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Walk into any office, and you’ll find them running some sort of sales contest to motivate their sales team to increase productivity. You probably won’t find any two sales contests exactly the same, either.

No problem. Regardless of how they work, the point is, they work. Sales contests are always fun, rewarding, a good change of pace from the everyday routine, and they always make money, right?

Wrong! Before you jump in with your checkbook wide open, understand this: Not all sales contests motivate, and not all are profitable. In fact, if not designed properly, contests can do more harm than good.

The top 5 reasons why your sales contest fails

Here are the top 5 reasons why your sales contest is failing.

1. No real-time visibility

Make it visual and real-time, everyone needs to know how they’re performing against their peers.

To make contests work, your sales team needs to be aware of it and be able to track it in, real-time and this is what it looks like over the tenure of the contest.

  • Create the competition and broadcast it on Slack, email, WhatsApp.
  • Sales executives have to check their individual scores on WhatsApp groups or Slack channels.
  • The program admin spends 2-3 hours every day updating this data.
  • Everyone slacks because they’re spending too much energy simply searching for information.
  • The program admin gets tired of updating because the executives aren’t as engaged and replace the daily updates with weekly updates.
  • Executives occasionally look at the data and drop their efforts since they lag far behind.

The competition fails. The sales reps don’t see a point in participating in these contests, program admins think it is just one more task and sales leaders wonder why their contests aren’t working.

Well, it is because it is not automated which makes it slow, tedious, and manual.

With Xoxoday Compass, the sales reps, managers, admins, HR teams, the finance team, and the management have real-time access to incentive statements. Having this data readily available motivates sales reps to see what they’ve earned and how they can earn more.

2. Not built for everyone

Most organizations build sales contests for a specific set of performers and never for the entire team. Organizations often run programs for tail-end performers or sales superstars with very low or immensely high targets.

There are always 2-3 reps that win every sales competition, there’s always that hunter that books more meetings than anyone else, there’s that enterprise rep that closes the largest deals and there’s always that SDR that calls more than anyone in the team.

While running sales contests for specific sets of participants motivates them to perform better, it is a recipe for disaster if the same rules and parameters are blanketed to all sales reps.

The best way of running a successful sales contest is by motivating different behaviors, built for all reps that they can choose from and the one that makes them feel “I just might win this one”.

With Xoxoday Compass, you can publish sales programs with read-to-use game templates like milestones, targets, cascading, etc, in under 10 minutes.

3. Built to reward the ultimate win

Rewarding for the ultimate win is a major pet peeve that is actually counterproductive. Nothing is more demotivating than looking at your sales leaderboard and seeing that you are 189th.

While being at or near the bottom of the leaderboard can be a great motivator in smaller contests, coming back from so far down the list is too much to handle for most reps.

To avoid this, building milestone-based sales contests is the trick. Milestone-based programs give you the liberty to reward your reps periodically and motivate them to do more. It gives them the motivation to at least get into the top ten, even if winning the entire thing might not be an option.

With Xoxoday Compass, you can decide the milestones and decide rewards that typically boost performance with a simple formula that is known to work for ages, “A little more”.

4. Irrelevant metrics and unachievable timeframe

Nothing, absolutely nothing in sales contests demotivates reps as much as setting goals that are not SMART.

If you want to create contests that drive immediate impact AND long-term ROI, it is time we start taking a close look at the top metrics like early-stage KPIs like calls, e-mails, LI activity, discovery, and first-time meetings, new opportunities, follow-up meetings and late-stage metrics like pipeline movement, proposals/ offers, closed-won deals and have a look at the time-frame within which the goals can be achieved.

With Xoxoday Compass, you can build sales contests to drive different behaviors over different time frames to boost performance.

5. Boring and irrelevant rewards

Giving out random trophies and irrelevant brand vouchers at the end of a contest makes it boring and insignificant. The cost of procuring the brand vouchers is extremely high.

And it hardly ever reaches the right person. Apart from that, since brand vouchers are relevant for every rep, the redemption percentage drops which results in close to zero engagement and hence, motivation.

All of this is after you have spent money with a little discount on procuring these vouchers. Sales reps deserve meaningful rewards for their efforts.

Well, who doesn’t love the freedom to pick their own present? With Xoxoday Compass, surprise and delight your sales with custom gifts that make them go wow from a plethora of options.

With Xoxoday Compass, access to easy-to-curate, simple-to-redeem, the widest choice of global brands that offer frequent opportunities for instant gratification.

Sales incentive contests have been and will continue to be, effective ongoing management tools for organizations. But with Xoxoday Compass, you won’t have to worry about them at all.

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Guest Contributor