Healthy Sales Competition: A Myth or Reality?

You may have heard some say that, “Healthy competition is an oxymoron.” At CRMGamified, we’d like to politely disagree (at least when it comes to competition on the sales floor)!

Here’s why.

Competitions can give your sales team that extra push to take sales to the next level. When a previous record is broken, it helps everyone to realize that the only limits they have are the ones they put on themselves. Time to remove them!

Competition is also great because it leaves no room for complacency. Productivity suffers when complacency becomes prevalent for an individual, team, or organization. Contests, when run well, effectively combat complacency. They engage employees on an emotional level and appeal to their sense of competition and camaraderie.

If done properly, a competitive atmosphere can raise engagement, satisfaction, and performance levels in a sales department.

Here are some of the conditions for creating healthy sales competition:

1. Design a sales competition with collaboration in mind.

Instead of structuring contests that pit “every man for himself,” design team contests that boost collaboration. This encourages team members to motivate each other and work harder collectively. A neurological study from NYU and Carnegie Mellon found that during competition, while people do feel a “reward response” in the orbitofrontal cortex when “punishing” a competitor, they experience the same rewarding feeling even more so when cooperating with someone who is on their side.

When it comes to salespeople who are “newer to the game,” a great way to also help them realize their full potential is to pair them up with a veteran team member. This fosters collaboration, knowledge sharing and mentorship.

Healthy sales competition can also help with team building. Collaborative contests have the lasting benefit of encouraging team building and strengthening co-worker relationships. Research shows that having quality relationships at work boosts productivity and job satisfaction. Employees who have positive relationships with their co-workers tend to be more engaged with their work and committed to the organization as a whole.

2. Salespeople should compete against themselves first.

The goal for any contest is never simply to reward top performers. Rather, it is to boost sales performance across the board. Contests that reward individuals or teams with the most improvement in their metrics encourage employees to focus on their own performance push their personal limits. This can help salespeople realize the extent of their potential.

Even when running a more traditional sales contest, it is important that the message of the contest is about pushing personal or team performance to the next level, not about winning out over others.

3. Learn something.

Participation is paramount in sales contests, but only a few can ever win, so recognizing effort is just as important as recognizing results. Show everyone that there is real value in participation. Use contests as a test period, and remind everyone that even if they do not win, the purpose is to come out of it a better salesperson. Encourage viewing contests as an opportunity to push limits and hone skills. After the contest is over, have participants share their experiences. What new methods or practices did they try out along the way and did they work well or not? Sometimes it’s just as important to learn what doesn’t work as it is to learn what does. In the end, a contest is an opportunity for everyone to help each other become better at their craft.

5. Instill an abundance mindset.

There is only so much money to go around, so much love, so much friendship, so much learning… Right? Wrong! Healthy sales competition cannot thrive if team members believe someone else’s success is their loss and vice versa.

The prevalence of such a scarcity mindset sets organizations up for failure. Napoleon Hill, author of the highly acclaimed, Think and Grow Rich, argues that successful people have an abundance mindset. When someone has an abundance mindset, they don’t believe in the notion that someone else’s success comes at a cost to their own. In the context of healthy sales competition an abundance mindset it key to keeping a healthy, positive atmosphere.

Foster an abundance mindset by collectively celebrating participants that do well. Remind employees to encourage each other, and reward collaboration. Finally, work to create an office culture that recognizes individual success as general success.

These tips will help keep your sales competition healthy and positive. We hope you found new ideas to bring to your team. Remember, clear communication and transparency are also key to making sales contests work. We created Hurrah! Leaderboards so that teams can quickly see the results of their team efforts, acknowledge those who are excelling, and add an element of fun and friendly competition to the sales floor. Learn more about Hurrah! Leaderboards today!

