Here’s Why Healthy Competition Is Good For Employee Engagement
It’s time to fight with your coworkers. No, seriously. It’s likely that on most days, you and your teammates have disagreements about the way something should be done. Whether it’s a proposal or a presentation, everyone’s got an opinion about how a project should be carried about. But rare is the person who can constructively stand up and propose a new way forward.
Make no mistake: we’re not encouraging you to throw down, bare-knuckle, Gangs-of-New-York style, but what we are asking still requires courage. The courage to challenge each other’s ideas in a healthy, mutually-respectful way. It’s easy to disagree about something on a project, it’s a whole other challenge to engage in constructive conflict about it.
But on the other side of a good “fight” over the best strategy for your team’s next big decision is a final result that’s sharper, cleaner, and closer to what everyone wants: the best possible result. Our challenge to you is this: find a way to engage your coworkers in a healthy disagreement, and leave your ego completely out of it.
In the end, you may find that their way is the best way; but with a good debate, you’ll walk out with a refined, fire-tested product that everyone can be the most proud of. With more and more teams working remote, friendly competition and challenges can help keep employees engaged, even with all of the distractions. Here are just a few ways that competition brings about the best results your team could hope for.
It Opens Communication
Here’s a quick thought-experiment: if three people are wandering around a maze trying to find each other, what’s the most efficient way for everyone to come together? Would that plan include communication? Of course it would. Unless everyone starts to identify where they’re at, the process of coming to a solution is just three individuals aimlessly wandering back and forth, hoping for dumb luck to strike.
It’s important to communicate your ideas so that everyone knows where you’re at—and so that you know where your team is at. Otherwise you’re just making a lot of blind assumptions. This is even more important when working with a distributed team.
Let’s take it a step further: let’s say only one person in the maze is communicating, and they keep insisting that all of your are in the same location. You know that you’re not, so why would you choose to stay silent? Writing for Fast Company, Paul Glover makes the point that conflict is a true test of an employee’s ability to properly communicate: “If we don’t train [employees] to [communicate and manage conflict] for themselves and a manager steps in to resolve the conflict … the group doesn’t have a chance to [develop into its full potential].”
No team ever fully agrees 100% of the time—that’s just pure fiction. But the only way that we can iron out those disagreements is by bringing them to the table. And if you can do that in a constructive way, you’re opening up the potential for some really healthy and paradigm-shifting conversations.
It Encourages Diversity of Thought
Henry Ford is famous for saying of his invention of the Model T, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” And this idea carries over to the idea of healthy conflict: If we simply stick with the status quo, we cannot come up with new ideas. And if we don’t challenge the normal way of thinking, we can never innovate. If you have an environment in which people feel comfortable to disagree—and know how to do it in a healthy, respectful way—you’re going to have people who are unafraid to vocalize risky ideas.
Conversely, if you have an environment at work where challenging conventional ideas is discouraged, you’ll never be able to truly move forward. You’ll be treading water instead of swimming upstream. When you encourage your team to challenge each other, someone won’t sit at their desk feeling stupid: they instead will be OK to float an idea that the rest of the group may graciously shut down. Rebecca Greenfield explains the probably all-too-familiar scenario in which fear of conflict causes a creative roadblock: “People hoping to look smart and productive will blurt out low-hanging fruit first. Everyone else then rallies around that idea both internally and externally. Unfortunately, that takes up time and energy, leaving a lot the best thinking undeveloped.” Don’t create a culture of “yes” people.
Create an environment where people dare to poke holes in an idea until you’ve uncovered all the flaws. If you truly care about creating the best possible result, you’ll never be afraid of being told something is wrong: You’ll crave it.
It Unifies Team Goals
What is your highest aspiration for your team? More likely than not, you probably have loftier dreams than simply agreeing on everything. For most of us, the greatest success of our team is measured by setting goals and achieving them.
And getting to those goals takes risk, and innovation, and a whole lot of hard work. And that’s why simply agreeing or disagreeing on a strategy isn’t enough. If about coming to the best possible conclusion that everyone on your team can buy into. As psychologist Sherrie Campbell explains, “conflict provides each person a voice that’s an essential component of effective teamwork. Feeling heard and important are key psychological factors linked to inspiring and motivating each member to commit to an objective.” By promoting healthy conflict within your team, you’re essentially taking a temperature on how unified your team is. If there’s freedom to disagree, it means that everyone is on the same page in terms of working towards a shared goal.
