How to run a call of the month contest

At Vorsight we have a monthly conversation competition where the ‘best call of the month’ earns you a day of PTO.

One of my team members, Charlie Thompson, initially came up with the idea.  Charlie wasn’t necessarily the highest monthly performer – he averaged on the higher end of middle – but he always had high quality conversations.  We were brainstorming ideas one day on how we could recognize people who are having great conversations, but aren’t necessarily the highest meeting schedulers on the floor.  We wanted to develop an incentive that rewarded more than just tangible inputs or outputs and engaged BDAs regardless of their numbers, success rates, clients, etc.

My concern with incentives is that they can be purely numbers-driven which can sometimes be de-motivating for some members of the team.  We wanted to come up with a contest that changed it up; something that ensured BDAs were encouraged to meet their daily inputs metrics while also having productive conversations.

Measuring the quality of a BDA’s conversation would allow everyone to stand a chance of winning, regardless of their input or output metrics.  A quality conversation that didn’t result in a meeting could still be a worthy winner.

This incentive drives two behavior changes:

  1. The focus of a BDA/SDR moves towards having good conversations instead of just hitting activity metrics.
  2. The focus of a BDA/SDR moves from calls that ‘chase the meeting’ to actually having conversations. Charlie identified his main challenge as ‘chasing the meeting.’  To have great conversations BDAs need to apply the Vorsight methodology to earn the right to ask questions, ask great questions, actively listen, and keep control of the call.  It’s not just about getting meetings.  It’s about getting meetings the right way.  The company, the BDA, and the client all win.

The competition also added the benefit of everyone getting behind the call recording movement.  ExecVision had literally been rolled out a month prior.  Because BDAs could listen to and learn from their own and others’ calls, it was possible to identify great conversations.  Knowing exactly what a good call sounds like has made my job as a manager much easier.  Before the contest everyone was aiming at an unknown target.  Now it’s clear to everyone at Vorsight what makes a great conversation.

Charlie and I took our business case to David Stillman, the CEO.  He said yes, then we rolled it out the following month.  Here are the rules:

  • This is an on-going month-to-month conversation incentive.
  • There is only one winning conversation.
  • The winner gets to choose from either one (1) Full Day of PTO OR one (1) extra Meeting toward variable compensation (catch: you must make your choice the day we announce the winner – the last day of the month, before the next month where the meeting would land).
  • Every BDA can submit two (2) conversation clips to their manager at the end of each month due by 5:30 PM the last day of the month.
  • The BDA must send the clip through ExecVision to their manager, AND must have pressed “Yes for Call Coaching” on the clip, AND have the clip marked up with their own Key Moments.
  • The managers listen to all of their teams’ submitted clips, and then the managers send their top three (3) picks to the next level judges (Bill, David, and Steve).
  • The next level judges listen to all nine (9) clips together and choose the winner.
  • The winner for the month is announced at pull up the first day of the following month, and that day, the winner must tell their manager which prize they choose – the day of PTO, or the one extra Meeting toward his or her pay.

From this, we also developed a monthly “Morning Workout,” where Steve Richard (ExecVision’s CRO) leads a Call Camp at 8:00 AM one day a month to play the previous months’ winning call and runner-up to the whole company.  BDAs see the Key Moments pop up on the call like thought bubbles.  It’s like the old VH1 TV show Pop Up Video if you can remember that.  The pop-up comments on the call help the BDAs understand why the call was considered the monthly winner.

We’ve been doing this for nearly a year now, and I think this has been the most productive on-going incentive we’ve put in place.  Now I can’t sit here saying this incentive is perfect; we’re still struggling with the fact that not all BDAs consistently send in their two clips every month.  We still haven’t been able to put a finger on if it’s because they’re scared to get their call played aloud to the whole company or if they’re just forgetful.  But we’re getting there.

Finally, and this might be my favorite part, we take the winning calls and place them into folders in ExecVision.  When new hires start they listen to all of the former best-call-of-the-month winners.  This makes their ramp up time shorter, allowing me to spend my one-on-one time in more productive ways.

What sort of creative competitions do you run with your sales development reps?

Written by Shay Smith|Vorsight