Running team sales competitions can be an extremely effective motivational tool. However, if not executed properly, they can end up having negative results. When the same few people always win, the same few metrics are always chosen, and the templates are boring and impersonal, it is no surprise that your employees end up feeling disinterested and disengaged.
Fortunately, it's not difficult to create better competitions that appeal to everyone and leads to increases in activity, performance, and revenue. Here’s how:
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. After all, if the same 2-3 reps win every competition, there is no real hope for the rest of the team. 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.
In order to keep your employees engaged and energized, it’s important to change up the competitions–rather than conducting the same boring competitions again and again. 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 highest 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.
Give Personalized Rewards
Another factor of incentivizing your team with competitions is through rewards. Giving personalized prizes are 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. Check out our 101 Meaningful Employee Rewards for some inspiring ideas! We also recommend asking your sales reps for feedback and ideas from your employees–they will feel like they have a real voice, and your rewards shop won’t just be one-size-fits-all.
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 not only improve teamwork but also leads to healthier company culture.
A 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.
Compete on Different Metrics
A poll by Gallup revealed that “highly engaged business teams result in 21% greater profitability.” To get a more complete overview of your company’s performance, it is useful to track metrics other than just sales. This also gives everyone a greater possibility of winning some contests–instead of only your perpetual top sellers. 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 absolutely focus only on metrics that are important to overall business success but try to mix it up some. Instead of only focusing on sales revenue or quantity sold, focus on the KPIs that lead to sales, such as calls, emails, first-time meetings, follow-up meetings, customer satisfaction scores, and other pipeline-building 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.