If team members do not feel the freedom to disagree, it may mean that you as a leader are not properly communicating your team’s goals—or worse, your team simply isn’t bought into achieving those goals. When employees don’t feel a sense of ownership in your team’s overall success, that’s when employee engagement crumbles. Healthy conflict is the firm foundation on which all of your team can grow and work towards its ultimate success, no matter where they are located.
How to Build Friendly Sales Competitions
Salespeople are inherently competitive. It’s in their DNA. Many were athletes in high school, college, and some at the professional level. They know what it means to be a good teammate and to compete.
They play by the rules. They understand the team comes first. They know how to get up after getting knocked down. They compete and fight until the very end. They can be competitive and stay within the spirit of friendly competition. It’s why they decided to pursue one of the most fiercely competitive professions there is, sales.
You want people like this on your team.
What are the best types of friendly competition?
There are different forms of competition with specific goals in mind. They are friendly, competitive, they may be fun, but they all serve a purpose. Some may be focused on readiness and preparation, refining our messaging, others about teamwork and striving to reach higher goals. In the end, it’s about improving and getting better everyday.
Let’s cover three types of competition with these specific goals in mind.
Fast and Furious
The first competition is “Fast and Furious”, an adrenaline pumping competition serving as an indication of readiness and preparation. The manager starts off the day with “I’ve got two tickets to the Rage Against the Machine reunion tour burning a hole in my pocket, looking to give away to the first person who sets a demo or a meeting by 11am today.”
The goal and instructions are simple, time-based and imminent. Perfect to exercise fast twitch muscles and get the neurons firing away. It’s before the game, at the starting line. It’s the athlete inside. Sales people like it because it’s fast, the prize is for the taking and has immediate gratification. It’s now, it’s an experience, and it’s attainable.
“Fast and Furious” develops and refines the adaptive skills and the ongoing conditioning needed in sales. You cannot predict when the customer will be calling in or when you have them on the line. No time to sharpen the pencils, tweak your scripts, “it’s go time.” You can customize and create your own competitive versions of these competitions, and you should. Variety is the spice of life, so apply it here as well.
This is not all fun and games. It’s an effective tool to assess the readiness and preparation of the team. How prepared, precise and organized were they out of the gate? Did they fumble, shuffle through, get off the line slow? Were they exact, efficient and successful? Like a track athlete coming out of the blocks, or the defensive lineman getting off on the snap of the ball, it’s about reaction time and preparation. So when do we review our readiness?
Immediately following is the best time for group feedback. What was most effective? What worked, what didn’t? All great learning lessons captured in a very short period of time. As much as this may be about results, and getting the first demo, “Fast and Furious” is more an indication of preparation, and how ready they are to play. The end goal is about making adjustments and improvements like you do after every game. Perfectionism is a disease. It’s not about being perfect, but getting better every day. Progress, not perfection, is the goal here.
Best Value Proposition
Another competition is “BVP” or the best value proposition. This is where each salesperson writes out and submits anonymously their best value prop, and the best rebuttal to an objection they faced. The team listens to all, and then votes on the best. It’s a great way to learn from your peers, align and refine your messaging, and take in different perspectives.
You can do it anytime, maybe monthly or quarterly to stay fresh. This is great for new hires and trainees in particular as they acclimate to their new selling environment. These work really well for virtual team meetings and happy hours. Listen to calls together as a group. Break them down as a group. Role play as a group. Don’t let distance hold you back from getting and giving feedback.
Next, is a more formalized, longer form competition that also includes support team members within the sales organization. Let’s call it “Destination.”
1) Start by forming teams combining sales and support. No more than three people per team. Forming teams serves multiple purposes; creating new relationships, collaboration and cross functional teamwork. It’s a great way to appreciate and learn about other roles and responsibilities in the organization.
2) Keep it simple. Stay within the current day to day metrics, or the same “activity-based” metrics in play today. It’s not only about what you do, but doing it more effectively. To set goals, take your daily or weekly activity metrics and multiply by 1.20 representing the initial “stretch goal” with incremental increases of .025 thereafter per step, as the competition progresses to the final destination. Sales athletes understand it gets harder in the 4th quarter, as you get closer to the goal. You don’t reward for what’s expected, you reward for what’s on the other side of expectations.
3) Each step represents the flow leading to a sale; dials, conversions, appointments, demos, proposals, or whatever makes sense for your organization. Do not include actual sales results at this point (overly complicates). Total team sales serves as a tiebreaker, if it comes into play. This competition is about teamwork, and driving the right behaviors with activity at the center.
