Non-Cash Rewards: How to Creatively Motivate Your Presales Teams Without Increasing Pay

Join us on Wednesday, April 5, 2023 @ 9am MT

There’s been a lot of conversation lately around Presales compensation, but in an economic environment where securing pay increases can be challenging, taking advantage of non-cash rewards and incentives can have a huge impact on not only overall team morale and engagement, but also the ability to attract and retain top presales talent.
In this webinar, Kerry Sokalsky, President of Presales Mastery will explain why non-cash incentives are often more effective than traditional cash rewards, review some of the numerous non-cash options available, and provide a scorecard you can use to determine how effectively your organization is employing them.

The webinar discussed the benefits of using non-cash rewards as a way to motivate pre-sales teams. With companies unable to offer more pay to top performers due to the increasing trend of layoffs, non-cash rewards can be a valuable tool to keep employees motivated. The speaker, Carrie Zakowski, is the founder and president of PreSales Mastery and a demo coach with over 17 years of experience. Zakowski cited a study that found that employees prefer non-cash rewards for a variety of reasons, including social reinforcement and the fact that they provide luxury items that employees wouldn’t purchase for themselves. Zakowski also discussed the power of recognition and suggested implementing a scorecard to determine how effective a company is at leveraging non-cash rewards. The scorecard includes categories such as recognition and professional development, each of which is assigned a score of 0 to 3 stars. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that pre-sales teams feel valued and motivated in contributing to the organization’s success.


  • 00:00:00 The webinar host introduces the speaker and discusses the agenda for the session. The speaker, Carrie Zakowski, is the founder and president of PreSales Mastery and a demo coach with over 17 years of experience. The session topic is introduced and  covers the reasons for discussing non-cash rewards, the psychology behind these rewards and why they work, tools available for compensation, and a quick scorecard to gauge the health of how well non-cash rewards are being leveraged in pre-sales organizations.
  • 00:05:00 Carrie Zakowski cites data from layoffs, fyi to highlight the trend of increasing layoffs in the tech sector, leading to smaller sales teams and fewer resources. With companies being unable to offer more pay to top performers, the speaker suggests exploring non-cash rewards that are often valued more highly than cash rewards by employees. The value of cash in providing optionality and flexibility is highlighted, and a poll is conducted to show that cash is a common preference among employees. The speaker cites a study that found that the majority of participants preferred cash rewards over non-cash rewards like a high-definition TV or a cruise, emphasizing the importance of considering non-cash rewards carefully.
  • 00:10:00 Carrie Zakowski talks about a study that compared cash and non-cash incentives and motivation in the workplace. The study found that employees prefer non-cash rewards for four primary reasons. Firstly, non-cash rewards provide items that employees typically see as luxury items that they wouldn’t buy themselves, and earning these items as rewards can help reduce their guilt over purchasing them. Secondly, non-cash rewards offer social reinforcement or trophy value as a tangible symbol of achievement. Additionally, people tend to talk more about non-cash rewards, making it socially acceptable to brag about them, compared to cash compensation.
  • 00:15:00 Carrie Zakowski discusses the idea of separability, which means that people tend to segregate their sources of income and aggregate others into different mental accounts. This leads to the perception that the value of each incremental income earned goes down as the total pay increases. In contrast, tangible incentives, such as non-cash rewards, are less susceptible to this problem as they are consumed less frequently than cash and are placed into a smaller mental account like entertainment. Additionally, non-cash rewards have ambiguity in their value and tend to be more memorable and result in longer-lasting boosts in performance, making them a great tool to motivate employees.
  • 00:20:00 Carrie Zakowski discusses the power of non-cash incentives, specifically employee recognition. Recognition triggers the release of dopamine, which results in higher motivation, engagement, productivity, and lower staff turnover. The speaker suggests that recognition is a meaningful non-financial compensation mechanism that is often overlooked. They emphasize the importance of treating presales and sales equally, which includes celebrating presales accomplishments and giving them equal billing on win reports. The speaker also suggests using public shoutouts as a recognition technique, which can serve as a recruiting tool and attract top talent.
  • 00:25:00 Carrie Zakowski discusses best practices for companies with a president’s club. He emphasizes that presales should be an equal participant in the club, with representation based on equivalent achievement to quota qualifications for both sales and presales. While each organization may be different in terms of their presales teams, he suggests a predefined method that is clear and defensible, such as setting the same percentage of qualifying members from both sales and presales. The speaker also suggests other tools and rewards that can be leveraged, such as professional development opportunities and award point programs that recognize employees for their performance and contributions. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that pre-sales teams feel valued and motivated in contributing to the organization’s success.
  • 00:30:00 the team included in the employee of the year or similar program, but it’s a token nomination with no chance of winning. Three stars is the presales team member has a real chance of winning and has won in the past. The last one is compensation. Zero stars is no recognition for presales contribution to the sale, as all the commission goes to sales. One star is identical commission structure to sales. In contrast, three stars is the additional incentive for the presales team with the independent commission that exceeds the sales team commission, which is a significant motivator and can attract top talent to the team. Implementing non-cash rewards can positively impact employee motivation, but the rewards must be relevant, personalized and meaningful to the team member.
  • 00:35:00 Carrie Zakowski introduces a scorecard that can help determine how effective a company is at leveraging non-cash rewards. Each category, including recognition, professional development, and special opportunities, is assigned a score from 0 to 3 stars, with 0 being the lowest and 3 being the highest. The poll shows that about half of the participants scored between 0 and 6 stars, while only 7% scored 13 or higher. The speaker notes that implementing these non-cash rewards options can often be done with little to no financial outlay and can quickly improve the goodwill within a team, and suggests rolling them out in a staggered fashion to maximize their impact.
  • 00:40:00 Carrie Zakowski responds to questions from the audience. They discuss whether presales should have individual quotas, the importance of company-wide recognition for pre-sales teams, and how to reward presales individuals who did not win the deal. They also suggest recognizing contributions that could be leveraged in other opportunities to improve the chance of winning those opportunities in the future.

00:45:00 Carrie Zakowski discusses the recognition of non-cash rewards for presales that fail to close. They note that often presales personnel end up saving poor performing salespeople, but no recognition is given to their efforts. Carrie Zakowski  also touches on how difficult it is to recognize a technical win that ends up as a loss. However, it is suggested that if the loss is viewed as a new and unique approach that can be utilized later on, there is value that can be recognized despite the loss.

About the Presenter

Kerry Sokalsky

Kerry Sokalsky is the Founder and President of Presales Mastery, helping B2B software sellers win more deals with personalized 1-on-1 demo call coaching. Using an online coaching platform, we coach recorded prospect demos to provide feedback on real-world performance, leveraging our proprietary 103-metric demo performance best practices framework. Our long-term coaching reinforces key learning concepts to convert them to sellers’ sales muscle memory, and focuses on individuals’ unique skill gaps that often aren’t addressed in group training. Kerry has over 18 years of global presales and sales enablement leadership experience at both dynamic software startups and Fortune 50 firms. An accomplished demo coach, he brings his clients both first-hand demo experience, having delivered over 1,000 custom enterprise demos over his career, along with a wide breadth of perspectives from working with dozens of presales organizations across the globe. Kerry is also the Founder of SETO, the Toronto-chapter of SE Nation, and co-author, with Chris White, of the Presales Buyer’s Guide.

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