By Ken Thoreson, president, Acumen Management Group LTD
In my two books on sales management — Leading High Performance Sales Teams and Creating Sales Compensation Plans for High Performance — I share ideas for sales contests/games as well as how to properly motivate salespeople. In many cases, I have seen great ideas poorly executed. It is critical you think through what your objectives are and what you want the results to be and then CLEARLY write down the objectives, rules, and incentives. The first rule: Remember cash is not what you want to use during sales games — that is what your commission plan is designed to achieve. The second rule is that creating fun in your sales culture is the main outcome. Surely you may wish to add “net new clients” or sell certain products/services and increase sales, but it is sales leadership’s objective to make the sales contest a fun experience.
Different types of contests will help you achieve different goals. Some should be held annually to address sales objectives, company business strategies, and potential seasonal fluctuations. Others can be scheduled as needed to help launch new products or services, promote new releases or upgrades, or tie into your customers’ larger campaigns. Still others can consist of short-term incentive games designed to motivate sales personnel to accomplish specific objectives by a specific deadline.