5 Lessons SPM Professionals Can Learn from the Success of the Ice Bucket Challenge
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taken over social media and its success has far exceeded all expectations. The objective is clear and simple, and the challenge doesn’t require much effort from participants: donate online and/or pour a bucket of ice water on yourself.
Sales Performance Management professionals can learn a few lessons about human behavior from the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge. We listed five of them below:
1. Challenge to Motivate
When people are challenged (especially, if done publicly), they get motivated to succeed. The ice bucket challenge did this very successfully utilizing social media.
From an SPM standpoint, the challenge is for the sales team to make its sales goal. Sales goals or quotas need to provide motivation for the sales team to push hard towards those numbers. Beware of goals that are too aggressive – you’re just as likely demotivating the very team you need to achieve your goals.
Frequent communication around your sales goals – and overall sales incentive compensation – is critical to maintain mindshare and motivation with the sales team. Multiple channels, from monthly statements, to leader boards, and communications from sales executives are necessary to keep the sales team on target.
2. Build a Sense of Urgency
We procrastinate! By giving a deadline of 24 hours, the ice bucket challenge made it difficult for people to put it off and forget.
Building and maintaining a sense of urgency within the sales plan is certainly more challenging, but consider establishing shorter term goals (semi-annual or quarterly from annual) to keep the sales team always ‘sprinting’. If this is difficult, other ways to maintain urgency are contests, leader boards, and other public recognition of top sales reps throughout the year.
3. Align to Good Karma
Human beings have an innate desire to do good things. Most of us would go extra mile, if it helps a charitable cause.
Attributing a tiny part of corporate’s resources to social charitable activities, would not only provide a team-building exercise, but also build personal pride for the company they work.
4. Create Social Visibility and Peer Pressure
Peer pressure can get us to do things that we left on our own, would not have done. There is an element of social disgrace for those who choose not to participate.
From an SPM standpoint, set highly visible goals and challenge your sales team to accomplish them. Don’t let the goals be buried in a once-a-year produced ‘goal sheet’ – or only listed on a monthly commission statement. Make the leaders public and let lesser performers know how they stack up against those leaders.
5. Money isn’t Everything
Hardly anyone would have poured cold water on their head, if all they were getting in return was some money. People did it for reasons other than money, and in fact, most actually did it, and also gave money. What a deal!
Money alone may not be the only motivational tool for your sales team. Consider other motivational tools that can complement your cash rewards, like yearend recognition trips, merchandise, extra PTO days, and more.