4) The competition has a starting point and a final destination. As each team meets/exceeds the assigned measurement goal for each step in the journey, starting with the first step, they move to the next level up. Teams that don’t achieve the goal, stay where they are and don’t move. The first team that reaches the final destination wins the prize, bragging rights and all the other good stuff that comes along with it. Best to keep the contest duration to 60 days or less, as longer periods only run the risk of the team losing focus and continuity.
5) Important that it’s visual-based, with a “Map” displayed on the office walls. Teams create their own names, emoji, and team personas. You want everyone seeing how the teams are progressing on their journey. This is where you see the creativity and imagination of the teams. Don’t micromanage this process. Let them be creative, and silly if they feel like it.
6) The Good Twist. The prize connects to the final destination, extending to an outside place. An experience is always better than a cash reward. A shared experience is even more powerful. This allows teams to better visualize and connect the contest to a destination, a real place they plan to celebrate victory as a team (more on this below). Remember, your aim here is to create fun, competitive office chatter between teams who “can’t’ wait to go to x place.”
The final destination is up to you. My favorite, Costa Rica [of course].
The Mount Rainier Summit Challenge – where teams start off by following the standard “Disappointment Cleaver” route from “Paradise” base camp, to “Camp Muir”, to “Cathedral Gap”, to “Ingraham Flats” to the Summit”, traversing 5 steps before reaching 14,411 feet, the top of the mountain.
The team prize– connecting with the Mount Rainier journey and experience. The first team to reach the Summit of the majestic mountain wins the prize. It could be a day off from work with lunch at the “Paradise Lodge,” and day hiking as a team through the beautiful mountain meadows. Maybe, a REI backpack for future hiking trips and adventures. And all within budgets of course.
Not in the country? Let’s move the competition to the city:
The New York City Adventure– same route concept as the Mt Rainier Challenge, so will be brief. In this case, the route could be from the NY office location, down the elevator across the street to the subway, cruise across town or hitting Uptown, Midtown, Tribeca to the final destination. [New Yorkers please forgive my route logic!]
The team prize – The first team to arrive at the destination wins the prize. It could be the restaurant they always wanted to go to, or to a Broadway show. Connecting the journey with the prize and destination, a real place, creates more meaning, allows the team to enjoy the moments outside and develop stronger relationships. It also makes the competition fuller with lasting memories that don’t go away. They will remember the experience.
The End Goals
Salespeople and teams become better every day by getting closer and more connected with teammates. The end result here drives the right type of behaviors and results.
They are sales athletes who want to operate at peak performance and levels. Let’s support our teams by creating conducive environments that are fun, friendly and drive results.
I can’t think of anything more important than tapping into the sales athlete, the competitive spirit within. Now more than ever, when most of the world is experiencing a forced function and working remotely and connecting virtually and in need of community and culture, enjoy, and have fun creating friendly sales competitions.
Do We Need Sales Contests?
Do we need sales contests?
A simple, fair comp structure is really the best way to go, but c’mon, let’s face it…salespeople love any reason to work just a little bit harder for larger returns.
Still a minority, but I’m finding that some sales leaders are now against the idea of most sales contests, president’s clubs, etc. They seem to think they do more harm than good to a sales org. My hunch here is that some folks have either:
- Put together poorly run contests, or
- Been a part of poorly run contests before, and therefore…
Have a negative viewpoint of them. A poorly run contest can leave managers or future managers thinking contests as a whole do not work.
I personally think the answer is they’re not “needed,” but they are valuable and fun for the teams. I also feel like mixing up contests is the best way to go. Never let them become stale. Rotate between results, metrics, whole team and individual goals, big prizes or trips, and small but meaningful incentives.
Assuming you already have that fair comp structure in place, contests around creativity like “best new email template,” “best new collateral,” and “best above and beyond story,” might be the best bang for your contest bucks.
Effective Contest Structure
In my experience, the best way to run a contest is to create one that everybody believes they can win. You must set a bar that everyone feels that they can attain even if it’s a stretch goal. The team is then more supportive of each other and the contest as a whole achieves far more revenue/results. This is an important consideration, because if it seems that only the top seller can win, the team may not be as motivated. The floor can take on a negative mentality such as “Well, so-and-so always wins, so why bother trying?” Again, this is where managers and sales leaders become tainted by contests. It’s not contests themselves that fail it’s poorly executed contests.
I always try to base contests around sales activity AND revenue. Shorter contests work better because many salespeople have the attention span of a squirrel, and want immediate results. It’s much harder to sustain momentum for a month, or quarter long contest; than a contest running a few days or a week.
