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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?

Did you find this post useful? Let us know how you feel in the comments below!

The Top 6 CRM Gamification Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them!)

When we implement Gamification on our CRM, we expect to take full advantage of it. Right?

In this post, we are going to show you the most common mistakes during this process, so you can be aware and avoid them at all costs. Don’t let any small hiccups stop you from getting all the benefits from your new Gamification!

To give you an accurate approach, we have merged our personal experience in the Gamification field, with various testimonials from other CRM Gamification Experts. Check out this list and take note 📝:

Mistake 1 — Focusing on Rewards Instead of the Process

When Gamification and CRM are working together, is very common to use the prize appeal. People become more engaged when they have a tangible reward.  

Yet, according to Nicolas Babin, ranked #1 Gamification Guru in March 2018 by Rise Global list’s, there is a gap in this technique.

“The biggest mistake one could say is when people game the system, meaning they use gamification to win a prize and in the meantime, they do not fill out the CRM system correctly or honestly”, Nicolas pointed out.

When you advertise a very attractive reward, people will do whatever it takes to win (even cheat). Instead of the “achievement” being the most important, the prize itself becomes the main focus.

How to solve it:

“To prevent that, it is important to not offer great prices and to ensure borders, so that no one can game the system and cheat”, advised Nicolas.

Prizes are useful to establish and align common goals with your team, but It should solely be a recognition symbol for the good work and commitment of the reps.

Some of our clients used to reward their team members with tangible prizes such as concert tickets, trips, etc. This is great, although we have noticed that the most stimulating prize for sales reps is much simpler: recognition.

Displaying their names on Leaderboards generates a constant appreciation internally, for their hard work. This also catches the eye of Managers and C- Level Employees. Imagine the CEO seeing your Big Sale on the screen. That’s a real prize.

Employee Recognition Hurrah! Sales Leaderboards

Mistake 2 — Believing that Gamification alone will solve all the problems

“The biggest mistake is thinking that gamification alone will solve long-term issues with using CRM (or any service). If the root issue is not understood (why are people not doing what I want them to do) then gamification will often only add a novelty boost in activity.”, pointed Andrezj Marczewski, author of Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play (2015).

As mentioned above, when we acquire a new tool we expect to see the “magic” happening instantly, and forget that it usually starts off as only that: a tool. Like any tool, it needs a context to function. It also needs someone to handle it. It can’t do the whole job by itself.

How to solve it:

To begin you must ask yourself: why are you using a CRM and why is the CRM important to the company and the company’s goals? Once you have these answers, you must communicate them to your team. Then only after that, can you begin to take advantage of Gamification.

Andrzej recommendation is right along these same lines “you need to educate people about why they need to use the CRM first, then start to apply things that make that use feel rewarding and (if such a thing is possible) fun. But they have to understand the real value to them and the company first!”

We’ve written about the challenges of implementing a CRM and incentivizing the user adoption. Check it out if you want to learn more about the 10 Deadly Sins in CRM User Adoption.

Download Now Free eBook 10 Deadly Sins in CRM User Adoption

 

Mistake 3 — Starting with a Complex Gamification Model

Pablo Peralta, the founder of one of the biggest LATAM CRM communities, also shared some insights. For him, one of the most common mistakes is “starting with a complex gamification model and using complex gamified dynamics”.

A lot of people that have never tried gamification before, try to jump into it using complex techniques and features. This can easily confuse, and create the illusion that gamification is tricky stuff. This can also result in a lot of mishaps.

“Gamification must be implemented in a very simple model. Like giving points to the reps who follow the behavior that you want them to, measuring impact and so on. Then, with time and feedback, starting to introduce badges and other prizes”.

How to solve it:

According to Pablo, “the best option in corporate environments is to start with the most basic stuff”. This means the most basic gamification techniques and methods.

Next, Pablo suggests to “introduce the concept and which behaviors you want to reward. Keep measuring the members’ feedback and allowing them to adopt it.”

Finally, Pablo suggests that increasing the complexity of the gamification solution is the best route, but to do it slowly. This involves things such as “introducing badges and other prizes”.

"Introduce the concept and which behaviors you want to reward. Keep measuring the members’ feedback and allowing them to adopt it".

