive worthwhile and not lose productivity.

 

Talk to us about individual incentives you have in place, and ways you might celebrate as a team.

I truly believe the best sales leaders start with motivating at an individual level. Building trust and knowing what each sales rep is motivated by will help with individual incentives. Similar to the travel incentive contest, I always incorporate a team goal as well. I have seen some tremendous results and personal bests when there is an individual incentive combined with a team goal. It doesn't have to be total ARR, but growing revenue quarter over quarter or increasing average deal size as a team have worked for me. Also, I love having reps share their success stories. It's so much more effective if a rep can stand up in front of their peers and talk through how they won — this is where I really celebrate individuals. They have the spotlight and deserve every minute of it.

 

riskified
image via riskified

E-commerce platform Riskified wants to make sure their sales team feels supported in every way. Director of Sales Andrew Kashin described how the company has been able to do so throughout the four years he’s been there.

 

How do you recognize the small wins? How do you pull out all the stops for the major ones?

We always recognize small wins within our team. Whether it's a positive meeting, productive conference or progress within a deal, we share it all in our weekly team meetings. We hear from every team member about what’s working, what isn't and how we can improve together as a unit.

For big, company-level wins, we celebrate with a dedicated fun day, sales team outing or a special toast during our weekly happy hour. We also acknowledge these successes in our 360-person, full-company meetings. We ensure that everyone is recognized — both as individuals and as the collective team it took to make the deal happen.

 

Talk to us about individual incentives you have in place, and ways you might celebrate as a team.

We invest significantly in our sales team members by offering a compensation structure that generously rewards excellent performance, as well as providing intensive training that prepares team members to speak to the leadership of the biggest brands in global e-commerce. Our goal is to ensure that people succeed and feel supported personally, professionally and financially.

For the collective team, everyone has a sense of ownership and pride in the company. An individual’s success is the team’s success and vice versa — one wouldn’t be possible without the other. Understanding that, Riskified has a built-in bonus structure that rewards us individually when the company exceeds its goals — which we often do!

 

vimeo
image via vimeo

Rachel Porter, Vimeo's manager of account management, knows that everyone defines success in different ways, and crafts incentives accordingly. She walked us through the details of the company’s initiatives for sales recognition.

 

How do you recognize the small wins? How do you pull out all the stops for the major ones?

I recognize small wins, like account renewals, by congratulating team members during one-on-one meetings and through shoutouts in team meetings. For major wins, I think bigger. Recently, one of my direct reports hit over 400 percent of her quarterly upsell goal with just one deal. To recognize her success, I worked with our SVP of sales to commend her in front of our entire sales organization. I also organized an opportunity for her to lead a session for her peers about the strategy she used to close the deal.

 

Talk to us about individual incentives you have in place, and ways you might celebrate as a team.

I think one of the best ways to keep your team tracking toward their goals is to really invest time in understanding what motivates each individual person. No two people define success in exactly the same way, so when you take the time to tailor individual incentives, you can encourage and reward team members in meaningful ways.

After our team has a big win, such as the end of a successful quarter, I organize a group outing to celebrate. We've celebrated with everything from fancy lunches to karaoke and bowling —  anything that allows us to get out of the office and have some fun together. I feel such a sense of pride in my team's accomplishments and I want to make sure the team feels proud of their hard work as well.

 

smartling
image via smartling

Translation management platform Smartling encourages peak performance from their sales team. With incentives like big commissions and team outings, VP of Global Sales Brian O'Reilly motivates the team to work hard.

 

How do you recognize the small wins? How do you pull out all the stops for the major ones?

Small wins are important because they carve out the path to winning big. We celebrate these in our weekly all-hands meeting where we kick it off with wins from the previous week. These wins include celebrating new customers, important meetings held and various activity metrics. We frequently run spiffs for the sales team based on metrics that are important to us on any given week. And finally, we have team outings at least once per month to get together as a group and get to know each other outside of a work setting. Sometimes, these group events are a result of the team hitting a group goal.

