Harnessing Star Power

Every sales organization loves a superstar!  Truth is, a superstar on your sales team can be demoralizing to the rest of the group if not harnessed properly.

Put yourself in their shoes for a minute, a sales contest is announced, there is one winner and it will be based on total volume for the month.  What do you think goes through their minds?  “You know so-and-so superstar is going to win.  He/She always does.” With that thought, at least half of your sales team mentally checks out and doesn’t bother to compete.  Part way through the month, when it becomes clear the superstar will once again claim the prize, most of the rest of the team sits back and lets them take it.

Can you achieve your sales goals with the efforts of only one or two superstar performers?  Probably not or that would be all the people you would employ.

Try this: Instead of one prize based purely on total volume, assign individual goals to each sales person based on their area of responsibility.  Then award prized based on “Percentage over goal”.  That makes the contest fair and encourages everyone to participate.

Also consider giving a smaller prize to every sales person who hits their personal goal, even something small like a dinner gift card. Then you can offer bigger prizes for the highest percentage over goal to continue to encourage your peak performers.

Harnessing the power of your superstars is both about keeping them motivated AND not letting them completely overshadow the rest of your team.  Create a level playing field and reward everyone’s successes for the greatest success of your organization.


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2 Responses to “Harnessing Star Power”

  1. Mark Says:

    I agree 100% about setting individual goals. I love your phrase, “put yourself in their shoes for a moment…” We have all been there when the contest was announced, only to feel defeated before the starting gate opened.
    I write about this in my eBook Sales ContestOlogy, 7 Step Guide to Sales Contests. (available for a free download). I reference legendary Golfer, Sam Snead when he said “Forget your opponents; always play against par.”

    • Julie-Z Says:

      My initial google search didn’t come up with the book, but I did find it at http://www.sales-contest.com. I read it last night and agree with both of you that people should have individual opportunites to win. I am new to sales managemet (only 6 months), but I have been on the sales side for 8 years.
      I have been at three different companies, and of the three, only 1 ran a contest that actually got me motivated. I have never been the super-star, but I am a solid performer. At the top of the middle, if that makes sence. So, I totally relate with your recommendations. I will definitely be runing my contests this way. Thanks for the suggestions and thanks for the book, it was informative.


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