December 22, 2014
By Laura Stotler, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The old adage, “You can’t win if you don’t play” is a great reflection of humans’ naturally competitive nature as well as our desire to win something, whatever that may be. And sales associates are even more competitive by nature, which makes contests a great way to engage a team and push them to get better-than-average results.
A recent article published by Business 2 Community outlines why contests can be a valuable sales tool, whether you’re in the B2C or B2B realm. After all, salespeople are still consumers at heart and the goal of winning something is a great motivator. There are some simple steps your organization can take to ensure contests yield the desired results.
One of the most important things you must do is define your objectives since, after all, you’re hoping to gain something by shifting your sales team into high gear. Outline why you want to have a contest and what you hope to achieve from it as well as set up metrics to gauge whether the contest has been a success or not.
The contest should also be folded into your organization’s overall performance strategy, yielding results in both the short term and the long term. That means it needs to be structured properly so that it doesn’t simply yield short-term sales increases. Companies should keep in mind that the B2B sales process typically takes a long time, and the contest should reflect that sales cycle. A good approach is to structure the contest around steps in the deal-closing process instead of simply focusing on closing deals, which your commission program already rewards.
When planning a contest, your company should also focus on boosting engagement, since competitive salespeople may decide not to participate if they believe they can’t win. To avoid this, ensure your contest is open and available to team members at all levels. This can be achieved by setting up different categories, for example, to ensure everyone feels they can participate and have a chance at winning.
Finally, prizes should be awarded as soon as possible and the results publicized so participants will remain motivated. This ensures standout team members are properly rewarded, and provides incentive for other members to participate in future contests.
Ultimately, you will need to refer to your metrics to gauge whether the contest yielded the desired long-term results expected. If not, some fine-tuning may be in order to ensure future contests achieve better success rates.