Is internal competition an email sales driver?

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Setting a goal to meet, getting motivated to achieve it, and striving as hard as possible to overcome the challenges along the way are some of the keys to success in different areas of life, work among them. When it comes to leading a team of workers, a manager not only has to follow this process at an individual level, but he is also in charge of conveying to others the objectives that must be achieved and the motivation necessary to make an effort.

In this regard, if you are at the helm of a sales team, you may wonder whether it is better to promote internal competitiveness on the team to motivate its members to try new sales tactics, or whether, on the contrary, competitiveness can be negative and end up generating discomfort and distrust.

There is no doubt that when you want to win a race, seeing the finish line and knowing that behind you there are other athletes running towards it too can spur your to pick up the pace. Similarly, in a sales department, promoting competition can encourage employees to achieve better results.

However, the strategy to promote rivalry must be well defined, to avoid creating an awkward work environment. Don’t make workers try to improve at the cost of harming others. Rather, encourage them to follow their peers’ example.

Rivalry is all right, as long as it is healthy

Healthy competition can yield good results, both individually and for teams as whole units. But, how can you promote it? These are some guidelines.

  • Be clear about the metrics you want to study.  Logically, in a football game, for example, the most important thing is to know the other team. But that’s not all. Measuring ball possession and shots on goal is also important. Similarly, in a sales department there are a few metrics that should be considered beyond total sales: sales by product or service, by the channel one has used to achieved the lead, sales to recurring customers, or to new customers, etc.

Obviously, comparing the results of each team member (individual sales, number of calls or number of customers contacted that resulted in sales) can also be of great help. 

  • Set the competition’s objectives. Logically, it is useless to measure the team without communicating the objectives that are to be achieved. However, it is not enough to set a quarterly sales target, or one for a specific campaign. You also have to teach the team how they can achieve that goal. For example, by following these guidelines you can teach them to write better emails.

It is also important that you explain not only what they need to do, but also why. This is the only way to ensure that competitiveness is beneficial for all the team members and does not negatively affect their motivation, or damage their self-esteem. Explaining to them in detail how meeting those goals will benefit them individually, and how it will also help to achieve the department and company’s mission, will strengthen their commitment.

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  • Make the winners public (and reward them).  Logically, as in any contest, it is important to recognise the winners and reward them adequately. Set aside any inadequate and obsolete strategies that involve rebuking instead of rewarding: a good sales manager does not publicly humiliate the loser, but rather encourages everyone to excel.

The best managers should not focus on negative results, but rather praise positive ones.  Public recognition, economic rewards and more original prizes (a gift, an office party) are just some of the ways to acknowledge those workers who have posted the best results or showed the most commitment to a project, without neglecting to recognise other members of the team for their merits too.

In the day to day, the most common thing is to have a board, physical and virtual, featuring data charting each team member’s daily, monthly or quarterly progress, to motivate them to move up in the rankings.

Doing so benefits not only the one who gets the best results, but everyone else too: seeing that the rest can achieve sales goals will make them realise that it is possible to do so, and motivate them to identify how they can improve. Every month the counter returns to zero, so everyone has the chance to move up next time.

  • Motivate and strengthen ties. Just as coaches analyse results after a game, sales managers have to evaluate their teams’ performances, both individually and globally. But when he addresses the team face to face, he should never pit employees against each other, but rather encourage reflection. For example, he can have the best salespeople share useful tips for everyone, and encourage an exchange of opinions on areas for improvement.  

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Digital tools, a tool to promote competition

Logically, to establish the parameters of the competition you must know that you will be able to measure all those results that enhanced competitiveness may increase. On the Web you can find a multitude of tools that help your company measure the performance of its sales team.

Stats showing a team’s email usage habits, at the individual and global level, are one of the metrics that help to improve performance in the healthy competitive environment that you have created.

Want to see how we help managers to get inbox stats and manage email sales teams? Try Gmailmeter.com.

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