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How To Tap Into the Competitive Nature of your Sales Staff

1 in 3 managers says that their co-workers are more competitive than they were 10 years ago. Competition, it seems, is becoming a big deal. 

It’s a good job that everyone loves competition on some level. What’s different about sales staff is that they seem to love it more than other departments.

You can harness their competitiveness to your advantage. It can help push sales targets, build self-confidence and boost overall performances. 

So let’s investigate the competitive nature of sales and see what learning tech can do to motivate the duelists of the deal, the combatants of the contract and the heroes of the handshake!

What Drives Competition in Business?

Competition is a bit mystical. A lot of us seem to have it, some more than others. But where does it come from? What drives one runner to train harder than all the others? Why is winning so important to some? 

In psychological terms, competition is known as an extrinsic incentive. This simply means that the motivation to adopt a behaviour is due to external factors. 

Five Forces of Competition in the Workplace

1. Social Prestige

Some of us may hide it better than others, but we all have a desire to be king of the jungle, right? Subliminal or not, social prestige is a big driver in the workplace. 

2. Career Advantages

There’s something to be said for being the quiet one in a pack, but putting yourself out there at work has its benefits too. A bit of chest-thumping will no doubt help when career climbing. 

3. Fun

A bit of competition in the workday lightens the mood and adds a strong dose of fun into what can otherwise feel a little bit serious. Having the competition gives everyone something to laugh about and enjoy some friendly banter.

4. Sense of Self Worth

Whether it’s winning the bowling at your work’s social, or being top dog when it comes to monthly sales targets, you can get a lot of self-worth from coming first. Hence why it’s so addictive! 

5. Money

As Madonna once said, we are living in a material world. Social competition is one thing, but money is a different animal altogether. The need for the almighty dollar will have us battling it out in the office to pip each-other to the post! 

How to Tap into the Competitive Nature of your Sales Staff

We know the five main contributors to having that competitive feeling, so how do we use modern learning and technology solutions to boost that thirst for competition? Here are five of the best ways to provide sales staff with the tools, insight and expertise to become competitive sales legends!

1. Make Use Of Mobile Learning

Generous commission aside, the allure of sales is often because you’re rarely stuck in an office. Telecommunication apps such as Skype mean that nowadays, we seldom have to drive 200 miles to meet a customer at a dreary service station café.

Even so, 68% of entry-level professionals value face-to-face networking more than online. Not to get too emotional, but the human touch will never go out of fashion!

The long and short is that we still need to communicate with our out-of-office sales staff. Mobile learning apps allow sales team members the freedom to learn on the go (not whilst driving – unless it’s a podcast!). 

The Knowledge Arcade is a customisable mobile learning app that offers a powerful learning experience and helps drive competition. How? The sales team can use the social feed to post stats, foresight, infographics, videos and other content to boost motivation. They can even share the odd cheeky meme to stir up some friendly competition between each other! As a bonus point, people check their phones on average 52 times a day. Mobile learning, therefore, doesn’t require a dramatic change in behaviour. 

2. Introduce Gamification

Gamification is perhaps the biggest foot-up when it comes to boosting competition. It’s like catnip for sales staff. It’s the process of applying game mechanics to non-gaming environments. Here are some ways it can skyrocket your sales competition:

Experience Points

Each team member can earn Experience Points (XP) from achievements that you set. Whether it’s downloading learning content or completing a test. Let the games begin!


Streaks are habit-forming, they’re mobile-friendly and they’re a great way to see your progress in action. A streak is a line of achievements, usually a set of five in a row. Streaks are a great incentive to keep going. 


Now we get to the thing that salespeople love more than a bee loves cider: leaderboards. Everyone wants to be at the top. Leaderboards drive you to go one better in Mario Kart and Fortnite, and it works in business too. 

Virtual Rewards

We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning, right? A basic wage is a good start. Salespeople need more, however. They’re a competitive lot. So we can offer virtual rewards such as badges. As an admin, you can create badges to recognise any type of achievement you want. This could be anything from completing the onboarding process or hitting your weekly sales targets.

Real-Life Rewards

69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt like their efforts were being recognised. The good news is there are plenty of ways you can do this. Virtual rewards are a seriously powerful tool for engaging your sales staff, but you can introduce real-life rewards as an extra layer of incentivisation. 

You may offer perks such as extra days off and free lunches. It’s a well-known fact that lunches taste much better when paid for by somebody else. 

Here’s our good friend Karl Kapp talking about the importance of gamification:

3. Create Groups to Encourage Each Other

On Growth Engineering Learning App, admins can create social hubs specifically designed to drive competition. For example, what about a group for sharing weekly reports? Or for profiling a rep of the week. What about creating a group to share encouraging, motivational memes? You could also create a group, especially for sales brags?! A sure-fire way to motivate the wild ego of a sales executive! 

4. Change Behaviour and Motivate Your Team

The best sales staff believe in the product they’re selling. If one of your reps is not hitting their targets, the chances are they need to find a connection with it. In order to do this, they really need to know the product inside out. This is where behaviour change comes in.

As an admin of our Growth Engineering LMS, you can produce content that gives in-depth summaries of your product. These guides can be broken down into weekly microunits, which tap into the extraordinary power of microlearning

5. Create Battles

Battles are a learning tool completely unique to Growth Engineering. With Battles, you’ll be giving your training a competitive edge by pitting staff against each other! Don’t worry, it doesn’t involve gladiatorial style combats to the death.

Alternatively, it uses multiple questions wrapped up in a quiz-style package to separate the wheat from the chaff. This is exactly the light-hearted competition that sales staff thrive on. It’ll help your sales team build a great rapport with each other. 

Final Words

There are plenty of ways to give your sales team the eye of the tiger. Mobile learning allows easy access to learning technology solutions. Gamification creates engaging techniques to keep execs coming back for more.

Social groups can be used to inspire motivation when the chips are down. You can use your learning apps to create the behaviour change you want to see in your employees. How about creating a Battle? A great way to spread your knowledge, as well as turning meek cats into competitive lions!

Want some more top tips on unleashing the power of competition in your organisation? Grab yourself a copy of our Gamification Tip Sheet: 43 Cheat Codes for Using Gamification in online learning. It will help you take your training to the next level!

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