Benefits of Team Competition for Improving Sales Performance

Teamwork and collaboration are vital aspects of a functioning workplace. Having a clear set of business goals to work towards is the function of any good team. As work becomes more complex and specialized, greater collaboration is required to succeed. However, while teamwork is essential, healthy team competition is something that management should harness to make the most from their resources. 

While some team members will respond best to a culture that promotes collective goals, other members thrive in more individualistic spaces. Both approaches can be powerful and productive when used correctly. 

Creating a culture that allows teams to compete is a great way to improve morale and improve the bottom line.

What are the Benefits of Team Competitions?

There is a timeless adage that goes, “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”

Another way that you can look at it is that competition makes people run harder and faster. Collaboration makes us work better for more comprehensive and broader goals.

As people, we’re competitive by nature.

People are competitive by nature. Over recent years, particularly in teaching and academic circles, there has been a tendency to cast competition in a negative light. However, people are competitive by nature. As children, we compete for our parent’s attention. At school, we learn to compete and contest one another in games and events for fun. And once we become adults, we join and participate in the job market and compete with each other for jobs, pay raises, and promotions. 

Sales, in particular, has a reputation for its dog-eat-dog, target-oriented environment. While some might look at that world and suggest that managers are pitting colleagues against each other, the reality is more complex. 

Competition encourages employees to improve their skills and to become more creative. If they want to win, they need to bring their A-game. Additionally, to motivate employees to overcome challenges, there needs to be a reward system in place. One of the most proven and time-honored methods is a leaderboard that shows staff performance transparently.

While the sales leaderboard has a reputation of being about solo goals, more innovative companies realize that they can leverage competition by placing employees into teams to reap the benefit of competition and collaboration.

Organizations that create healthy competition can get excellent results from individuals. They can, however, leverage the same competition by putting individuals into teams to reap the business benefits of both competition and collaboration.

For success in modern business, organizations must aggressively chase growth goals and face pressure to hit quarterly reporting targets.

So, the big questions are if the best performance comes from:

  1. a) promoting competition between sales reps
  2. b) encouraging competition between staff.

Let’s jump in and find out.

Why Should Teams Compete?

Competition is a tried and trusted method for how organizations have driven their staff — particularly their sales staff. 

Some of the most persuasive benefits have included the following:

Motivation

Leaderboards help create a culture that ranks employees by their activities and progress towards a target. The will to win leads employees to try to outdo one another, specifically if there is a reward for victory in the competition. 

When colleagues find themselves tied or close in score, this can drive a sense of urgency. People are driven by reward and a sense of urgency. To help employees strive to hit their very best, competitions can be done weekly, monthly, or yearly.

Promote Innovation

Competition encourages staff to look to improve their skills and ideas. To enhance their output, they need to look for help in new ways.

1) Examine existing processes and improve it

2) Defines new approaches to speed up sales pipeline

3) Use technology to automate emails or make more phone calls, so the sales pipeline moves with minimal friction

Leaders can employ social media to maintain informal communication links and provide product updates to everyone who follows the person or the organization.

Remove Complacency

Competition removes people from their comfort zone. Trying to be the best requires extra tenacity and effort. The top sales reps have a big enough ego to survive the slings and arrows of client interaction. They can handle rejection and move on quickly to the next prospect or activity. This resilience is a rare quality.

One of the downsides to competition is that employees don’t mentor underperforming colleagues. They aren’t incentivized to share the secrets of their success if a rival can come along and beat them to the punch. Often, higher industry goals can arrive at the cost of broader organizational objectives.

An additional downside of this is that if a successful employee leaves the team, unshared knowledge can go with them. 

Why Should Teams Collaborate?

It’s simple. Collaboration means staff work with each other instead of against each other. This mindset fosters the kind of environment that leverages best practices to increase a business’s effectiveness and efficiency.

In collaborative environments, each staff member feels safe to share their best practices and tips to help the organization achieve its goals.

When each employee feels like an essential part of the group, managers can feel assured they can get the most from their resources.

Learn From One Another

Collaboration offers an opportunity to learn from each other’s successes and failures. Additionally, it can help enable a team learning organizational approach. 

This process is how companies prepare strategies and scenarios for unanticipated changes in their ecosystem. It also allows the business to concentrate on a mixture of short and long-term goals by assigning tasks to those best to deliver against these targets.

Break Down Barriers 

Collaboration within a single department is essential; however, the most significant rise in results comes from expanding a collaborative approach across all departments in an organization.

Highly successful companies may include partners and suppliers in this collaboration to ensure all supply chain links are operating optimally. This can maximize feedback loops as everyone in the chain contributes information. This information can take the form of information about customers and products. Altogether, this data leads to a better knowledge base for the company.

