There’s nothing like a little competition to motivate a sales teams — or anyone, for that matter.
One of my role models, Teach for All co-founder and CEO Wendy Kopp, described in The Wall Street Journal how competition drove innovation during the world’s space race. Would Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin have made it to the moon if the U.S. weren’t trying to best Russia? Likely not. Just a decade earlier, the task seemed impossible, but competitive pressures made it happen.
Competition inspires employees to stretch their limits. One person might struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but she’ll persevere when she sees teammates knocking down those same obstacles. Everyone wants to feel strong and capable, and competition makes them abandon their excuses to push through adversity.
This is doubly true for sales professionals, who tend to be competitive by nature, with themselves and others. They’re used to the strain and success that comes with hitting sales targets. Healthy competition helps them do so with passion, stamina, and confidence.
One year, my company rallied everyone around a year-end stretch sales goal. Management set up competitions to reward top performers, but we also gave prizes for team engagement. No one wanted to be the reason we fell short of our goal, so everyone went into overdrive to push us across the finish line. We hit the target, but more important, our achievement created camaraderie and boosted morale.