Sales Recognition

Personalizing President’s Club: How to bring a fresh take to a classic reward

About the author: Tim Mann is a seasoned sales leader, and heads up the sales organization at Blueboard as VP of Sales.

President’s Club is a big deal for sales teams, as it should be. Your top salespeople are out there hustling, building strong customer relationships, and boosting your company’s bottom line—and they expect to be recognized and rewarded for their efforts. Especially at a time when they’re putting in the hard work but facing a lot of challenges. 

From handling tighter budgets to selling new products to adopting new behaviors and navigating changing sales processes, your people have a lot of hurdles to jump to make quota. And the ones who hit or surpass their targets should definitely be recognized and rewarded.

Beyond feeling good in the moment, the right kind of recognition program can genuinely impact your sellers’ work experience and long-term productivity. Employees who feel appreciated are four times more likely to be fully engaged at work and seven times more likely to feel completely secure in their jobs. And, according to Blueboard’s Connection Gap report, employees in organizations that value recognition are twice as likely to feel connected at work.

Sales is full of opportunities, and there's always another company dangling a bigger paycheck. So, to keep your top performers around and firing on all cylinders, your incentives and rewards need to resonate with their deeper needs and motivations.

How is Blueboard’s personalized President’s Club different? Blueboard offers a truly personalized President’s Club for your top sales reps that:

  • Is easy to launch/manage
  • Provides cost savings compared to group trip
  • Means red carpet treatment for each rep—everyone has a dedicated concierge
  • Is truly personalized: Reps get to choose a first class experience they actually want to do

In this post, we're going to dive into Blueboard’s fresh take on the classic and much-loved prize: President's Club. With this approach, you'll be able to: keep your top sellers motivated with their ideal reward, make your CFO smile in a tricky economic climate, and  help your team stand out from the competition.

3 key considerations to help you build the ideal President’s Club for your sales team.

Pre-2020, few leaders were considering anything other than a group President’s Club trip to reward top sales reps. But the ups and downs of the past few years—not to mention the influx of younger sellers into the workforce—have highlighted gaps in our understanding of how to best motivate top salespeople.

The idea of the ‘coin-operated’ sales rep has been around for a long time. But Odi Bosah, Head of Business Development of Blue Yonder, put it well: "The commission takes care of itself. The more you do, the better you do, and the more money you make. So what can you do differently to incentivize people?"

While the traditional group President’s Club trip might still be the right fit for your team, we’re finding that many top sellers are motivated by more personalization when it comes to a rewards program: Things like choice and flexibility, time back with their family members, and the space to take care of their mental, emotional, and physical health

Ultimately, your decision to go the group trip route or the more personalized route should come down to four key considerations:

1. Your sales team size and demographics.

President’s Club typically rewards top-performing sales representatives with a group trip to an exotic destination. While these getaways can be fun and full of team bonding, they are also, by design, one-size-fits-all. Instead of getting to choose when, where, and what they do on the trip, attendees usually have to follow a set vacation plan with little room for personal excursions or interests. 

Age, gender, race, ethnicity, or culture might also impact how much your sellers enjoy the trip (or whether they can even attend). Sharline Anderson, Event Director at HireVue, shared in a recent webinar: “Every single year, you hear ‘my wife’s having a baby’ or ‘my oldest is graduating high school.’ Sometimes it’s, ‘We have little kids, and we don’t have someone to watch them.’ Every year we had team members who couldn’t participate in that reward.”

If the goal of your President’s Club trip is to celebrate your top performers, it’s important to make sure everyone feels comfortable and included.

“The reward is the driving factor of any sales incentive program and must be carefully selected to motivate sales reps. The key to selecting the perfect one? Don’t. Provide sales reps with a menu of rewards to choose from themselves. Choice is key here.” – Kevin Yip, Blueboard President and Co-founder, in his article for Crunchbase on designing motivating sales incentive programs

2. Your ability to forecast.

Companies usually need to book their Club a year in advance, spending thousands of dollars per attendee and hours upon hours in planning. Given the current economic climate, committing to a luxury group trip can be a big risk. 

President’s Club trips can be a heavy lift, though they shouldn’t feel like a hassle to plan or execute. If you’re unsure about your team’s ability to hit forecasted goals—like a lot of sales leaders right now—it may not make sense to fight for President’s Club-level investment and sign a multi-million dollar contract a year in advance. It may not even be possible, depending on your CFO.