I would advise against making contest decisions in a vacuum without team participation. I love hearing ideas of contest structure and rewards from frontline manager and sales reps. Why? Because obviously their buy-in will be that much stronger if they participate in the creation of the contest.
Measuring Contest Effectiveness
Data. Data. Data. Of course the data should yield improvement in KPI’s, pipeline generated, and revenue sold. But what about soft, or less measurable results, like improved morale, increased communication, and strengthening of internal relationships? Harder to quantify results such as these can result in both short and long term gains. How do you quantify morale? Perhaps it’s increased tenure. In other cases it could be increased teamwork and camaraderie. These “less measurable” results should not be ignored, and can be quite powerful.
I spoke with a sales leader who once ran a contest that every time an SDR got a set, they got a high five and a personal compliment. I’m sure that makes the team feel good at scale. Money doesn’t always talk. On that same train of thought, I notoriously ran contests where I had to serve coffee, water, food to team members who “won” a contest. Nothing like having your reps boss you around to motivate them!
By increasing effort metrics, ie “hustle,” it will improve the buzz and energy on the sales floor. I never met a salesperson who didn’t feed off the energy of others. If there are SDR’s saying “OH CRAP HE GOT ANOTHER SET – I GOTTA GET ONE TO STAY AHEAD”- you know they are incentivized and the floor is rocking. The result? Shorter sales cycles, increased revenue and pipeline generation, greater talk times, and more meetings booked.
Build a Contest from Scratch
I’ve built or helped build sales contests and competitions for the orgs I’ve led many times, and in many different formats, but there is one place it always begins.
The budget for the contest is the starting point.
And that budget begins with a sale. The sales leader selling the contest up the food chain to the CFO/CEO. So what are some of the steps you should take?
- Get the budget.
- Have a theme – a structure or activity, based around that theme, and a fun reward.
- Figure out the metric that you are trying to improve upon (ex. number of demos held) and apply this metric to the theme.
- Use a tool (like Hoopla) to track it.
- Give the reps easy wins throughout the process (ex. top rep gets a gift card every day).
- Build up to a grand prize that is something every rep would want. Make sure that it is large enough to entice them to keep going.
- I have sent reps to Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, France, Hawaii, Las Vegas, New York City and more.
- People love experiences often more than cash.
- Stay in the budget. I repeat…stay in the budget.
- Blowing the budget out will jeopardize your ability to run another contest.
- But if you blow the numbers away while staying in budget, you might find yourself able to do it again with a BIGGER budget next time.
As I said earlier, you don’t have to hold sales contests, but they do have value when done right. You know you are doing it correctly when you:
- Involve everyone.
- Communicate well.
- Vary the format and rewards.
- Measure with hard metrics and soft results.
- Set and stay within budget.
Salespeople love rewards and competing. Give the people what they want, but do it right.
How Not To Run A Company Contest
Aren’t you sick of everyone telling you the right way to do things? These days it seems everyone’s an expert on everything. We’ve all got the hottest takes on what to do, how to do it, and why our way is better than everyone else’s.
Well not us.
Instead, we’re going to tell you exactly how you shouldn’t do things.
Because something we’ve realized is that there are a lot of bad ways to run a company contest. In a picture perfect world, a company contest is something that increases employee engagement. It’s an opportunity to elevate employee performance, boost morale, and deepen your employees’ sense of purpose and fulfillment in their jobs.
Didn’t realize a simple contest could do all that? You’re not alone. In fact, plenty of employers get so focused on the benefits of increased performance—and they get so focused on those dollar signs that they hastily throw together bad contests that miss the mark. And with that in mind, we wanted to show you what a bad, sloppy employee contest looks like. And to be clear: don’t do any of these things. Your employees will thank you.
Keep It Very Vague
A great way to plunge an employee contest into chaos is to keep the terms as undefined as possible. Maybe you just tell your employees to hit a benchmark like “boost productivity by 100%” or “see who can increase their output the most this week.”
The reason these are such useless goals is because they’re a) difficult to quantify and b) even harder to measure.
What a good employee competition might choose to do is rather give employees measurable KPIs by which they can compete. KPIs, for the uninitiated, are job-specific goals and metrics to use against performance—in other words, tangible ways to measure an employee’s performance.
By linking KPIs to company contests, you’re giving your employees measurable ways to improve their performance, work toward specific goals, and analyze their performance for future improvement.
When contests are vague (and more broadly, when our goals are hard to measure), it’s hard to understand the larger context to why it matters. When we link them to performance indicators, contests become an opportunity to improve our skills as employees.
