Sales coaching and competition: how they relate

By Henrik Troselius - December 21, 2018

In the sales performance management process, competitions are an integral part in furthering development, improving employee engagement, and stimulating sales growth. That's why introducing competitions between your sales teams and individual sales representatives can be a great step after coaching takes place. Sales coaching and sales competitions can work together so that employees can immediately feel the effects of support and engagement, test their development, and see discrepancies in knowledge that can be addressed through further training.

Coaching and competitions are great support and engagement activities

We often discuss how sales coaching is beneficial for improving employee engagement, boosting morale, and increasing job satisfaction, while also resulting in better performance. But while coaching is a largely individual tool for sales reps, friendly competitions between your team members can help underscore coaching concepts and see employees interacting with and supporting each other.

Team competitions can have the effect of members feeling like they are truly a part of something. That type of belonging and community can also help bolster sales for a couple different reasons: 1, individuals don't want to let their team down, 2, they are inspired by, and supported by other team members, and 3, the competition itself, as well as incentives and recognition for "winning," can act as team building.

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Competitions between individuals in your sales teams can act as motivation. Set parameters for goals that don't only include highest sales, but perhaps fastest lead to close timeline, highest average purchase price, or most upgrades sold. By doing this you can underscore all the different strengths that are a part of your team and make each sales rep feel valued. Recognition alone is shown to have a big impact on performance. In fact, according to a study by the Aberdeen Group, 60% of Best-in-Class organisations stated that employee recognition is extremely valuable in driving individual performance.

Competitions put coaching effectiveness to the test

When you review the data on your sales staff's performance and find opportunities for coaching delivery, you want to ensure that your staff can immediately take the coaching concepts and apply them to the sales process. Ensuring they can utilize their new learnings and motivations quickly will help them to better retain the new information.

Implementing competitions can be a great way to put coaching effectiveness to the test. You'll be able to track ongoing performance as part of the competition, but also compare with previous results to see how your staff are utilizing new skills or recommendations that you've presented to them. If there is no improvement or an issue persists, you can evaluate whether to continue coaching delivery, or try another tactic.

Competitions can show blind spots that can be addressed in training

Competitions can make it very apparent where individuals on your sales teams are in terms of knowledge and skill. Perhaps on their own, a sales rep appears to perform just fine, but in a competition is shown to be behind others in a certain area. You can apply individual coaching, but it may also present an opportunity where perhaps the individual needs more in depth training.

If your staff compare notes while in competition, or find that they have differing information about products or services, the company and branding, or what they can offer to new and existing customers, you likely need to implement retraining. Having your staff either work together as part of a team competition, or against each other as part of an individual competition, you may be better able to see where coaching may not be the only solution they need to improve performance.

While coaching is a crucial aspect of the sales performance management process, implementing competitions can be a great way to see how effective your coaching really is. Introducing friendly contests can underscore the engagement that is promoted by coaching, can help your staff apply coaching concepts immediately, and bring to light any discrepancies in knowledge and skill sets that can be further addressed in the future.

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