This guest post comes from Dan Tyre, Sales Director at HubSpot. Dan is skilled at inbound marketing, inbound sales, inbound service & building a culture of personal responsibility and achievement. His goal for the next 30 years is to do the most good in the universe.
HubSpot is well known for its fun and light-hearted culture. We have beer on tap. We have a nap room. A push-up clinic takes place in the office hallway on Fridays. It’s a place where anything goes (within the bounds of good judgment).
As one of the original 10 employees and the first sales manager and director, I’ve had the privilege of helping to build this culture from scratch. Right from the start, the founders and other executives didn’t really care if you cracked jokes or wore weird clothes so long as you hit your targets. And this was perfect for me, a self-confessed goof -- and an obsessive sales manager.
Seven years later, my reputation as an oddball precedes me. There’s even a page on HubSpot’s internal wiki dedicated to my coworkers’ favorite “Tyre-isms.” One choice excerpt:
"You are rising through the ranks like a corn muffin."
Everything I do is designed to make sure people are having fun, and it’s not because I’m a slacker. It’s because fun has concrete benefits in the sales force. It loosens everything up, and helps people achieve their goals faster, better, and with less stress.
Fun is my favorite motivational tactic, and guess what -- it doesn’t cost anything. Here are three of my tried and true tricks.
1. I’ll buy you a breakfast sandwich.
I’m famous for offering, buying, (and owing) breakfast sandwiches. Make five calls? I’ll get you a breakfast sandwich. Have a good week? You’re entitled to five bacon egg and cheeses.
Why breakfast sandwiches? It’s a funny thing to offer, they cost maybe $3 depending on where you go, and who doesn’t want a breakfast sandwich? Everyone wants a breakfast sandwich. I bet you do right now after reading this paragraph. (Make it to the end of this post, and I’ll buy you a breakfast sandwich.)
The most portable of breakfasts is my go-to, but I’ll let you in on a zen-like secret: It’s not about the breakfast sandwich. It could be anything. Just make your reward funny and it’s bound to bring a smile to someone’s face.
2. SPIFF of the day.
Think about your goals for the next day, week, or month. And then think about what you’d like to get as a reward for achieving those goals.
Voila. You’ve just participated in my SPIFF of the day program.
Incentives are best when the person who stands to earn them chooses them. Every time I work with reps, I ask them to give me a goal they’re working on, and a corresponding incentive. We go back and forth to agree on the reward (I’m not going to buy someone a car for booking a meeting, for instance), and then I let them loose.
And the reps I’ve worked with know that no request is too weird. I’ve cleaned a house. I’ve bought 100 golf balls. I’ll walk your dog. I’ll wash your car -- I don’t care. As long as we’re meeting the goals and having fun in the process.
And this works better than you’d expect because it’s relevant. You’re not finding the thing that the entire team will go the extra mile for -- you’re finding the thing that each individual will go the extra mile for. That’s powerful.
3. Praise, praise, and more praise (with a side of praise).
Giving compliments is a well-documented sales motivational tactic. But the amount I dish out takes it to the next level. I’m effusive with praise. Just one or two little “good jobs” don’t do the trick in my book. I’m constantly chatting and texting my coworkers with emojis and encouragements.
And whenever someone tells me a nice thing about one of their coworkers I pass it along immediately. It’s like the opposite of office gossip. Once I was having dinner with a colleague who told me his manager was the best he’d ever had. I got out my phone, and made him say it again so I could record it. Then I passed it along to the manager. How often does that happen? Not enough.
Authentic praise is free, and it can sometimes be catchy. One of the most common phrases I hear is “Go, ____ , go.” People use it all the time -- “Go, John, go,” “Go, Marketing team, go,” etc. I’m proud to say this sticky little phrase is my brainchild. I guess I deserve a “Go, Dan Tyre, go!” for that.
Even if you don’t have a wacky company culture, you can still infuse fun into your team or department. If you’re having fun a good proportion of the time, you’re less stressed; when you’re less stressed your productivity rises; when your productivity rises, so do your results; and when you get big results, you get a big paycheck.
Fun is free but I’m not kidding when I say it has a monetary value.
(PS -- I owe you one breakfast sandwich.)
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