Sales Contests Do’s and Don’ts: How to Create an Awesome Competition to Encourage Your Sales Team

When managed well, sales contests are a great tool to inspire your sales team, boost productivity and improve employee satisfaction. Done poorly, sales contests can be alienating, generate negativity and ultimately fail to generate desired results. Here we’ll share the biggest do’s and don’ts of managing sales contests, so you can create great sales contests for your team.Sales Contests Do's and Don'ts

1 – Align Metrics with Business Objectives

When designing your sales contest think about your organization’s overarching strategies. A main reason that sales contests don’t yield the desired results is misaligned metrics. A good sales contest should have between 2 and 4 high-level objectives that coincide with the organization’s executive strategy.

An example of this might be the following: With the high-level objectives of 1. developing a professional network and 2. leads nurturing, run a sales contest on pipeline building and include both active leads as well as contacts for sales nurturing.

2 – Get Creative with Incentives

It’s not all about the cash. In fact, findings show that monetary incentives alone are poor motivators over the long run. Rather they are most effective when the have a positive impact on engagement and team spirit.

Take the time to survey your sales team and find out which incentives are more attractive and why. Be creative and think about days off, vacations or even fun group activities that the whole team can enjoy.

3 – Run Team Contests

Ditch the “every man for himself” ideology. Sales is no longer an individual’s game. Organizations are beginning to see more and more the benefits of collaboration and they are changing sales incentives accordingly. Studies have demonstrated that, when organized in teams, individuals tend to perform at a higher level in sales contests. A study by the Incentive Research Foundation found that individual incentives increase performance by an average of 22% percent, while team incentives can increase performance by as much as 44%.

Create group competitions for a boost in friendly rivalry and team spirit. Or directly have your team compete against itself. Set up a contest where your team competes against their performance from a previous year or comparable selling period.

4 – Advertise and Broadcast Progress

Make sure you advertise your contest so that everyone is aware and informed of the dates and details. Begin internal communications well in advance so reps have the contest in view ahead of time.

During the contest communication is vital. Research shows that sales tend to spike at the beginning and end of a contest period, while dipping in the middle. Measuring and broadcasting live contest metrics can help keep sales teams engaged more consistently over the full competition period.

A tool like leaderboards software can be invaluable to effectively communicate objectives and strategies, measure and display employee progress in real-time, and give immediate recognition based on results. Sales Contest Do's and Don'ts

1 – Don’t Create Conflicting Incentives

Don’t get carried away. Make sure first that contests never overlap. Competing incentives will keep you from getting the results you want.  Focus on one goal at a time and make sure that the sales team keeps interested and focused for the best results.

It is also important to make sure that the focus on promoting a particular behavior through a sales contest does not conflict with daily activities and organizational goals. This will reduce normal productivity and get in the way of advancing other goals for the team.

2 – Don’t Over-complicate

Sales contests should be simple, communicable, and have a clear strategy. Establish clear rules and choose the contest time frame wisely. Make sure your team will actually benefit from a concerted effort toward a particular goal at the time you set your contest.

Periods that are particularly busy, or that often require salespeople to turn their attention to activities that are not part of the sales contest are not conducive to productive contest results.

3 – Don’t Only Reward Top Performers

Management loves top performers but to think they’re the only ones that matter in a competition is a mistake. Those who are consistently top closers are actually less likely to up the ante when a sales contest is in progress.

Give the rest of the crew a chance to earn recognition by measuring both activity metrics (calls made, emails sent) and objective metrics (new client meetings set, deals won). Focus on effort and growth as opposed to just end results.Sales Contests Do's and Don'ts

 4 – Don’t Overlook Underachievers

Underachievers should be the primary target to motivate with sales contests. Overlooking them is a giant don’t on our list. It’s estimated that only about 40% of the performance boost during a sales contest comes from the efforts of the top 20% sales reps. That leaves a lot still on the table. 

A contest that is engaging, team-oriented, and that offers valued incentives will be most likely to motivate the entirety of your team and generate the best results.

Think collaboration beyond competition and take advantage of healthy sales competition to build trust and team spirit among your people. Ready to begin?

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