Raise Up Your Staff

By Malcolm Fleschner

When you run an incentive contest for your sales team, do you consider the effect the contest has on folks in other departments? It’s not like everyone else gets to run off to the beach while the sales staff races to bring in extra business. If anything, people in administration, shipping, billing and all the other related departments probably will have to take on more work as a result of the sales push, but without any increased pay or reward.

Sadly, says author and incentive program expert Bruce Fuller, too few companies act to combat this seeming inequity and help more people become motivated by a sales incentive contest. In Crank ‘Em Up!!! Brilliant Sales Contests and Bright Ideas to Turn on Your Team and Turn Up Results (International Self-Counsel Press, 1996), Fuller says that during his 14 years with a large multinational corporation, he regularly consulted with executives outside the sales and marketing departments before designing a sales incentive contest. Not only did he value their input, but it also helped guarantee that other departments would get behind the contest once it was underway.

Fuller offers these additional tips to maximize universal buy-in and involvement across the organization.

  1. Kickoff at home. Hold kickoff events at the workplace, whether in the office or perhaps nearby in the parking lot.
  2. Dress up. If it’s appropriate to the theme, have some staff members volunteer to dress in theme-related costumes.
  3. Care to wager? Create a system whereby staff members can place bets on individual sales reps. When a rep hits a target, the bet pays off. Staff members with money on the line will do wonders to motivate their chosen reps.
  4. Team up. Separate salespeople and staff members into teams so instead of individual sales reps competing, entire teams have a stake in the contest.
  5. Share the wealth. Include smaller prizes tied to the overall theme that behind-the-scenes staff members can win.
  6. Push the theme. Don’t limit the contest theme to the sales staff or offices. Decorate the entire workplace according to the theme and encourage nonsales staff to talk up the contest with sales reps.
  7. Get it in print. Publish a contest newsletter online or on paper that highlights successes, emphasizes the theme and reports standings.