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DEAL. ENDS. MIDNIGHT.
These three magic words have pretty much revolutionized Sales. But did you know they can also transform your ‘Salesforce’? That’s right. You see, without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value. Goals lose their clarity. And KRA’s definitely lose their fizz. So why not add ‘da time bomb’ to your sales ecosystem?
B2S: The neat little trick that can unlock your sales' superpowers
Your Sales rockstars are humans, just like your customers. It’s fair to assume that, allowing reasonable space for customization, most humans have comparable priorities in life, are driven by analogous motivational triggers, and dream the same dreams (If this weren’t true, the concept of demographic strategy wouldn’t exist). So if we Ding only when the clock Dongs, so to speak, how about applying the thumb rules of B2C and B2B to the Sales Department?
You can call it B2S (Business to Sales Stars) if that lends a special ‘ring’ to the idea. Either way, this one little tweak carries the potential to tap into the ocean of untapped power in your Sales Army. And transform your A- Team into your A+ Team.
Here’s a roadmap to achieve that - one you should feel free to tailor at your end.
How to create urgency in the sales team?
Here are some unique ways to create urgency in the sales team.
1. Hack into their secret wishlist
You have to give your Sales teams sufficient reason to stop thinking and start acting. In other words, double-down on incentive design. Make sure the carrot matches the Wishlist. In other words, ensure that the reward is ‘eminently desirable’. And that’s not all. You will also have to make sure it maps to the personality. After all, you don’t want to gift an all-expenses-paid luxury Mediterranean cruise to someone who has sea-sickness, do you? So it will help if you do some research first, decode the personality behind the persona, and align the reward with the recipient.
One more thing. The reward that is delayed is a reward that has lost its magic. It also undoes all the good work by manufacturing bad vibes. So make sure you reward your Sales folks instantly, carrying forward the painstakingly nurtured ‘winning tempo’ to the next Sales cycle.
2. Don't miss out on FOMO (fear of missing out)
Just like ‘Deal ends midnight’ or ‘Stocks running out,’ evergreen B2B & B2C gambits work equally well in B2S. Nothing proves this more than FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). So just like your projects, make sure your incentives come with deadlines. Reduce the gratification level a little with every subsequent day (delay), introducing a sense of scarcity and making the message clear: Knock the target or Miss Out the honey.
3. Keep nudging, keep poking
If you go by Joseph Ferrari (professor of psychology and Vincent DePaul Distinguished Professor at DePaul University in Chicago), a good 20% of men and women in the US are chronic procrastinators. Tech innovations - such as the Snooze Button - has only deepened this Neanderthal (read ‘deeply coded into our genes’) hangover. What does that mean for Sales leaders and Incentive Designers? Simple: Be communicating. Be it notifications, reminders, or alerts, everyone in Sales must remember that their targets - and the pots of gold that come with them - carry a ‘Best Before’ date. Add it to your mail signature.
Drop a hint casually in zoom conversations and WhatsApp forwards. Share it liberally on your intranets, internal newsletters, and canteen wall posters—Gamify workflows around the tone of the minute hand’s tic-tac, tic-toc. Engrave the urgency on quirky coffee mug messages, fun designed T-shirt with one-liners, and epic screensaver quotes. Get creative in your communication with colorful subject lines and storified body-copies, even as you play up the big numbers (inventive amount VS day/hours/minutes remaining) at every touch-point.
4. Stoke the competitive spirit
Few things in life bring out our best, quite like the prospect of being labeled ‘Second Best.’ It’s a sign of a healthy competitive spirit that you must cultivate and align in your workflows. Gamify Sales with fun activities (and maintain a leaderboard that provides regular updates of progress and relative positions) to tickle the ego, make them punch above their weight, and aim bigger. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well “If I don’t, they will” work as a procrastination killer.
5. Link rewards with growth
This is a subset of the first point (secret Wishlist) but is powerful enough to deserve its very own paragraph. We generally tend to avoid linking rewards with ‘heavier issues’ like career progression and workforce planning. While that has its merits (a career curve needs to be less ‘transactional’ and factor in several other variables, after all), there’s no harm in a little overlap. So go ahead and try to link the reward with a higher compensation package, a more interesting Job Description, or learning and developmental opportunities. When clubbed with FOMO creatively, this can make your teams hit the tarmac like few else.
6. Yes, last minute panic is a strategy
According to a survey conducted by hotwire.com amongst 1000 nationally representative U.S. adults between 28th and 31st of May 2019, 84% of millennials booked a Last-Minute Trip. Truth be told, that’s how a chunk of ‘sales’ happens in a typical organization as well. We plan and procrastinate in the first half of the month. The next 10 days are spent reaching out, calling, and retargeting. It’s only the final 5 days that see the real dust, action, and glory. Instead of fighting the habit - which is a story for another day, perhaps - try and reboot it to your benefit.
Make the ‘Finish’ the best part of the journey and set the stage for a grand finale with tested ‘Last-Minute’ devices such as ‘Only 50 Luxury Vouchers Left’ or ‘Just 12 Hours To Go!’ in your CTAs (Calls-to-action).
7. Add a bonus incentive
Never fails. While butter is good, it is in our nature to be more interested in that ‘extra layer of jam.’ In fact, it is what often turns us ‘extra’-ordinary. Unless you are dealing with Monks who have sold their Ferraris, more is always more. Repurpose this motivational hack to put the spring back in the steps of your Sales Ninjas.
What are you waiting for?
It's time to create the need for sales
There are many reasons why we tend to put things off, and it helps to recognize these urgency-killers. To start with, there’s the illogical - or, if you will, ‘conditioned’ - the perception of time. This means that we tend to interpret the calendar not as a linear sequence of 30 days and 12 months but in terms of deadlines, phases, and quarters - segmentations guided by our personal and professional lives.
This can make us follow a pre-set pattern in terms of how much to achieve in a certain period of time, keeping us from scaling up and fueling under-performance. To be fair to the other side, this also implies that what may appear as ‘delayed action’ to the naked eye could well be standard procedure that’s right on schedule.
More interestingly, procrastination can also be a subconscious act of validation about one’s abilities. In that avatar, it can function as an ego booster and performance amplifier and bring on a well-deserved swag (a ‘high’ is never a bad thing). Anna Abramowski, a British psychologist who studied the construct of procrastination at Cambridge University, thinks that those of us who “actively procrastinate display a certain level of self-reliance, autonomy, and self-confidence because they are aware of the risk of subjecting themselves to last-minute pressures and still consciously decide to. That can be a good thing because it stimulates creativity and enables them to engage in multiple tasks at the same time.”
Defensive instincts of self-preservation against exploitation come into play too. Completing tasks too soon, for instance, can turn the spotlight on an above-average performer, attracting extra workloads and unsolicited responsibilities. The perfect storm of procrastination happens when an unpleasant task meets low self-discipline and an impulsive mood.