3. Your goals for President’s Club.

Companies often have several goals for President’s Club:

  • To recognize and reward top performers,
  • To motivate mid-tier performers to go above and beyond,
  • To promote team bonding and connection,
  • To encourage preferred sales rep behavior with meaningful incentives to continue working towards future team goals

But if the primary goal of your President’s Club program is to recognize and reward the best of the best on your sales team, you’ll want to give them something they view as incredibly valuable. A bucket-list vacation is an ideal reward in line with this goal because it has tangible cash value as well as the intangible value of memories created and the time and space to unplug. 

A group President’s Club trip—while it might be in a bucket-list location—doesn’t always feel like a vacation for your top sellers because they’re with their coworkers, boss, and senior leadership. That means they aren’t necessarily getting the break they deserve. 

Instead, they have to be constantly “on” (and might need a vacation from their “vacation”). The result? These trips don’t inspire the same type of afterglow your salespeople would get from taking a genuinely rejuvenating vacation or crossing something off their personal bucket list, which could energize them for weeks or months. 

Future-proofing President’s Club in our current economic and social climate.

As companies navigated the uncertainties of the pandemic and as they continue to navigate economic uncertainties today, many leaders have opted to postpone trips or replace Club with a cash bonus. Of course, getting a healthy cash bonus or a gift card is nice, but you can’t just swap one reward for another: Your goals for President's Club are different from your goals for other types of sales incentive programs, therefore the reward needs to be distinguished.

If you’re thinking of revamping your President’s Club program, you can’t forget the following key ingredients:

1. It needs to feel like a club.

Reaching this exclusive status level is part of what motivates your top salespeople all year. They want to feel like they’ve joined a premier, high performers club. So when they finally achieve this milestone, they expect (and deserve) the VIP treatment you promised. 

In comparison, incentives like cash bonuses and merchandise don’t spark the same feelings as a luxury vacation and can feel like a letdown. 

2. It needs to be timely.

If your company’s leaders have been hyping up the President’s Club for months, any delays or cancellations will naturally disappoint your sales reps. Additionally, anticipation is one of the key factors that make experiential rewards work so well. Counting down the days to the big trip can boost morale and motivation. But if the date keeps changing, your employees will lose trust in you, and that joyful anticipation can turn into anxiety, impatience, or frustration.

Since your President’s Club rewards your top sellers, it’s critical to get it right. Ideally, your updated version should give them the flexibility and personalization they want without sacrificing the luxuriousness and exclusivity of the classic approach.

Meet Blueboard President's Club: the personalized way to recognize, retain, and motivate your high-performing sales reps.

Explore our platformReimagine your President's Club

The top 3 benefits of Blueboard’s personalized President’s Club (and why it’s a sales incentive program that stands out from the rest).

Personalized sales incentives can make the difference between engaged, motivated sellers … and those who aren’t. Blueboard makes three guarantees for sales leaders that use our rewards and incentives: you will have less headaches, a more motivated team from top to bottom, and extra time to do what’s important, like growing your business. 

Here are the top three benefits to taking a personalized approach to President’s Club. 

1. An exclusive and exciting experience that still feels like President’s Club.

‍One of the biggest draws of President’s Club is that it’s special. Blueboard’s Choose Your Own President’s Club still offers that feeling of being part of a special group since only Club winners receive Blueboard rewards. It’s even more exclusive because each person gets to choose what’s most meaningful to them. 

A screenshot by a Blueboard reward recipient who selected a trip to Switzerland for achieving their first President's Club.
A moving example of why a personalized and flexible approach to President's Club meets your top sales people where they are with rewards that show them how much they're valued.

You can heighten the anticipation of getting to be a part of a select group by involving leadership and finding ways for sales reps to share their stories with them. Our Sales and Implementation teams will also help companies tie the program directly to their brand, whether that’s by coming up with a personalized Club name, customizing their menu with “brand exclusive” experiences, or giving their sales reps a unique “totem” to bring along to snap in photos, building socialization (take a look at how we did this for our client Glaukos).

2. A sales incentive program that’s ridiculously easy to execute.

‍Choose Your Own President’s Club also comes with tons of benefits on the admin side. Instead of spending countless planning hours manually researching and booking flights, accommodations, and itinerary, our Concierge team handles everything for you. That way, admins can focus on socializing the program details to get the team excited and ready to win.