A culture of team collaboration eliminates silos of data, information, and communication, allowing everyone to express their opinions and expertise to deliver the company goals better.

Shared Goals 

Having a defined set of goals on team performance encourages a greater level of staff engagement. It motivates all employees to share objections rather than being focused on individualistic goals.

However, it is still crucial to recognize the contribution of the individual, especially in team environments. Similarly, any milestones that have been achieved should also be lauded.

Can’t We Have The Best of Both Competition and Collaboration?

As a recent taco ad suggested, we don’t necessarily have to choose one approach over another. To get the best from each team, we should encourage both collaboration and competitions. 

Reps can collaborate with their in-house peers to compete against other companies. Engaged staff members help their company outperform the competition by up to 202%.

One of the key things to concentrate on is that collaboration isn’t about ‘leveling the playing field.’ It’s far more about helping each person perform to their best level and achieve success for themselves and the organization.

Here are a few exciting things to consider about competition.

  1. Competition doesn’t need to take place on an individual level. It can play out in a group or team dynamic. Additionally, there can be multiple winners.
  2. Competition can be about far more than just revenue. To get the best results, focus the team on the metrics or KPIs that lead to sales or closes. This could be sent emails or deals closed. It could even take the form of values advancing through the sales pipeline in the form of contacts, meetings, or more.
  3. Sales rewards don’t need to be monetary. Competition winners could receive experiences like days out, a half-day off work, team dinners, or perhaps a certificate of achievement that they could display at their desks.

Thoughts on Competition from a Harvard Business Professor

Amy Edmondson, a Novartis Professor and contributor to the Harvard Business Review, has compelling ideas about creating environments that motivate employees. 

In a regularly cited blog post from some years ago, she suggests that while a competitive mindset is a key to personal success, it can lead to a lack of sharing information if left unchecked. 

Edmondson suggests creating a teaming mindset, where each employee can look outward rather than inwards, as key to good team competition.

How To Get Team Members on Board

Edmondson’s advice largely falls on team leaders and managers to take the steps that produce a culture that gets rid of unhealthy competition. As mentioned above, the competition itself is not a problem; however, it is when it gets in the way of broader company goals.

Two ideas she suggests are first to place a higher value on the team rather than individual success. This shift could take the form of team incentives that dwarf personal rewards.

Secondly, she encourages leaders to frame the particular work challenge — be it a project, sales, or a related initiative — as something that would benefit from diverse skills and perspectives.

The idea is to motivate a team with fun competition, which can lead to a creative and collaborative mindset. Team members can still strive to be the best, but their competitive spirit is focused on team competition and not individualism. 

How To Get Team Members on Board

Edmondson’s advice largely falls on team leaders and managers to take the steps that produce a culture that gets rid of unhealthy competition. As mentioned above, the competition itself is not a problem; however, it is when it gets in the way of broader company goals.

Two ideas she suggests are first to place a higher value on the team rather than individual success. This could take the form of team incentives that dwarf personal rewards.

Secondly, she encourages leaders to frame the particular work challenge — be it a project, sales, or a related initiative — as something that would benefit from diverse skills and perspectives.

The idea is to motivate a team with fun competition, which can lead to a creative and collaborative mindset. Team members can still strive to be the best, but their competitive spirit is focused on team competition and not individualism. 

Conclusion

Despite what some people suggest, there is nothing wrong with competition. However, it needs to be harnessed correctly to get the most from employees’ ability. Healthy competition can lead to more excellent employee morale, more fun in the office, and a hunger to improve skills and ideas.

However, as projects become more complex and specialist, team collaboration increases in importance. This leads managers to rethink how they can make the most from their company resources and team ability. Team competition can provide a way to use the power of employees’ personal motivation for success across the organization.

Technologies Role In Harnessing Competition and Team Work

Spinify solutions empower today’s workforce by connecting employees across offices or keeping them up to date when they are out of the office.

Motivational enablement tools such as leaderboards provide the foundation for competition and team collaboration in the workplace. 

They use real-time data from a company’s data app and re-visualize it as the ranking and individual information on a TV or a smartphone app. 

Leaderboards can focus on individuals or teams so that a company can choose the best approach for the problems they face right now. They also introduce the key aspects of gamification with points, badges, and levels so that staff achievement is on display for all to see with these simple adornments.

Companies achieve better results with leaderboards that encourage a variety of motivational approaches, competition, or collaboration. You choose what it will be today!

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1609, 2021

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About the Author:

Serial entrepreneur who loves a deep dive into technology and applying it to solve business problems. Matt recognized that gamification of business activity processes would lead to greater staff engagement, increase productivity and motivate the team to do more, so that businesses sell more and grow more.