Give Every Department The Same Metrics
If you’re running a company-wide contest, how much more confusing you could make it if you gave every department the same goals to accomplish? You can’t expect accounting to increase their sales numbers!
Rather, company-wide contests can benefit from more team-oriented contests. What are weekly goals by which that team can measure success? Are there ways that you can combine departments? Or maybe, in the spirit of KPIs, there are ways in which you can find different goals and metrics for each team to abide by that are ultimately equal.
When you give teams measurable goals for their specific roles, you also give underperforming employees an opportunity to learn and benefit from their higher-performing colleagues. Above all, if you set one universal standard for everyone to live by, your employees will feel overwhelmed, and will probably come out of the gate disengaged.
Pit Employees Against Each Other
Jeffrey Summers, a Restaurant & Hospitality Business Consultant, wrote a piece for LinkedIn criticizing bad company contests—and we’re totally here for it! Something we like to distinguish in the world of gamification and contests is the difference between competition and healthy competition.
Summers says it pretty plainly, and we agree: “pitting one employee against another can undermine the goals of collaboration and teamwork.” That’s certainly not healthy competition, and to Summers’ point, it’s a great way to lower morale and employee engagement.
Rather, if you’re looking to run a company contest the right way, make competition healthy. It’s not simply about winners and losers, it’s about reaching new heights as both an individual and an organization. One way this can look is to have employees competing against their own “PRs” as it were. Rather than competing with each other, they’re trying to out-do themselves on a week-to-week basis. Now the focus is on how we can all do better, not how we can best each other.
Punish The Losers
There are generally two types of leaders: those who inspire by fear, and those who inspire by hope. As a general rule, we much prefer the latter. If you want to induce anxiety amongst your employees, then we suggest not rewarding good behavior, but punishing those who finish at the bottom.
As Eli Broad shares over on the Monster blog, fear isn’t just a bad way to motivate employees, it’s straight up disrespectful to them.
Instead, Broad suggests, we should be allowing space for our employees to fail: “If you let your employees fail without punishment, you’ll win their loyalty, their hardest effort, and their willingness to take risks with you. No one will resort to finger-pointing or cover-ups.” A good employee competition doesn’t just produce winners and losers. It allows struggling employees to see what great looks like, learn from their mistakes, and improve the next day, week, and quarter on.
Don’t Give Out An Award/Reward
Although, that’s not all to say there isn’t room for a good reward now and then. If you’re in the running for a “worst employee contests” award, then our best advice is to not reward anyone for their efforts.
The truth is inherent in who we are as humans: it’s nice to be recognized for a job well done. And if you have a group of high-achieving employees who don’t feel like their efforts are being recognized, you can guess that it’s not going to be long before they take their talents elsewhere.
And as the folks at Adecco point out, it’s more than just giving one person one great reward—it’s about recognizing and rewarding as many folks as possible: “For a longer-term and wider impact, determine specific criteria and reward everyone who meets them. Publicize each accomplishment and acknowledge each achiever. As long as the criteria are meaningful – the more winners the better!”
No Water Balloons Necessary: Summer Sales Competitions to Boost Your Team’s Numbers
When’s the last time you played a really great game? Maybe it was when you visited family over the holidays, maybe it was at your last BBQ, or maybe it was when you were gaming with your buddies the other night online.
Whatever your answer, more likely than not, the last great game you played wasn’t at your office. But that can change.
Here at Hoopla, we’re all about sales gamification: it’s the idea that you can turn ordinary work into a rewards system, allowing sales folks to compete with themselves and others.
If you’re finding your office in the middle of a summertime slump, some good old fashioned competition could be just what the doctor ordered.
When we talk about the importance of incentivizing your sales team, a lot of managers get a little skittish. Aren’t we already paying our team members? Isn’t that incentive? How much more can I shell out before it starts to affect my bottom line?
But this carefully crafted strawman’s mentality is precisely the kind of thinking that keeps your business—and equally importantly, your employees—from the growth that they’re capable of. Our explanation is twofold: First, incentives, no matter how big or small, are an investment that leads to greater revenue for everyone. You can’t expect to put in a penny and withdraw $100 at the end of the month: you have to sow in proportion to what you want to reap.
But that said, investment doesn’t have to cost you big money in order to be effective. You just have to get creative about your rewards system.
For example: If you’re paying your salespeople on a commission-heavy structure, then exactly how many hours per week they’re in the office matters a whole lot less than how many sales they’re making. But to your employee, having those hours back for their own personal use can be an extremely valuable reward.
