As salespeople and marketers, we’re used to rushing from one thing to another, to the point at which sometimes we forget to set time aside to improve ourselves. In fact, if we want our sales and marketing teams to develop, often the best way to go about it is to formally build improvement programmes into our companies.
One way to go about doing this is to issue specific challenges to your employees, whether you’re allowing them to work on these challenges during the working day or whether you’re asking them to do it in the evening. You might be surprised at how many people are willing to spend their time trying to beat their colleagues at the challenges you give them.
If you’re just trying to spark a little creativity, one way to go about it is to host the creative equivalent of a talent show where people can use whatever skills are available to them to respond to a brief. Writers could pen a short story, graphic designers could make something visual and salespeople could make clothes, bake cakes or do whatever else they’re good at.
What should these challenges look like?
The key here is to match the challenges to the employees themselves and their strong points. For example, for your digital marketing team, you could create a short video introducing the team and give each of them a trackable link, then award the win to whoever creates the most clicks. Alternatively, challenge them to see who can get the most retweets in a week.
For sales teams, a good challenge is to give each of them a small amount of money and challenging them to buy something with it that they can sell online for a profit. You could even set them loose at a yard sale or an indoor market. The winner would be whoever manages to make the largest profit on their items.
Of course, you can also boost participation by offering up some sort of an incentive, such as a half day off or a meal for the winning employee’s team. Don’t worry too much about tying back the challenges you create to your company’s overall objectives, either. The purpose is to encourage creativity, especially at this early stage. Then they can apply that creativity to their day-to-day jobs.
Challenging your staff with initiatives like these isn’t essential, but it can be a great way of encouraging them to think a little differently. Of course, we’re not saying you should encourage them to mess around on company time, but giving them a targeted challenge that’s specifically designed to develop their skills is a good idea. It can’t hurt.
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