Contests Motivation

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. 

Weekly Prizes

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. 

Individual PRs

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. 

Team Challenges

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!