 

Mistake 4 — Applying a Short-Term Gamification Strategy

We talked to Michael Wu, recognized as an Influential Leader by CRM Magazine, and his message to us was clear: short-term techniques are not recommended when it comes to CRM.

“One of the biggest mistakes in applying gamification to address these long-term behavior change is that people often use short-term gamification tools.”

He also added, “unlike gamification in marketing and sales, CRM user adoption and employee engagement are both long-term problems. It’s pointless to drive adoption or engage employees only for a few months”.

How to solve it:

Michael advises using strategies that apply more challenging and complex games because they are the most effective in the long run.

Although they present results slowly, they are the ones that drive more complex behaviors. Also, they are able to entertain people for a longer period of time.

He concludes that those who bet on short-term solutions “are doomed to fail when addressing challenging business problems that involve long-term behavior change.”

Mistake 5 — Forgetting to develop a strategy before applying gamification

According to Karl Kapp, author of The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas Into Practice (2013).

“One of the biggest mistakes is not integrating the CRM gamification efforts to a larger strategy. If your overall strategy or sales model or prospecting method is ineffective, simply adding on a gamified CRM with points for calling a prospect is not going to magically increase sales.

A gamification effort needs to be carefully combined with an understanding of the overall goals. You need to map individual events, efforts and behaviors to a specific reward structure not just to the overall goal of “sell more” but to enabling goals or milestones like impacting the ratio of call activity to next step activity, which will eventually lead to larger goals.”

How to solve it:

The first step to avoid this mistake is to establish a baseline strategy.

This is necessary so gamification can “assist” in the process. It must be clear that Gamification does not define the directives of your team and your business.

“An organization needs to clearly have identified steps and activities that lead to success before going off and half-heartedly gamifying the CRM. The organization needs to set clear goals, milestones and trigger events and then weave the gamification solution into the comprehensive effort. Too often gamification is added in total disregard to strategic considerations when it comes to gamifying a CRM. The fix is to work on strategy first, gamification second”, conforming to Karl.

"A gamification effort needs to be carefully combined with an undestanding of the overall goals"

 

Mistake 6 — Reducing the complexity of the Business

For Marigo Raftopoulos, ranked #2 Gamification Guru in March 2018 by Rise Global list’s, one of the most common mistakes is “a lack of appreciation of organizations as complex systems”. We should not reduce our company’s process and complexity.

A company structure is, by nature a complex system. If we want our business to succeed, we need to make sure to align our process as precise as possible. After this, gamification will be the easy part.

“A well-meaning gamified CRM could be encouraging positive desired behaviors such as project collaboration, knowledge sharing or innovation drives. However, the success or failure of that system largely depends on the prevailing culture, work processes or management styles of the organization. For example, a collaborative, knowledge sharing tool will not be optimized in a prevailing organizational culture of secrecy and distrust”, Marigo pointed out.

How to solve it:

“The lesson here is that gamified CRMs are a technological tool, and not the complete solution”, she concluded.

Again, we learn that a company’s culture is fundamental. The gamification can definitely be a good choice for changing behaviors, but it would not work by itself.

Company's Culture Hurrah! Sales Leaderboards

If you are looking to take your first step into the gamification world, we recommend you look for an easy to use and effective solution.

Our Hurrah! Leaderboards creates appealing and customizable slideshows, that are very simple to set and user friendly. By displaying KPI’s in real time, Hurrah! helps align your company’s goals with all members of the team. Driving performance and bringing excitement and recognition to daily activities

 

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We would like to thank all of our generous contributors:

Nicolas Babin, ranked #1 Gamification Guru in March 2018 by Rise Global list’s, and a renowned Marketing and Gamification Consultant.

Andrzej Marczewski, author of Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play (2015), and Senior Solution Consultant.

Pablo Peralta, founder of Comunidad 365, the biggest CRM Community in Spanish.

Michael Wu Ph.D., named as an Influential Leader by CRM Magazine, International Speaker.

Karl Kapp, author of The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas Into Practice (2013).

Marigo Raftopoulos, ranked #2 Gamification Guru in March 2018 by Rise Global list’s, Strategic Business Advisor and Digital Media Specialist.