I’m going to assume we would all agree that a healthy pipeline is the best way to achieve healthy sales. After all, an inability to prospect on a regular basis is the leading cause for a lumpy revenue profile.
It’s with this conviction in mind (and the fact that FY19 is looming dangerously close) that I wanted to design a sales competition that would help my team fill the pipeline. More than that, I wanted better-quality leads.
As best practice dictates, I always like to overcompensate on my quota. I like to have at least three times coverage of my set year-end goal running through my pipeline.
To help me cope with this ambitious target, I have enlisted the assistance of my entire team to help me populate the pipe with good quality leads. By that, I mean leads that stand a darn good chance of closing. Strength is found in numbers!
Competition Time: 2 Weeks to a Better Pipeline
While many sales contests are designed with the sole purpose of closing revenue, I find that the most productive competitions are those that reward for smaller KPIs. They also usually garner the most impressive results. Especially for those menial everyday tasks reps find so niggly.
Concentrating the team’s efforts behind these types of activities brings a prominent spike to productivity, encourages best practices and injects a good dose of fun into the mix.
Before we get started, I wanted to clarify something. As opposed to traditional sales contests which typically pit one rep against the other, this competition is designed with the aim to bring the team closer together. Building a stronger pipeline is something that will benefit the business as a whole. The entire team should feel like they’re pulling in the same direction.
Saying that, there’s also a little bit of competitive banter attached to this. We recommend peppering this competition with a daily round up at the end of the day. Use this time to call out the top performing rep or winning group in brief but memorable prize ceremonies.
These daily ‘prize ceremonies’ are the key to making this work well. We’re not looking for a grand winner at the end of the two weeks. We’re looking for somebody who’s performed outstandingly well on that particular day.
Having small but frequent rewards like this has the following three benefits:
1. It guarantees zero game fatigue:
The novelty of the competition gets reset every single day, keeping everybody focused and on their toes.
2. It gives everyone a fair chance:
There’s nothing more disheartening than being bottom of the pile. Long competitions always tend to leave some players lagging far behind. These players find it almost impossible to reconnect with the target. A competition like this, which is varied and only lasts for one day, will always play to somebody’s strengths at some point. Every morning will bring a brand-new chance of winning.
3. It promotes best practices:
By getting reps to repeat a certain behaviour for a whole day, you’re pinpointing best practices and giving everyone the chance for a much-needed skill refresh. As an added bonus, the positive outcomes that will result from said activities will likely get your reps to gladly adopt them in the future.
Ready, Set, CONTEST
So, let’s get to it!
Below is a list of the activities your team should be pushing day-by-day. It is up to you to set the pace (meaning, the numerical target that is plausible for your business) and the duration. We’ve set it to two weeks, but you can choose to do it only for one week or prolong it for the entire month.
Do make sure you adapt these to your particular team and organisation. The below are just a guideline to help you get inspired. It’s up to you to add your particular corporate flavour!
Day 1. Territory Scouting:
Starting nice and easy, take Day 1 to set some targets for the rest of the competition. Get each rep to choose 10 new organisations they would love to go after. The goal? Simple, to research the territory and discover relevant information about these accounts.
Get everyone to commit to achieving 10 by the end of the day. The winner of this task will be the person with the strongest information about their new target accounts.
Offer bonus points if, by the end of the day, they have either booked a meeting with their committed account or, better still, closed a deal with them!
Day 2. Cold Calling:
If Day 1 is a reflective, head down type of contest, Day 2 is loud and exhilarating. Host a traditional cold calling day, awarding the winning title to the person who manages to make the most calls in one day.
Side step any possible attempts at gaming the system by making one of the requisites that the call must connect and last for at least 2 minutes.
Today, don’t concentrate on quality. Simply measure success based on quantity. We will worry about conversation value at a later day. The goal of today is just to get everyone on the phone.
Day 3. Data Finesse:
After Day 2’s high intensity, treat the team to an admin day where they are tasked with reviewing and updating a list of CRM entries.
You give them the list of names to go after. They update contact details, dead out any stale accounts, review deal stages, etc. Award the day’s winning title to the person who reaches the bottom of their list quickest.
We often brighten up this task by playing music and offering a team-building lunch. It’ll make the day go faster and the result will be a far stronger data set to work from!
Day 4. Hit that Inbox:
Time to bash out some emails. Get your reps to reach out to their prospects via email. Whether they use their standard email, BASHO template or send via LinkedIn Inmail, allow them the freedom to improvise on the subject line or by modifying the usual content a little.
The winner will be the person who gets the most replies.
This game promotes autonomy and creative thinking as your reps will have to work out new ways to write valuable propositions to get a speedy response.
It may also provide you with a new set of messaging that you may not have tried before!
Quick Read: How to Write an Effective Sales Email
Day 5. Meaningful Conversations:
Set a target of ‘meaningful’ sales calls for the day. For these calls to count towards their target, they must be to a real person (i.e. not an answering machine), last for longer than 10 minutes and be with a decision maker of a target account.
The person with the most call connections of this nature wins that day.
Day 6. Book Demo:
Hopefully aided by the level of activity of previous days, this one should be a little easier. Push your reps to book as many online demos as they can. It’s OK for these to be scheduled for a time outside the competition timeframe.
Mix it up a little by dividing the group into two (or more) teams. Group work like this will give them a real high and encourage team building.
Day 7. Cross & Up-Sell:
Some of our juicier opportunities hide within our existing customers. Take the day to call on your favourite clients and listen to their feedback and needs.
Get your reps to start the conversation around the customer’s future business goals and how they might help. Extend the discussion to see if the possibility exists to work with the wider organisation. See what connections your reps can create or rekindle and ask them to make a note of each discussion within the account records.
As it’s highly unlikely that any meaningful resolution will come in just one day, gauge the rate of the overall success by the feedback you get from each rep. Hold an hour discussion at the end of the exercise where you ask each individual to talk over their most interesting conversation of the day.
Treat the whole team to snacks and beers as a universal pat on the back for a job well done.
At the very worst, Day 7 will give you very interesting insight into the state of affairs!
Day 8. Pre-pipe Load Up:
Every sales agent worth their salt should be able to generate some form of business for themselves. This one is a challenging task but one that will prove very rewarding for the whole team. It will, firstly, reinforce the pipeline and secondly, remind your reps of their accountability to generate leads.
The method they use to gain new names is up to them. You will be evaluating them on the quantity and quality (no firstname.lastname@example.org allowed!) of the new names added.
Day 9. Find a Buddy:
Another fine day to get your team into groups and working together. Ask each team to come up with a list of possible candidates that would be open to blog about your company, introduce you to new contacts or talk you up in meetings, session or networking events.
Nothing sells better than word of mouth…
Give today’s crown to the team with the most interesting contact achieved!
Day 10. Book Meetings:
Do you feel you could stretch your team a little further? Host a grand finale to your 2 weeks of sales productivity by pushing your team to book some good old face-to-face time with your prospects.
The more meetings with relevant decision makers, the better!
End Your Sales Competition on a High
Congratulations, you’ve survived two whole weeks of high-intensity, full-focussed team work. Your team should be feeling pretty pumped for the new quarter (as they’ve helped build it so closely) and your pipeline should be looking very fresh.
Make sure you end this exercise on a high by hosting a thank-you lunch in which you share the impact your reps’ hard work has had on the pipeline. Show them graphs with activity spikes, list out big names on your target list and sum up the projected revenue attained after this process.
Lastly, feel free to bring this bad boy out any time you’re feeling productivity levels start to nose-dive or you have the pipeline blues!