The first port of call for big wins is our compensation model. At Smartling, we pay for performance and when we win big, we pay accordingly. Secondly, we recognize these wins at a company-wide level. We bring the entire company together four times per year at our company headquarters in NYC. This quarterly event includes a re-articulation of the company vision and values, review of performance, plan for the coming quarter, training and recognition of outstanding performers.

 

Talk to us about individual incentives you have in place, and ways you might celebrate as a team.

We have a unique incentive in place for our sales development team. We measure performance and related compensation on a monthly cadence. When an individual hits or exceeds their month quota, we increase their base salary by $1,000. This is unlimited, meaning as long as you're an SDR at Smartling and hitting quota, we'll increase your base salary accordingly. If the entire team hits quota, we'll arrange a team outing to celebrate.

 

outbrain
image via outbrain

Adam Flomenbaum, head of industry, sales, has been with adtech company Outbrain for five-and-a-half years. During that time, he’s noticed that one of the characteristics that sets the team apart from others is the eagerness to collaborate. He explained how the company’s reward structure is set up to encourage that.

 

How do you recognize the small wins? How do you pull out all the stops for the major ones?

Our team operates by four core values: tenacity, resourcefulness, integrity and passion. Any time a team member goes above and beyond in demonstrating these values in their day-to-day, we make sure to recognize them via GIF-laden shoutouts in a dedicated Slack channel and at our weekly sales meetings. This has so far been a great way to recognize value-driven wins, both big and small. There does not necessarily need to be a monetary component to recognition — hearing your name and a detailed account about a job well done goes a long way. We also have weekly new meeting contests and larger quarterly sales contests to recognize revenue-driving wins. One of my favorite parts of the week is getting, and handing out, gift cards. Dos Toros for days!  

 

Talk to us about individual incentives you have in place, and ways you might celebrate as a team.

What I've found to be most special — and surprising, even — about Outbrain's sales organization is that even before the team number became part of commission plans, folks with 'no skin in the game' have always offered to help if it meant contributing to someone else's and to Outbrain's success. I've been with the company for a long time, and this has always been a part of the sales organization’s fabric — when we celebrate an individual, we are celebrating as a team.

 

monday.com
image via monday.com

Productivity platform company monday.com celebrates across time zones when there’s a major win. Aron Vuijsje, director of enterprise sales, explained exactly what qualifies for an international celebration.

 

How do you recognize the small wins? How do you pull out all the stops for the major ones?

The first step is having a protocol of what goes toward your target, or as we call it, your green bucket. A deal counts toward your green bucket once you hit at least 50 users in the account. We have a green bucket dashboard set up to recognize top performers. For deals over $25,000, team members ring the gong, which is captured on video and shared on the Slack channel. We also recognize deals over $100,000 in our company and sales meeting.

 

Talk to us about individual incentives you have in place, and ways you might celebrate as a team.

The team really enjoys celebrating as a whole. The best-performing group within the sales team will get a night out as a team, complete with dinner, drinks and a fun activity. We are making it our goal to use these both to recognize achievement, as well as for team building. If we outperform our goals as a whole, we organize an event for the entire team, both in the U.S. and Tel Aviv.

 

healthify
image via healthify

Healthtech company Healthify gets creative with their contests. Currently, they’re inviting team members to come up with the most successful outbound campaign. Sales Executive Bobby Murphy explained other strategies for sales motivation.

 

How do you recognize the small wins? How do you pull out all the stops for the major ones?

We recognize small wins in our weekly sales meetings and in our all-hands meetings with the whole company. We also recognize large wins in these company meetings, and give team members a personalized gift from our people operations team. Our shoutouts can also lead to us winning larger contests — for example, my colleague, Meredith, was just awarded “Healthifyte of the Quarter,” which is a peer-decided honor given to one Healthifyte who had a big achievement that quarter. She won a large cash prize!

 

Talk to us about individual incentives you have in place, and ways you might celebrate as a team.

We use our commission structure to incentivize every member of our sales team to close the deals that align most closely with achieving our company mission. For example, “coordinate” is the product we sell that really helps close the loop between patients and their social service referrals; commission percentages are higher for these deals.

We also have internal sales team competitions that keeps things exciting. Right now we're competing to see who can create the most successful outbound sales campaign. The reward is a $50 Amazon gift card, and of course bragging rights!

