It's Little League time in my neck of the woods. That means parades, six weeks of baseball games, practices, coaching and awards.
The awards I got when I played Little League were for being selected to the all-star team, and leading my team in batting, period. Today, every kid gets a trophy - the same trophy.
There are certainly positive aspects to the "trophies for everyone" philosophy. Awards build self-esteem by making the kids feel good about themselves, helping them feel like they contributed, and helping them feel special - even if they were the worst baseball player in the league!
On the other side of this argument, the truly gifted, talented kids who outperformed everyone else don't receive exclusive recognition for their outstanding achievements. In addition, the weaker players aren't provided with an incentive to practice, improve and achieve because they are already being recognized.
Let's switch gears and move to sales and salespeople. You might recall my very popular post about Money Motivated Salespeople Becoming a Dying Breed. Today's discussion ties in quite nicely to that post.
The concept of an award, plaque or trophy - extrinsic motivation. The recognition that goes with it - intrinsic motivation. The piece of plastic is nice. The feeling of being recognized - praised for ones accomplishments - that's priceless. And that goes a long way toward motivating salespeople and keeping them motivated because the feeling lingers on. Just remember that the contest for which the awards are presented must be shorter than 90 days in duration. Like Little League, it helps if many can win awards but unlike Little League, not because they simply partcipated in the contest. Create as many award catagories as possible and make sure that none of them are about most total sales.
Remember, the underlying premise for a contest is to change behavior that will drive revenue!
Challenge your salespeople, provide incentives for them to modify behaviors to drive revenue, and reward them for leading the way. It's a formula that can't be beat.