Healthy competition in sales is can drive success and increase productivity. Competition makes you strive for more and give up any excuses to stand idly by in a fast-paced working environment.
However, even though sales leaders know pretty well about the benefits of competition in a sales team, they often abuse it.
When things get too competitive, and you feel like you’re constantly pushed to produce better results, it can erase your sense of achievement and lead to burnout.
So how to keep things in a healthy balance and not go too harsh on yourself and your sales team? Let’s break it down.
How to Establish a Healthy Competition Climate in Your Team
High-performing sales teams usually work in a mutually respectful environment, where team members help each other whenever possible. They share experience and knowledge and often have team-building activities to keep up the positive spirit and mindset.
However, it’s very easy to disrupt this balance and ruin the vibe if you decide to turn your team members into competitors.
Instead, try to establish a healthy competitive spirit in a team. Encourage learning and development and eagerness to win but in a smart way.
Here are some tried-and-true techniques that work flawlessly.
Make Results Visible for Everyone
One thing that helps your team see the overview of everyone’s individual activity and have a clear picture of their own productivity is dashboards.
Dashboards help your team evaluate their achievements and get inspired by those of others.
It will be easier for them to see that even if they struggle with something and blame their prospects or leads for their failures, others easily bypass these obstacles. This means that there’s more room for you to grow.
As a sales leader, you’ll also have a full overview of everyone’s activity and be able to intervene when you see that some reps are performing worse than others. Wherever you see some first “bad signs,” never bring them up in front of everyone. Speak to the team member in question privately and ask if they need any help or feel pressured or intimidated by others' success.
Whenever you have a newbie in your team, you can try out the following practice. Pair your newbies with an experienced salesperson.
It doesn’t mean that they will take full responsibility for onboarding and teaching, though. That’s on a team leader to see through. However, the more experienced employee should be able to give some valid pieces of advice on handling objections, cold call techniques, etc. They should be more of a trustworthy companion rather than a superior.
These practices strengthen the connection between your team members and create a healthy working environment where newbies don’t get intimidated by more tenured colleagues but see them as mentors.
Establish Regular Contests
The once-a-month cold calling challenge is a great example.
You can establish those regular rituals where your sales development reps get to compete not only for the status of a cold calling champion/genius but also for a tempting prize. The choice of good prizes is boundless, but you should choose something that will surely encourage your team to try their best to win.
Usually, the results of these cold-calling contests are astonishing. Salespeople can make 2x more calls and meetings booked in a day than usual!
Another good idea is a pitch contest, where sales reps get to practice their pitch, and the person who delivers the best presentation gets rewarded.
Get creative, and you'll see that your team members will get creative, too.
The main goal for this whole competitive team spirit is to promote better results but also to make sure your salespeople improve their skills.
This means that every time you come up with a new contest idea, you should stress the importance of self-coaching, self-improvement, and development.
Offer your team members to join more webinars, read sales books, participate in sales events and take self-development courses. This will add to your team’s professionalism and productivity levels.
And last but not least, you should never focus the contest on the best performers in your team.
The whole notion of competition involves people who have equal skills and compete to prove that they’ve honed them to perfection.
Your top performer won’t have to try too hard if the rest of your team usually leg behind.
That’s why, to ensure that the actual competition is even possible, help and guide salespeople with lower performance scores. Everybody should have an equal chance to win.
Organize team-building events
To take the pressure off your sales reps and ensure friendly and long-lasting warm relationships in your team, organize regular team-building events. It can be something easy like a BBQ party, sporty like indoor climbing, fun like a karaoke night out, or whatever you feel will make your sales team happy.
Even if you have some budget constraints, it shouldn't stop you from organizing small but productive team building activities. The positive effects of these evens won't disappoint.
Tips To Avoid Competitive Pressure
If you're an SDR or an AE and you feel that competition is draining your energy and that you're constantly underachieving, these tips are for you.
If you're a sales leader, make sure to communicate these four crucial tips to all team members:
1. Always acknowledge your current progress and the ways you have already improved as a professional.
2. Reflect on the ways that will help you tackle your insecurities. Communicate them to your leadership and colleagues if needed.
3. Focus on your main strengths and trust your skills.
4. Remember that being the best is just as rewarding as trying your best. And if you truly try your best, you can never lose.
These four simple tips can take you a long way.
Healthy Competition Promotes Growth
Indeed, the balance between healthy competition and complete mayhem can sometimes be fragile. As a sales leader, you must ensure your team members are not trying to undermine each other just to win the prize. One thing should always be clear – competitions are there for your team to learn and hone their skills.