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Competition between salespeople: Helpful or harmful?



One feature inherent to any business is competition among salespeople. Almost every salesperson wants to be the best seller not only for bonuses, but for recognition and prestige. According to one survey, “55.7 percent of sales people said they would prefer to work in a competitive environment, with 30.5 percent hoping for a very competitive workplace.”

However, competition can have a dark side. If you’re not careful, competition can actually hamper sales.

To avoid falling into this trap, here’s what you need to consider.

Is competition between salespeople healthy?

Although a competitive environment is a part of most companies, the benefits it brings will depend on the type of competition.

If an environment is highly competitive, employees will be much more selfish. They will put their individual goals before the needs of the business. While this will create individuals who beats their goals, it won’t create an engaged and involved team.

Additionally, a very competitive climate can hurt the work environment. Conflicts will be more common and, depending on the case, can reach extremes. Eventually, this causes morale to plummet, which increases the turnover rate.

Depending on the company’s values, extreme competition can contradict the most important values ​​of the business and cause customers to have a negative reaction.

On the other hand, competition between salespeople is not all bad. It encourages salespeople to boost their productivity and effectiveness. It also pushes them to leave their comfort zone, thus getting better results. 

How to use competition between salespeople in the right way

Since the benefits (or drawbacks) of competition among salespeople depend on the intensity of the competition, it is essential to use it in the right way. Here are some tips to help you.

Create collective goals

In addition to individual goals, it is worthwhile to set collective goals. Instead of creating one goal for each salesperson, set a goal for the team. 

This will spur collaboration, as salespeople who reach the goal can also help their teammates reach it. Working on a team goal will generate the perfect balance between collaboration and competition. In short, everyone wins. 

Encourage teamwork

It’s also important to promote teamwork as one of the pillars of your business. When every salesperson acts in a unified fashion, not only do they win, but your business also wins.

Teamwork must be taught and valued in the daily life of the company until it is ingrained in everyone. To make this possible, create collaborative goals and modify the environment to encourage encounters and collaboration between employees.

The truth is that collaboration often saves resources and creates better results than those obtained individually.

Be careful about rewards

Having a compensation plan is important for motivating salespeople to get better results. At the same time, it can promote negative competition if each salesperson worries more about themselves and less about team goals.

To avoid this type of problem, design a plan that rewards both individual and collective effort. .

Monitor the work environment

You don’t need to have an authoritarian management style, but you should monitor the sales team to prevent excessive competition from causing problems.

For instance, if you have salespeople who backstab others or lie just to reach a sale, they must be identified and corrected or be let go. Don’t let their behavior slide as their toxic behavior will infect the company.

Open the lines of communication so that salespeople can talk to management in the event of conflicts or misunderstandings in general.

Reinforce company values

As much as any company wants to sell more, it is highly unlikely that its values ​​will include ethics or competition over collaboration, especially given the current social landscape.

Therefore, reinforce company values ​​and ensure that all salespeople are aligned with them. In the end, it’s important that they are aware of and follow the values ​​of the business rather than hit goals without being guided by the right ethics.

Experiment with your team

Every business and sales team has its own characteristics. Some are naturally competitive and require greater control to prevent competition from getting out of hand, while others are more collaborative and need to be encouraged to compete.

So after putting these tips into practice, monitor the results — both sales numbers and customer satisfaction — and track what works best. By optimizing these results, it is possible to create the right climate to generate sales without damaging the business.

If unregulated, competition among salespeople can harm sales and the company. To prevent this from happening, it is essential to act in a way that stimulates a healthy level of competition, as well as ensure collaboration is part of the team’s performance.

With the right balance between cooperation and competitiveness, both salespeople and the business can win.

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