Enter: Summer Fridays. Hold weekly competitions where top-performing salespeople (or, to be more democratic, every sales person that hits X goal) are rewarded with a half-day on Friday. That’s a few extra hours at home with their children, partner, or off alone doing whatever it is that helps them to unwind.
At almost no cost to your business, you’ve just created a weekly incentive that gets your sales team off their butts and into butt-kicking mode. Win-win-win.
Another thing that we love about sales leaderboards is that it doesn’t have to be an alienating experience—something where only the so-called best are always claiming the top spot. Some of the best sales competitions don’t have to pit your employees against each other. Rather, they help employees to feel satisfaction in their personal performance.
Consider this. You’ve got an employee who’s been in sales for only a year. They had little to no experience before you hired them, but now they’re off and running—and having great week after great week. The trouble is, that progress isn’t being broadcasted to the office at large, because all of the focus always just goes to the top performers: field veterans who’ve been crushing the game for 20+ years.
With a digital sales leaderboard, you can create competitions where employees are competing against their own personal bests—and those results are broadcast for the whole office to see. Suddenly, people are able to notice that the rookie has some natural talent for this—and now she’s getting some positive reinforcement from those vets, encouraging her to do even better next time.
Head To Head
But wait a second, just because some kinds of head to head competition can be alienating, it doesn’t mean you still can’t have some healthy summer sales competitions amongst friendly coworkers.
Often, when employee engagement is low, there’s a loss of a sense of responsibility. Employees are out of touch with not only their goals, but also the sense of what their role plays more broadly within the organization. It’s an isolating feeling that results in lower performances, and often leads to employees leaving the organization.
That should raise red flags for any manager. But the good news is that activities like head to head competition often lead to higher employee engagement.
Not only will your disengaged employee likely enjoy the gamification of their work, but on top of that, they’ll begin to get a sense of what a top performer looks like—and better yet, rise to the occasion of truly challenging that top-performer’s status. We’ve seen from countless clients that introducing healthy competition into the office leads to better results for everyone involved.
But if putting your employees in the Thunderdome isn’t exactly your style, you can turn a head-to-head challenge into a team activity. It’s another unbelievably effective way to raise employee engagement amongst lower performers, and more than that, it opens up the opportunity for collaboration, mentorship, and a united mentality that raises everyone’s standards of performance.
For lower performers, there’s the opportunity to see hands-on how the cream of your crop get it done. For top-performers who may be so-often focused on their individual contributions, it’s a chance for them to feel like they have an ever greater role within the organization, helping others to be their best.
Making It Relevant: The Sales World Cup
So let’s make this all concrete: if you’re looking for a way to introduce summer sales competitions for your team that are relevant, engaging, and totally easy to grasp, why not try a sales world cup?
The premise is simple: divide your salesforce into an even number of teams, hopefully pairing some of your best with some of your still-learning folks. Then, you create a bracket, and have teams compete each week—the best combined team scores moving on to the next round.
Back to our earlier point about prizes and incentives, this is an opportunity for a bigger investment. Maybe it’s an extra week of vacation, maybe it’s a real bonus. But whatever the prize waiting on the other side, this is an opportunity for your sales teams to dream big and work hard together over the course of an entire quarter.
At the end of the day, sales competitions aren’t about winners vs. losers. They’re about showing everyone on the sales floor that there are victories to be had if they just get up and get going. So what are you waiting for? Create those summer sales competitions and get to competing!
5 Tips to Create the Best March Madness Sales Contest
Can you believe it’s already March?? This month conjures up all sorts of exciting events from Mardi Gras to St. Paddy’s Day, but arguably, the most talked about event is March Madness. Whether your team has an office pool, or your reps are cashing in their PTO time to watch their team win, it’s hard to miss all the hoopla around this month’s most talked-about tournament.
While some managers might see March Madness as a distraction, we at Hoopla believe this is a great opportunity to infuse a bit of fun and competition into your team and drive up your numbers before the end of the quarter. With our Tournaments feature, it’s easy to create your own March Madness challenge and get in on the fun! Here are our top 5 Tips & Tricks for setting up your own MARCH Tournament.
We will pre-populate tournament brackets based on the seeded modal (i.e. top ranked player can play the bottom ranked player, etc.). However, you are free to make adjustments as you see fit. In order to ensure a fair competition, you may want to group your individual Players according to skill level or departments (e.g. Rookies/Veterans or Mid-Market Sales/Large Enterprise Sales). Organize these groups into teams and then create a special Player Leaderboard for each one. Remember, scoring for the Tournaments is based on the primary metric on that Leaderboard, so be sure to use the one that matters most for your competition.
