The Long Game: Lessons Sales Reps Can Learn from Wimbledon

5 min read

It’s been a thrilling two weeks of tennis here in the UK, with Wimbledon taking over our screens and getting everyone in the competitive spirit. Roger Federer’s glorious win against Marin Cilic in the final match this weekend had us hooked, and demonstrates how hard work, perseverance and dedication can help you to achieve your goals. In the Xactly office, we even got into the spirit of the tournament by sending around some tennis-themed treats. The tournament has us thinking about what lessons can be learned from these athletes, and what it takes to be a sales commission management champion. Afterall, sales teams and athletes, need to have the right goals - and abilities - in place to help them achieve their targets. At the start of every tennis tournament, anyone can be the champion. Each competitor will excel in a particular area, but only the most complete will become the victor. Nowhere is that more clear than in the case of Roger Federer. Federer’s forehand has long been known as one of the best in the game, while his composure on the court has seen him calmly work his way to victory on many occasions. But this year in particular, Federer has overcome substantial doubts and uncertainty to secure success. Just twelve months ago, his entire future in the sport looked in doubt, as he faced a knee injury at the relatively mature (in tennis-years) age of 36. However, Federer showed that together, talent and experience can make all the difference. He was able to bring all of his finely-honed talents together, to achieve a record-breaking eighth Wimbledon title - without dropping a set. Sales compensation is no different. Everyone has their key strength but to propel their team to sales success, all areas must be carefully monitored and refined over time, much like Federer’s tennis skills. Motivation is crucial. For Federer, this is the drive that got him to the final and victory at Wimbledon. For sales representatives, it’s about how their personal sales targets reflect those of the business and reward them in turn. What’s crucial is using sales commission intelligently, to deliver a well-rounded sales performance. The total sum of all UK bonuses last year was an incredible £44.3bn. If a company utilizes automated tools, it can tap into the lucrative opportunity that incentive compensation management provides for its employees, and as result, garner better results from its sales teams. In fact, an Xactly customer, NBC Universal, has done just this. The sales team has achieved a 50 percent increase in sales with a 25 percent higher price point since implementing Xactly. It is possible to strengthen every aspect of your scheme and provide your team ‘players’ with the best tools available to become sales champions. Using sales performance management platforms like Xactly Incent, commission managers and their teams can achieve:

  • 100 percent accuracy and accountability across all departments
  • Detailed reports and analysis at the push of a button
  • A strategic overview of all pay structures to ensure they align to company objectives

By harnessing these solutions, organizations can make better strategic decisions, optimize behaviors, increase sales and employee performance, improve margins, increase operational efficiencies, mitigate risk, design better incentive compensation plans, and reduce error rates in incentive compensation calculations. The power of incentives can help companies, their employees, and their partners build stronger relationships and achieve more. Companies should learn from athletes like Federer, and how he works to achieve his goals, and apply that to the sales incentive compensation world. If companies are able to harness the data insights they need to tap the motivational power of their incentive compensation, they can ensure that they are not only victorious in the set, game or match, but that they are able to win the whole tournament.