The sales contest timing is more important than the sales contest prize alone. But many sales managers doesn’t set proper sales contest timeframe.
So many managers throw prizes – big and small – at their sales reps with little or no results. They seem to think sales contests are “the thing to do.” In fact, sales contest success is a direct function of planning and structure, putting a lot of thought into the size of the prize, and enough effort into determining the sales contest timeframe.
It does not take much to figure out that sales reps will work longer and harder when there is a little something extra in addition to their payroll envelopes each week. But, studies show that the effect is short-lived and diminishes with repetition. Some 40-50% of inside sales reps fail to meet their marks. And, allowing for the fact that the rainmakers usually do, the loss is even larger.
Specific metrics over short period!
Rather than throw good money after bad, day in and day out, week in and week out, sales management should design a sales contest timeframe to accomplish specific metrics over short – but not daily – periods of time. The business simply benefits more (1) from competing for monthly and quarterly targets and (2) aligning sales rep thinking with company goals.
Sales management in some industry sectors swear by campaigns with a yearlong sales contest timeframe – some with months of pre-contest buildup – that leads to trips to the annual corporate convention. (They keep Hawaii and Orlando in business.) And, you are not going to change their traditions.
But, more businesses are tapping into the efficacy of short-term competitions when determining the sales contest timeframe. They see the value in contests that run 30 to 90 days and no more. The contest structure should set a specific timeframe that parallels the contest and department objectives. For example:
- The sales contest lenght cannot be too short. Your sales reps need enough time to achieve the established contest goals.
- Necessary daily communication does not need money with it. The regular communication between sales management and sales reps reinforces momentum maintenance.
- The longer the sales contest, the longer you must commit resources, energy, and related expenses.
- Avoid letting the contest coincide with other employee events or obligations. But, do make the timeframe as specific to the day, hour, and minute, for instance, March 1 at 8:00 a.m. to March 31 at 11:59 p.m.
By paralleling the sales contest with business sales cycles, periodic performance appraisals, and/or corporate monthly/quarterly/yearly performance goals, you serve parallel corporate interests.
Too many sales leaders forget they are part of a larger picture. Competitive as they are, they lose their connection to the corporate strategy. For example, a VP of Sales broke corporate records on new orders with a high-pressure sales contest. Unfortunately, the company’s operations were not prepared to produce and deliver.
- Setting daily goals consumes management resources and energy. Returns diminish, performance remains static because top salespeople continue to maintain a pace, the middle performers work to survive, and new employees are left behind.
- Monthly or quarterly goals put focus on long-term goals that coincide with corporate benchmark numbers and forecasts.
- Framing monthly competitions reduce individual personality contests, bad feelings, and backstabbing. It encourages team sharing and support. It allows sales management to work on futures and talent development instead of mentoring fair play issues.
- Structuring rep compensation and development plans for growth rather than daily rewards supports employee retention, job satisfaction, and better performance.
- Aligning sales rainmaker futures and advancement to departmental goals turned rainmakers into coaches and mentors. This freed sales management to work larger strategies.
Sales contest timeframe usefull sources:
- Run a Successful Sales Contest by Chad Hyams
- Sales Process/Best Practices CSO Insights
- Effective Sales Contests for Employees by Kristy Lopez
- Sales Motivation: Why Daily Bonuses, Spiffs, and Contests Don’t Work by Mike Brooks
- Secrets for Successful Sales Contests Realtormag
- Sales Contestology- 7 Step Guide to Sales Contests by Mark Repkin
- Six Steps to Designing a Sales Contest by Peter F. Bowden
Transition from daily rewards or annual projects is not easy. It requires lengthy strategic planning and commitment across all business silos. Rollout and communication must focus on specifics, transparency, and perceived value in the competition. But, it must also create a felt connection with corporate performance targets. Connecting individual performance with business outcomes builds trust in larger interests and allows self-interest a larger playing field.
The connection builds effectively in 30 to 90 days. Every manager should plan ideal sales contest timeframe.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net