Another fun way to involve everyone, especially in larger companies, is to set up a Team Tournament. By pitting entire teams or departments against each other, anyone and everyone in your organization can have an impact on the final outcome. You can use the March Madness model and set up your tournament according to location, or set it up based on departments.
Align with March Madness Dates
Scheduling your Tournament to coincide with important March Madness dates can help fuel the excitement around your company Tournament. Check the NCAA website to see when each round starts and ends, and schedule your Tournament accordingly.
Maybe someone had an off week, or they’re new and still learning the ropes. Either way, it’s good to have a plan for the players that get eliminated in the first round. Take the first round of eliminated players and create a second-string Tournament. Giving them a do-over is not only morale-boosting, but it also gives your reps the opportunity to learn from past experience and still allows them to be involved in the competition. Managers can use this as a coaching opportunity by giving reps tips and feedback that they can apply to their second chance.
Because Hoopla is so customizable, you can have a lot of fun with how you present your Tournaments on the big screen. Give your Tournament a theme; it could be sports related, like March Madness, or it could be something a little more ruthless like Game of Thrones. Once you’ve established a theme, upload some images, create a content tag, and shuffle that as a background on all your Tournament steps.
Add in Countdown Clocks for each round, display Image or Message Steps listing out your prizes, trigger a Quickfire Newsflash announcing the start of the Tournament and more! Feel free to reach out if you need help getting creative.
It goes without saying, people love a good incentive to win. While most people love the glory of being victorious, having a tangible representation of that victory is pretty sweet. Our customers have been known to offer everything from Starbucks gift cards to Apple Watches or Nintendo Switches. Your prize does not have to be extravagant or budget-breaking, and you can get creative. Offer different incentives for each round, such as letting the round winners leave early on a Friday or treating them to lunch the next day. Go onto Amazon, and buy a trophy or championship belt that the final winner can keep at their desk. Trust us, people LOVE a trophy they can show off. Have fun, but remember…there can only be one champion.
*Tournaments are only available for customers on the Gold Plan. Contact your CSM to get a free trial of Tournaments and see what all the excitement is about.
3 Proven Sales Contest Ideas That Won’t Alienate Anyone On Your Team
Remember middle school dodgeball? Your experience says a lot about the person you were back then… For some, it was a lot of throwing, a lot of winning, and probably a lot of laughing.
For others, it was mostly the business end of a rubber ball to the face.
And when it came to picking teams, you knew which category of person you fell into long before the whistle blew. What resulted for either side was probably not a recipe for growth or change. Instead, the underperforming kids tended to feel like… well, the underperformers.
But good team competition doesn’t have to be alienating. In fact, with a good coach—or here in the adult world, a good manager—team sports can be the tide that raises every ship.
Here are Hoopla, we believe whole-heartedly in the power of sales gamification and are constantly looking for great sales contest ideas. But sometimes the prospect of competition can translate to rewarding the best and alienating the worst.
Instead, we’ve come up with three sales contest ideas that can keep everyone in your office engaged, motivated, and chasing after new levels of growth.
The raffle concept is simple: hold a weeklong or monthlong competition, where every time someone hits a benchmark (new client, new lead, 10 cold calls, etc.) they’re awarded a raffle ticket. At the end of the competition, hold the raffle.
The genius is that you’re giving everyone the opportunity to be recognized for small wins, without having someone be “first” or “last.” But at the end of the day, folks with more raffle tickets have a better chance of winning—so the “fair police” won’t be out for blood.
Chris Sams, sales executive and revenue growth specialist says it perfectly when outlining how to build a high-performance sales team: “Success is contagious. People who pursue careers in sales are almost always motivated by recognition. Recognizing wins early and often is one of the fastest ways to rapidly get the flywheel going.”
Alternatively, if you are a little more interested in clear winners, you can elect to host a team-based tournament. This allows the opportunity for inter-team encouragement, with high performers encouraging their teammates—no one person wins or loses—while still having some of that intra-team competitiveness.
Ultimately, what we’ve found that these types of competitions do really well is create a sense of team-oriented goal setting. Get your employees focused on your organization’s larger goals, and they’ll have a more acute sense of their role in carrying them out.
Speaking of goals: timed challenges, similar to raffles, allow your employees to focus on simple benchmarks—but here, they’re competing with themselves rather than each other. Can you reach your individual goal? This way, no one’s checking another person’s score, they’re just set on meeting their own goals and being the best version of themselves. Here, recognition isn’t about showing who’s the best, but rather celebrating everyone for hitting new marks along their personal path.
