Engaging Sales Team Building Activities for Stronger Teams

Posted by Mark Ackers

Sales is hard. When a rep has been told no for the tenth time that day, they need people around them to keep their spirits high and get them back on the phone again. Team-building exercises are a highly effective way to boost cohesion in the group while giving leaders insight into the individual personalities on their team. 

In this article, with the help of MySalesCoach expert Scott Cowley, we’ll set out some practical and effective ways you can run team-building exercises that help you hit your goals.

This article is part of our essential guide to Sales Team Leadership.

Let’s get started.

 

The Benefits of Team Building for Sales Teams

‘If you do it properly, people will start talking to each other. They’ll start working on problems together. They’ll start helping each other out. You’ll end up a much stronger organisation than you were beforehand.’ – Scott Cowley

During a team-building exercise, your team get to know each other better. What’s more, you get to know them better as a leader. For example, you can see who’s calm in a crisis, or who is competitive. You can also see how the different personalities in your team interact with each other.

If you want to learn more about sales team collaboration, we have a deep dive article here.

 

Tailoring Team Building to Sales Team Needs

 

Understanding Your Team’s Unique Composition

A successful team-building event starts at the planning stage. Think about your team, how they function currently, and what you want to achieve. 

There are three types of events you can choose:

  • Competitive – Individuals or groups completing an activity competing against each other
  • Non-competitive – There’s still an activity, but there’s no competitive side
  • Co-operative – Getting your team working together to complete an activity

Consider the individuals on your team when you’re planning, however. You don’t want to plan anything that triggers someone’s phobias or sets off their allergies, for example.

‘When team-building goes wrong. This is a secondhand story. But I remember a guy who would always tell people, like, never have a tomato around me, like I just can't do tomatoes. Anyway, they did a team-building exercise, and one of the things that happened is a person came out dressed as a tomato. This guy genuinely - I think he was a 34-year-old man -squealed and ran away. It just ruined the whole thing.’ - Scott Cowley

 

 

Customising Activities to Align with Sales Goals

You can use team-building activities to drive sales. Think about the behaviours you want to drive in your team, then come up with an idea for an exercise that incentivises those behaviours, as well as helping your team bond together. The key is to make it fun, or it will just feel like work.

‘In one of my organisations, we played Battleships. If you did something like booking a demo or closing a deal, you could pick a square. You’ve got to have a level of randomness in there, so people get excited.’- Scott Cowley

 

Addressing Various Learning and Interaction Styles

Everyone in your team is different in some way. Some people learn visually; others like to talk about things, and others need to explain them to someone else. Therefore, you should keep things varied so they continue to get something out of your exercises. 

However, when you get people away from their desks and out of that work environment, they’re likely to act differently from how they typically would. That’s when they’re at their peak learning moment – and when you can really see them interact naturally, outside of work mode.

Sales Coaching Playbook

Creative Sales Team Building Activities

 

Icebreakers and Introduction Games

Now, let’s talk about some practical examples of team-building activities you can try.

Icebreakers don’t have to be complex. In fact, just getting people in a room together is the best start.

‘I can’t tell you the number of times with remote companies, as soon as you physically meet, shake hands or have a beer, it’s the ultimate icebreaker. You don’t need to do any games necessarily.’ – Scott Cowley

But if you need a game, try getting everyone in the room to write down something they did when they were younger that other people might not expect them to do. Then, get everyone to match the individual to the fact. This works well because it’s non-threatening (people only write down the secrets they actually want to share), but also really engaging.

 

Sales Scenario Roleplaying

Research by MindTickle discovered that top-performing companies require their reps to participate in roleplays an average of four times a year. But the trick with team-building roleplays is to make it fun. Save the serious roleplays for coaching sessions. 

For example, try a roleplay where the rep and prospect can only answer a question with a question. It’s harder than you think, but it helps your reps consider how to drive conversations by asking questions rather than stating facts, an essential skill for all salespeople.

‘Look at rephrasing roleplays because there’s a stigma behind them. Call them battle plans. Young men especially love that phrase.’ – Scott Cowley

 

Competitive Sales Challenges

Salespeople are naturally competitive, so you don’t need to make them more competitive. Instead, play on their competitive nature by devising games that make selling more fun, boost resilience and give everyone a chance to shine. 

You already know who your top salespeople are, and they’ll be getting compensated for their success, so giving everyone a chance spreads the fun across the team. When coming up with a game, you must cater to all levels of sales experience.

‘Raffle tickets is a good one. Or make a spin-the-wheel game with lots of prizes people can win. Randomness is super-important to drive behaviour.’ – Scott Cowley

If you're interested in finding out more about inclusive leadership in sales, we have a deep dive article here.

 

Team Building Activities for Different Settings

 

In-Office Team Building

When running a team game in the office, the goal should be to raise energy levels, get your team members fighting for each other (not against) and get them celebrating together. This delivers the outcome of boosting cohesion. 

‘The number one factor for why people don’t leave jobs – even if they hate them – is if they have a good friend at work. If you can build friendships, you keep people in their jobs for longer.’ - Scott Cowley

 

Remote Team Building

Research by HubSpot found that 40% of remote workers miss those in-person connections with their colleagues, so you should do whatever you can to bridge that physical distance for your remote reps.

Of course, the most effective way to do this is to get them in a room together. But if that’s not possible, get them working together in virtual rooms. Ideas you could try include:

  • Virtual meet-ups
  • Escape rooms – get people working together
  • Talks from expert presenters – e.g. wine tasting, painting

If you're interested in finding our more about remote sales leadership, we have a deep dive article here.

 

Outdoor and Adventure Activities

‘I love outdoor activities. They’re super powerful.’ - Scott Cowley

As with in-office and virtual exercises, you have to do things that are unexpected to make it special and not like work. Make sure you get an external facilitator to host the activity rather than yourself. Also, do it within office hours so you don’t inconvenience anyone who may have family commitments.

 

Conclusion

Team-building activities are a great way to solidify the bonds in your team and see how your people work together outside of an office setting.

The exact nature of your activity isn’t really that important. You just have to make sure it’s:

  • Fun
  • Unexpected (not like work)
  • Inclusive to all (regardless of performance, skills, length of time at the company, allergies, phobias, etc.)

Apart from bearing those considerations in mind, you can be as creative as you like. Now go out there and make some memories.

If you're keen to find out more about sales team incentive and how to boost your teams performance, we have a deep dive article here.

 

Find out more from MySalesCoach

At MySalesCoach, we help busy sales managers and ambitious reps reach their potential with expert, consistent 1:1 coaching.

To find out more about MySalesCoach, book a call with us today.

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