It is easy to spend a small fortune on sales contests and incentive programs designed to motivate, stimulate and reinvigorate the sales team. However, you may have found that such programs meant to motive, can end up having the reverse affect and deflate, berate and de-motivate instead.
Sometimes the problem is not the structure of the contest in itself, but the manner in which you set up the playing ground.
The Starting Line
When designing a competitive sales contest, you have to take into consideration the starting point of each individual sales person. By that, I mean that you have to consider the experience, skills, closing averages and client-base of each sales person to design a contest that is equitable.
If you base the contest purely on bottom-line closed sales, then sales people who have more experience and clients, from whom they can get referrals, have an unfair advantage over newer, less experienced team members.
Over Before It Starts
For many of those less experienced sales people, such a disadvantage can seem insurmountable. When this happens, it creates a situation where some sales team members do not attempt to win or even compete in the contest. In fact, they feel shunned which causes an anti-productive mentality. Simultaneously, due to the lax competition, the top sales people also operate at less than peek performance.
A Handicapping System
Come up with a method to make all sales people equal, for the purposes of the contest. Perhaps you consider the closing averages of each sales person and design the contest so that those with a lower closing percentage can compete.
As an example, for the sales person who has a 20% closing average, perhaps to win or place high in the contest, they have to close 4 sales.
Then, for the sales rep with a higher closing average, like 25%; perhaps he or she must close 5 sales to place in the same bracket.
A Win Win
With such a method, both levels of sales people compete hard, and get better. The sales person with the 20% closing average would have to complete 20 sales presentations or closing attempt to get the 4 sales.
However, the sales person with the higher closing rate of 25% would also have to complete 20 closing attempts!
This creates an incentive for all sales people to put forth a greater effort regardless of their skill level. In addition, it gives the newer sales people an equal opportunity if they work hard enough.
One Step Further
If you decide to use such a system for the long term, then also create a bonus system, award or incentive to give to the sales people who maintain the lowest handicap.
Level the playing field with a handicap system and watch more sales people come in under par!
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(Image by Salvatore Vuono)
Sales incentive contents can be a positive force to help motivate your sales people to new levels of productivity and loyalty. Alternatively, poorly constructed or inequitable sales challenges can result in anti-productive activity, resentment and rebellion.
Below is a powerful idea for sales incentive programs that you can alter to fit your organisation, that will inspire your team and boost your sales revenue!
Beat the Boss
This is an extremely effective sales challenge that will not only motivate, but will help solve many other sales management problems as well. Have a week, or month in where the field sales manager, that immediate supervising coach; gets out in the field, on the telephone and in the trenches just as the rest of the sales crew…full time. If needed, construct a method to assign a handicap to the manager or the team to level the playing field.
The sales manager competes directly with the sales team, who individually try to out-sell the manager. Of course, the sales people who sell more than the manager does, wins a great prize. However, no matter what the prize, it will never compare to the pride and bragging rights the sales person will gain and keep for life!
This also helps to ensure that first-level sales managers stay in touch with reality and do not become armchair executives. Should the manager lose, he or she actually wins, as sales people produce well above their normal levels, attempting to win. Should the manager win, he or she now has proof in the coaching and training they provide, and this will positively change the way the sales team performs over the long-term.
Lead By Example
One of the main problems front-line sales managers have is that they usually do not demonstrate to the team that they can actually do what they teach and demand of the sales people. Sales people are human and you cannot expect them to take everything completely on faith.
Often, when that supervisor demands, “You can and must make ten sales every week,” some sales people are thinking, “Oh yeah? Well if it’s so easy, let’s see you do it!”
To infuse real motivation and create a situation of true leadership, sales people need to see the techniques and tips they are taught actually work in real life, rather than just on chalk. The front-line sales manager must be the field general and be able to lead the team by example.
Have a beat-the boss-week or a meet-the-manager-in-the-field-month, and motivate your sales teams to the next level!
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It is easy for a well planned, highly financed, rigorously promoted and eagerly anticipated sales contest to end in fewer sales, less motivation and an overall counterproductive result. The following strategy will help you design sales and incentive contest that will motivate your sales team, increase sales and promote a winning atmosphere.
It’s Never Too Late
One of the problems with any sales contest is that there can be a point that sales people feel they have lost well before the end of the contest period. In a month long contest, sales people who have a bad first week or two, can feel that their chances for winning anything are over. With such a negative thought process, sales people produce less than if there was no contest in place. In addition, there are sales people who believe they are not as skilled as others are. Therefore, before the contest begins, they feel they cannot compete with the superstars and take on a defeatist attitude from the beginning.
Wild Card Draw
One way to avoid this is to include a method for everyone to win at least some prizes and recognition regardless of skill level or how late it is into the contest. An effective way to achieve this is to use a Wild Card Drawing type system that rewards sales people for work ethic and minimum acceptable results.
For instance, the grand prizes may go to the sales people with the highest total production and most sales. However, perhaps you have a drawing in where at the end of the contest period, you pick several names from the collection and each sales person whose name comes out of the “hat” wins something.
You can award sales people a single drawing card for every sale they close or even for attempting a certain amount of closing attempts. Maybe you can award a drawing card for sales people who set the most appointments.
In this way, all sales people have the opportunity to win major awards and never feel as though it is too late. Sales people will concentrate on completing more sales tasks, such as making calls and appointments. Create a way to level the playing ground and give all sales people an opportunity to compete.
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