You’ll also be able to skip many of the expenses traditionally associated with President’s Clubs, including overpaying for food and beverage minimums, paying steep fees for event spaces and entertainment, high-end transportation, and reserving spots on expensive group excursions that don’t get used. Instead, we’ll work together to deliver an effective and efficient program you’re proud of. 

3. A sales incentive program that builds authentic connections.

‍Experiences are a powerful socialization tool. As your sales team goes on experiences, the stories and memories they share builds awareness for the President’s Club program, encourages employees to celebrate with each other, and can even be repurposed for recruiting purposes. 

A screenshot of photos of an Italian Renaissance art immersion experience, a Blueboard reward for being Prestige Subaru, AAG’s top salesperson of 2022.
In this LinkedIn post, Prestige Subaru sales leader Scott R. shares details about the Blueboard reward that his top salesperson for 2022, Sean F., chose: an Italian art immersion experience.

Built to capture your sales reward recipient’s photos and videos so you can tell recipient experience stories, our Customer team will also work with you to determine the best internal socialization strategy to leverage this content to help create buzz around the program and keep reps excited to keep winning.. These tactics support natural workplace connections that will make your program more popular, social, and lengthen the positive effects, or afterglow, of every experience.

Explore examples of personalized Blueboard President’s Club experiences.

Blueboard offers companies an exciting alternative: Choose Your Own President’s Club. Instead of resorting to cash or postponed trips, your top reps can choose from a hand-curated menu of exclusive and prestigious experiential rewards for employees that you can distribute (and they can redeem) anytime.

Here’s a taste of what your top reps can choose from if you decide to go with a personalized Blueboard President’s Club:

In-home experiences that fuel their passions.

Blueboard’s in-home experience offerings allow your sales representatives to pick an indulgent and memorable reward they can enjoy from the comfort of their home. This is a perfect option for reps who aren’t comfortable with or simply can’t travel.

Some of our favorites include experiences like DIY greenhouse kits, a Vaonis Stellina Smart Telescope to tour the cosmos, and Peloton fitness experiences. In-home experiences help employees connect with themselves or their loved ones, celebrate employee well-being, and uncover new hobbies and interests.

Photos of Blueboard experiences, such as a DIY greenhouse or a Peloton experience, that sales reps can choose when they win sales incentive contests.
Some examples of in-home experiences that top seller can select from the Blueboard experience menu

Travel adventures beyond your backyard

Blueboard also offers a menu of off-the-beaten-path and luxury local and domestic experiences. Our favorites include an escape to Napa Valley complete with VIP wine tastings, Destination Wyoming, putting you into the wild of Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons, or Glorious Getaway, where sales reps can work 1:1 with our Concierge team to plan their ultimate bucket list adventure. 

We love this menu of road trips, staycations, and other adventurous excursions for employees who want to stay close to home but are itching for some R&R and to get outdoors.

Examples of Blueboard experiences that your top salespeople can choose from our experience menu.

Bucket list adventures for the wanderlusters.

Our expert Curation team scours the world to find incredible, once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences and adventures that will transform your employees. Employees can choose from adventures like chasing the Northern Lights in Iceland, touring Africa on safari, and visiting the Swiss Alps.

These bucket list adventures are ready to redeem today and plan for the future, building anticipation of what’s to come as top reps plan all the finer details with our celebrated Concierge team.

For the thrill seekers and adventurers, some of the Blueboard experiences your sales reps will be motivated to work towards.

Reward your top sellers with the gift of choice. 

Even with the best intentions, a President’s Club program can miss the mark if you don’t consider your sales team’s unique needs, wants, and preferences. A luxury vacation sounds fantastic in theory, but it may not be everybody’s idea of a good time

For example, the new parents on your team may miss out entirely if their parental leave conflicts with the trip’s timing. Or, maybe some of your employees just don’t like resort vacations and would prefer a solo European backpacking trip instead. 

Time well spent looks different for everybody. Our Choose Your Own President’s Club can help incentivize every sales rep to hit their targets and receive an experiential reward that’s truly meaningful to them. Plus, our tiered approach to President’s Clubs allows a broader swath of the Sales team to earn a reward, not just the top 10%. 

We know how stressful it is to figure out the next steps with your President’s Club trip right now— especially with so many unknowns. But we’re here to support you and help you revamp your existing program into one that’s more motivating, memorable, and flexible for your team.

If you’re excited about Choose Your Own President’s Club and want to connect with our team 1:1, reach out for more information and a personalized demo online here.

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