Partner Sales Acceleration Blog | Allbound

Why You May Need to Create Games to Motivate Partner Sales Reps

Written by Matt Hensler | June 16, 2016

Motivation for partner sales reps comes in many forms. Some of it intrinsic, such as pride and confidence. Some motivation might be more extrinsic, like sales incentives or periodic special recognition. But if youhaven’t thought about it already, using games to motivate your partner sales reps can be a powerful way to increase sales.

The idea for using games to motivate partner sales reps is not new byany stretch. For years, direct reps and sales teams have been promoting competition with a reward to the victor. Normally the highest sales numbers for the quarter, or biggest single sale will be the criteria. But if you think about it, while these are good things to focus on, they reward the outcome and not necessarily the behavior that got it there.

The best salespeople realize that they might not top the charts every quarter, but their effort does not waver despite the changing numbers. Newer and less experienced sales reps need to be motivated to put forth that constant effort, and that’s where games can be a crucial component. It’s even more important to keep a sales rep motivated when you factor in the geography. For example, a single channel partner can have sales teams located in different regions, and you need to be able to motivate everyone equally and keep them involved despite the geographic dispersion.


Technology Is Crucial

Having an online sales leaderboard can help you bridge the geographic space between partner teams, and instill some camaraderie when they’re not in the same office. But, if the application has to be intuitive and easy to use or the benefits will be negated.

Bottom line, you can have all the technology bells and whistles at your disposal, but if it isn’t easy for the partner sales reps to use it, you probably won’t see much buy in. This isn’t just limited to your sales leaderboard when creating games to motivate sales reps within your channel, but can include any number of areas where technology can make or break a sales team. There’s not enough space in this post to tackle that issue though, so we’ll continue to focus on games aspect for now.


Creativity is Key

You don’t necessarily have to base sales contest results solely on the bottom line sales figures. You could put together a number of different games that reward behavior that leads to sales, but not necessarily the sales themselves. We’ve actually encountered a suggestion for a contest that rewarded the sales rep receiving the most ‘no’s’ in a given time period based on the idea that they likely contacted more prospects in the process. That may not be a practical idea for your channel, but the idea here is to focus on something other than the standard “highest performing” seller. After all, you need to keep everyone motivated to continue selling regardless of their standings on the team.


A low-cost system

Getting creative when developing games to motivate sales reps also requires that you get creative with your budget. There are lots of alternatives to cash incentives, and gift cards are one way to help reps reward themselves for their effort.

While a simple gift card may not be a substantial sum, it can add up when you consider all the reps within your partner ecosystem. As a result, you’ll need to anticipate these rewards and reallocate budget accordingly, or be ready to make an incremental investment to see the benefit of increased sales.

Another option could be to forego the gift card completely, and focus on promoting the contest solely with bragging rights to the victor. Or, a branded/co-branded item that can signify which contest they’ve won.


Learning and Repeating Behavior is the key to Winning Sales Games

Finally, the most successful salespeople and teams know that even if they might lose a particular contest, they will have a shot at the prize in the next round. It’s important that you provide the tools and training necessary to help those reps rise to the top in the next game or contest. You also need to provide your partner sales reps with resources that allow them to interact and engage with prospects, draw them in and complete sales.

If you’re looking to have some more fun and engage your partner sales team, consider adding some games to motivate sales reps. And, if reps are properly prepared and resourced to be successful in their direct selling activities, they’ll come out ahead even when they don’t finish on top.