Gamification and sales competition doesn’t have to mean isolation, losing, or feeling left behind. In the end, there’s enough pie to go around for everyone. Need more sales contest ideas? Feel free to let us know in the comments!
How to Find the Right Balance with Friendly Competition
Competition can be a great motivator, but when it comes to competing with teammates, it’s vital to keep it in perspective.
Friendly competition is the goal, of course, in encouraging everyone to do their best under the overarching sentiment that “we’re all in this together.” But how can you strike that balance with your team?
Putting Competition in Perspective
You want your team to have the right perspective on competition: that it matters, but not that it is all-consuming. As a sales leader or manager, you can structure sales competitions with stakes high enough to matter, but not so high that employees feel they’re all must-wins. Leaders can also make sure that those who don’t find their way to the victory circle are still encouraged to do their best going forward. Needless to say, this has to be a humiliation-free zone.
Using a gamification paradigm sends a good message to all competitors not to take contests too seriously and to keep things fun. Hoopla incorporates gamification into your workplace competition, and companies can also use Hoopla’s interactive displays for encouraging messages and reminders that everyone is ultimately on the same team – your company’s.
Knowing Your Team
Some team members are highly motivated by friendly competition, while others just become stressed out and resentful. The number and type of competitions you decide to have may be adjusted to accommodate your team’s particular attributes and tolerance for competitions. Hoopla supports a nearly infinite number of competitions of various types, and you get to decide how to structure them for your particular sales team.
Tips on Promoting Friendly Competition
How can your workplace encourage competition that will motivate employees without alienating them from each other? Sometimes the details can make all the difference.
1. Build Short, Frequent Contests
One way to encourage everyone to keep trying is to have frequent competitions and to update statistics on the leaderboard frequently. It’s a little easier to deal with disappointment if you know there will be another chance right away to try again. Frequent competitions will show employees that there is always another incentive around the corner, and updating leaderboards frequently will keep employees checking to see how they are doing. This way, everyone has a chance to win, and win more often.
2. Create Strength in Teams
Having group or team contests can also be helpful because it gives team members opportunities to bond and to support each other as they compete. You can be strategic in the way you choose teams so that group dynamics stay positive and everyone has a fair chance to win. Hoopla can make team competitions more exciting and fun with customized graphics and walk-up or theme music to punch up the wow factor and give teams something to cheer about. Working in teams creates stronger bonds, as well as a greater sense of belonging amongst individuals. Employees are most motivated in company cultures that foster engagement and communication.
3. Have Some Fun
You can even have occasional or periodic contests that reward employees for encouraging one another. What employees do to win a contest may just form a habit that continues after the contest is over. At Hoopla, we have healthy eating and exercise challenges to encourage cleaner lifestyles. Tracking our results on leaderboards and broadcasting results on Hoopla TVs allow each one of us to be held accountable for our own well-being and lets us cheer one another on for keeping it up.
Encouraging the right balance of friendly competition in teams can make all the difference in building company culture, boosting morale, and increasing performance.
Start a free trial of Hoopla today to see how you can encourage your sales team toward friendly competition!
A Day in the Life of a Sales Rep Told Through 14 NBA Finals Gifs
The life of a sales rep is exciting, competitive and unpredictable. It takes the talent of some all-stars along with the support of true teamwork to book meetings and close deals. It’s only natural to tell the story of a day in the life of a sales rep through some 2015 NBA finals gifs (also with Riley Curry because she’s adorable). A good day goes something like this:
1. Walk into the office with your game face on like…
2. Send a bunch of emails and call prospects while trying to be genuine, approachable, a little adorable and completely irresistible….
3. Wait for responses to your clever emails and charismatic voicemails like…
4. Followed by long stretches of no responses, yawning and thinking about lunch….
5. You come back from lunch to find someone has responded and you silently thank the sales gods….
6. Call into a meeting you had booked with a prospect weeks back.
With the help of your AE’s seasoned skills and your good vibes, you close the deal….
7. And it feels like this…
8. You remember being in sales is all about the rush of those wins….
9. Although it isn’t always easy and you may stumble a few times before you score….
10. Sales is also about teamwork; supporting each other…
11. And celebrating those wins….
12. After a great day of successful outreach and closed deals, you leave the office feeling like this…
13. Then the next day you suit up and prepare for whatever happens next…
14. Go get ’em!
Find out how to create and motivate the best sales team, download our latest Ebook: The Startup Guide to Building The Best Sales Team