One of my all-time favorite NFL post-game tirades comes from Herman Edwards when he was with the New York Jets: “You play to win the game…hello?” If you have not had an opportunity to view this masterpiece of hilarity, check it out:
Kidding aside, Herman Edwards makes relevant statements that hold true for not only professional athletes but sales professionals, too. You play to win…period.
Over the past 15 months at LevelEleven, I’ve been fortunate to speak with organizations of all sizes who are fueling their teams’ competitive nature, or “play to win” mentality, to drive core initiatives within their business. They rely on contests and leaderboards to improve Salesforce adoption and get their teams rallied around everything from booking meetings to closing deals.
Why is this working so effectively for these organizations? Because competitiveness is the fuel that keeps the sales engine going strong.
Take salespeople. They compete to win on a daily basis, month in and quarter out, 365 days of the year. Sales professionals compete against each other as individuals, as groups and sometimes, even against themselves. Even on personal levels they work hard to outperform their peers, because there are few things as satisfying as knowing that you are the best at what you do. For these individuals, being the best might mean:
- Coming into the office early to hit the lead queue hard
- Staying late at the office to jump on a call with a targeted account in a different time zone
- Consistently fine-tuning sales skills, refusing to stay stagnant
Regardless of the specific example, it’s all about going the extra mile, because they play to win.
Competition is one of nature’s most basic functions. It remains a powerful instinctual drive within people that can act as the driving force for a sales team as a whole. As it gets salespeople to go the extra mile, a healthy level of competition can foster better performance, engagement and morale. It can also help teams to collaborate as they rally together around a common goal.
As Herman Edward mentions, you don’t just play to play. Your sales team should always be passionate, competitive and play to win the game…hello?