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Your top performers excel, while your poor performers struggle. But what about the untapped potential of the middle 80%? This goldmine of talent is waiting to be unlocked. Sales contests are the key.

ActionCo research reveals that 81.3% of sales challenges increase revenue. Even Forbes has thrown its weight behind the idea. Yet competition can bring out the best and worst in people. It’s no wonder many sales directors have branded the word taboo. The best leaders, however, have channeled it into positive results that increase revenue and team morale. What’s the difference?

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Sales contests are not global growth plans. They are a means to achieving short-term behavioral change, and the objectives you establish should reflect that. When you consider your desired deliverables, don’t mistake SMART goals for wise goals; set clear, difficult targets with equally clear deadlines.

What seems “unrealistic” or “unattainable” to your sales force may be possible with the right motivation. Likewise, don’t let your teams fall into the trap of thinking they must achieve 100% of their goals. Sales challenges are designed to inspire and reward excellence above and beyond the norm. Universal achievement would indicate the goals were not ambitious enough. Google’s own OKR (Objectives and Key Results) goal-setting program dictates that people should only hit 60 – 70% of their targets.

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