 

Jobs from companies in this blog138 open jobs
All Jobs
Finance
Data + Analytics
Design + UX
Dev + Engineer
HR
Internships
Legal
Marketing
Operations
Product
Project Mgmt
Sales
Content
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Sales
new
Vimeo
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Knotel
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Knotel
New York
HR
new
Knotel
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
Sales
new
monday.com
New York
Sales
new
monday.com
New York
Operations
new
monday.com
New York
Design + UX
new
Knotel
New York
Marketing
new
Knotel
New York
Operations
new
Outbrain
New York
Sales
new
Outbrain
New York
Internships
new
Outbrain
New York
Operations
new
Healthify
New York
Sales
new
Healthify
New York
Sales
new
Vimeo
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Sales
new
Riskified
New York
Sales
new
Knotel
New York
Sales
new
Vimeo
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Vimeo
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
Marketing
new
Knotel
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Marketing
new
Knotel
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Knotel
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Operations
new
monday.com
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Outbrain
New York
Developer
new
Outbrain
New York
Project Mgmt
new
Outbrain
New York
Sales
new
Outbrain
New York
Sales
new
Riskified
New York
Sales
new
Riskified
New York
Finance
new
Riskified
New York
Operations
new
Riskified
New York
HR
new
Riskified
New York
Product
new
Riskified
New York
Sales
new
Riskified
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Riskified
New York
Operations
new
Riskified
New York
Sales
new
Riskified
New York
Sales
new
Riskified
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Riskified
New York
Sales
new
Riskified
New York
Content
new
Riskified
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Riskified
New York
Operations
new
Riskified
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Riskified
New York
Sales
new
Riskified
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Design + UX
new
Knotel
New York
Design + UX
new
Knotel
New York
Marketing
new
Smartling
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
Marketing
new
Knotel
New York
Design + UX
new
Vimeo
New York
Project Mgmt
new
Healthify
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
Finance
new
Knotel
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
HR
new
Knotel
New York
Design + UX
new
Knotel
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Design + UX
new
Knotel
New York
Design + UX
new
Vimeo
New York
Design + UX
new
Knotel
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Vimeo
New York
Operations
new
Smartling
New York
Product
new
Vimeo
New York
Sales
new
Vimeo
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Sales
new
Vimeo
New York
Sales
new
Vimeo
New York
Developer
new
Knotel
New York
Marketing
new
Vimeo
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
Operations
new
Outbrain
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
Sales
new
Knotel
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Vimeo
New York
Sales
new
Knotel
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Sales
new
monday.com
New York
Operations
new
Knotel
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Product
new
Vimeo
New York
Marketing
new
Smartling
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Operations
new
Vimeo
New York
Operations
new
Vimeo
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Vimeo
New York
Sales
new
Outbrain
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Vimeo
New York
Finance
new
Vimeo
New York
Marketing
new
Smartling
New York
Sales
new
Smartling
New York
Sales
new
Smartling
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Developer
new
Vimeo
New York
Content
new
Smartling
New York
Marketing
new
Vimeo
New York
Operations
new
Healthify
New York
HR
new
Vimeo
New York
Operations
new
monday.com
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Vimeo
New York
Sales
new
Smartling
New York
Content
new
Vimeo
New York
Sales
new
monday.com
New York
Marketing
new
Outbrain
New York
Sales
new
monday.com
New York
Developer
new
Smartling
New York
Sales
new
monday.com
New York
Sales
new
monday.com
New York

NYC startup guides

LOCAL GUIDE
Best Companies to Work for in NYC
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Software Engineer Jobs in NYC
LOCAL GUIDE
Coolest Tech Offices in NYC
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Sales Jobs in NYC
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Benefits at NYC Tech Companies
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Data Analyst & Data Science Jobs in NYC
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Design Jobs in NYC
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Marketing Jobs in NYC
Developer Jobs
View 774 jobs
Design + UX Jobs
View 170 jobs
Marketing Jobs
View 303 jobs
Product Jobs
View 198 jobs
Sales Jobs
View 470 jobs
Data Jobs
View 262 jobs