Salespeople are energetic, outgoing, competitive, and driven by new challenges. If you can find a way to keep them happy and motivated, they will increase revenues and bring energy to your organization that will continue to attract the right people.
To create a culture of motivated, enthusiastic, compelling sales teams, you will need to start with the basics and build an organization that challenges them, rewards them, and provides opportunities for their growth.
But how can companies do this consistently and effectively? To put it simply, by running sales competitions.
This article will teach you how to foster some friendly competition within your organization’s sales team. Plus, we’ll give you five easy tips to ensure that those competitions are worth everyone’s while.
How to Foster an Environment of Friendly Competition
Gamification is a great way to bring your sales team together. However, simply hosting a competition every now and again just won’t cut it in the long run. Ensuring that you foster a working environment that encourages friendly competition is the best way to continuously enjoy the many benefits of hosting sales contests.
Here are three ways to foster friendly competition within the workplace:
1. Establish Solid KPIs
You don’t need to track a zillion different performance indicators, especially if you don’t understand what half of them even mean. Understand your business and track the most relevant KPIs to your organization.
For instance, sales teams generally track conversion rate, new leads per month, forecasted vs. actual sales, offers sent, and budget progression. They track these because they believe those KPIs are the best indicators of total sales growth as a company, especially if it sells only a few products. Whatever KPIs you choose, take the time to figure out what fits your company best.
A sales team who understands the organization’s most important performance indicators and who drives together to move the needle on those is guaranteed to boost revenue and performance in your organization. Tracking performance on KPIs can increase your revenues in three simple steps:
- Sales reps who clearly understand how you determine, track and calculate value can easily see exactly where they fit in in the organization and how they contribute.
- Those reps who understand their direct contributions feel more fulfilled.
- Salespeople who are more fulfilled will bring positive energy, excitement, and confidence into the meeting room, all of which are highly likely to influence closing a sale and thus increase revenue.
Help your sales teams out by determining your most important KPIs, clearly defining them, providing recognition when they are achieved, and giving continuous feedback and support to continue the cycle.
2. Coach with Data
Coaching is a key component of encouraging growth and performance. Everyone has something to learn, whether your reps have been in sales for decades or are just starting out.
In-house coaching is a great way to build collaboration and teamwork by allowing top performers to give invaluable insight to their peers. Establishing performance review sessions and allowing teams to provide feedback and lessons to one another is an incredible way to boost performance and make your reps feel valued.
You can use data to track team performance and provide encouragement where it is due. Nothing motivates a rep quite like hearing “congratulations!” or “good job!” from their peers or their managers.
Lastly, use gamification in your sales coaching. With all of the data, reports, and progress visible, it becomes much easier to recognize and acknowledge achievements.
Remember, one key to building a winning sales team is showing respect and appreciation where it is due. So, when the screens and datasets make it easier for you to see the great work that your teams are doing, remember to take a minute and tell them how much you appreciate their hard work.
3. Challenge Your Sales reps
Good salespeople are driven by competition. Challenge your reps to do their best every day by leading from the front, establishing goals, and driving their competitive instincts through competition.
Next, help them set goals. Provide detailed insight into their sales performance and where they could create improvements. Whether rookies or experienced veterans, everyone needs to know their sales targets. This will clarify their expectations and the tools available to help them achieve these objectives.
Finally, consider creating competitions. You can increase fun, motivation, and performance by taking advantage of your reps’ natural competitiveness and desire for friendly competitions.
Using leaderboards or a monthly/weekly “Wall of Fame” can be a great way to provide recognition to your high scorers. You could also set a key target — such as the number of offers sent or the number of meetings booked — or hold a digital race where the winner unlocks a trophy or badge.
5 Tips to Running Worthwhile Sales Competitions
Running office competitions can be an extremely effective motivational tool. However, if not executed properly, they can end up having negative repercussions. When the same few people always win, the same few metrics are valued, and the templates are boring and impersonal, it is no surprise that your employees end up feeling disinterested and disengaged.
Fortunately, it is not difficult to create better competitions that appeal to everyone — and, in turn, leads to increases in activity, performance, and revenue. Here’s how:
1. Leave it to Chance
Adding elements of randomness and chance helps to level the playing field and ensure that everyone gets an opportunity to succeed. You can’t expect your reps to be enthusiastic about office competitions when the outcome is essentially predetermined, and they feel like they have already lost before it even begins. That is understandably demotivating.
If reps feel like they are equal when the competition starts, it will encourage better performance from everyone and fuel a healthier competitive environment. Top performers will fight to keep their status, middle performers will push themselves to catch up, and bottom performers will strive to make more progress.
2. Add Variety
To keep your employees engaged and energized, it’s important to change up the competition — rather than conduct the same boring competitions repeatedly. Switching it up with different templates and themes will encourage people to participate more.
For example, certain competition types may not have the same appeal to each person, so running a variety of contests will increase the likelihood of employee involvement. Perhaps a standard competition based solely on getting the largest sale is not Tom’s biggest strength–but maybe Tom is excellent at cold calls and would have more engagement in a contest based on completing the most cold calls during a week.
3. Give Personalized Rewards
Another factor in incentivizing your team with competitions is rewards. Giving personalized prizes is a way to show your reps that you care about them–and that you have taken the time to get to know them. And, of course, people won’t care much about rewards unless they are personally meaningful to them. Go beyond a basic bottle of wine or a gift card, and choose some more custom options.
4. Create Teams
A 2017 statistic found that “39% of surveyed employees believe that people in their own organization don’t collaborate enough.”
In addition to individual competitions, team competitions are a terrific way to bring your employees together and encourage collaboration. Working together towards a common goal can improve teamwork and lead to healthier company culture. In fact, a 2014 study from NYU revealed that people experience a “reward response” during competitions, but “they experience the same rewarding feeling even more so when cooperating with someone who is on their side.”
Team competitions also give your core performers and your rookies an opportunity to learn from each other. Core performers can provide mentorship, and newer teammates can bring innovative ideas and some outside perspective. Also, typically less-than-stellar performers get a chance to succeed and can garner valuable insights for their individual performance moving forward.
5. Try Out Different Metrics
A 2018 Gallup report on employee engagement found that “companies with a highly engaged workforce have 21% higher profitability.”
To get a more complete overview of company performance, tracking metrics other than just sales is useful. This also gives everyone a greater possibility of winning some contests–instead of only your perpetual top performers. As a result, company morale will improve, and employees that may have been defeated by seeing their co-workers win time and again will feel reinvigorated.
Yes, you should focus only on metrics important to overall business success, but try to mix it up. Instead of only focusing on sales revenue or quantity sold, focus on the smaller daily activities that lead to sales, such as calls, emails, first-time meetings, follow-up meetings, customer satisfaction scores, and other activities. Not only will this lead to higher employee engagement from all levels, but it will also encourage a pattern of behavior that will positively affect your company's bottom line.
The verdict is clear: bringing sales competitions into the workplace is a great way to motivate your sales teams and boost productivity. However, one does not simply host a contest and hope that the benefits of gamification will last. It’s important to ensure that a work environment that fosters friendly competition is built before you can even consider creating multiple competitions to run throughout the year.
With these tips and tricks, your sales competitions will keep your entire sales team engaged, motivated and working towards the company goals that matter most.