5 Sales Team Building Activities for a Winning Culture

What comes to mind when you read the phrase “sales team building activities”?

When you think about team building, you probably think of a few common exercises you’ve either led or participated in. Some of them are classic for a reason! Many team building activities have been used over the years to improve communication, build trust, and allow the team to get to know each other.

But often the same team building activities are done regardless of the kind of team involved. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it’s always a good idea to make the time for team building with people from multiple teams involved.

When you’re focusing on your sales team, though, you have an opportunity to add a different level to team building. By planning sales team building activities specifically for your sales team, you can help build the core skills your sellers need while you’re having fun.

Here are 5 ideas for sales team building activities focused on building key selling skills and driving a winning culture.

1. Improve Presentation Skills

Could your team benefit from improved presentation skills? Incorporate that into team building!

Any of the standard construction-focused team building activities like the egg drop or building a bridge or tower can include a presentation element. After the team builds their project, ask them to present their creation. Encourage them to make their presentations as engaging as possible, and consider giving them points for presentation that might make up for some construction weaknesses.

If you don’t have the time or resources for construction-oriented sales team building activities, you can still integrate presentations into team building. Either ask each person to bring something from their desk or provide random objects yourself. Ask team members to present these objects (which could be as simple as a pen or coffee mug). This works best if you divide the team into groups of two or three people and ask them to work together to develop the presentations. You can even do this on a webinar or conference call if your team is remote!

2. Improve Internal Communication

Have you noticed problems with internal communication? This could exist within the sales team or between the sales team and other teams such as marketing or service. If so, work to design sales team building activities that help the team improve their communication skills.

If you’re able to meet in the same room, the visual telephone game can be a great start to a conversation about communication. Have the team sit around a table and give each person a notepad. Ask each person to write a word or phrase on the first page, then pass it to their right. They will then read what is written on the first page, turn the page, and draw what they read. Next, they’ll pass it to the right, and each person will try to figure out what was drawn, turn the page, and write it down. Repeat these steps until the notebooks return to their original places. While this exercise doesn’t involve much communication while you’re doing it, it can spark a bigger conversation about communication problems and how you can all work together to improve communication.

If you have more time and space, any of the blindfold-style activities like the mine field exercise (a person outside a “mine field” directs someone who is blindfolded through an obstacle course) can help the team work on communication in real time. Intentionally pairing specific people who might have experienced previous communication issues can be helpful.

If your team is remote, you can do variants of the back-to-back drawing game. Ask one person to describe how to draw something without saying what it is and have the rest of the team follow the instructions. Compare the drawings at the end and see who was able to figure out what they were drawing.

3. Improve Question Asking

Asking good questions is one of the most important skills in selling, but it’s not always a focus in team building activities. If this is an area where your team needs improvement, here are some ideas.

Any of the nametag based activities can help with questioning skills. Put a nametag with a name, job title, or noun on everyone’s backs and have them use yes/no questions to try to figure out who they are. You can add a level of complexity by using words that go in obvious pairs (salt & pepper, peanut butter & jelly, etc.) and having the team find their partners after they find out who they are.

You could also do the “what one question” game, where you ask the team to work together in groups to identify the one question they could use to determine someone’s suitability for a specific situation, such as leading the company, joining the team, babysitting a child, or anything else. Coming up with one perfect question is much harder than building a list of good questions – and it’s a great skill to have in sales. If your team is remote, you could work together on this over a conference call. If you’re together in person, you could break your team into groups of 3 or 4 and then compare questions.

4. Improve Listening Skills

Along with asking questions, listening is one of the most important selling skills. Many sales team building activities can help improve listening.

You can add a listening element to any of the blindfold-style or construction-style activities by only communicating key information to one person and then having them communicate it to their partners or teams.

As a group, you can incorporate a listening exercise into any team meeting, in person or remote. Just take your normal communication of some relatively boring information (like the monthly numbers, update on the strategic plan, etc.) and add a few random statements about something (a new product, for example), but don’t emphasize them differently. When you’ve finished your presentation, ask the team to tell you everything they heard about the new product. Let this spark a conversation about listening.

5. Improve Teamwork

Team building is all about team, and in sales that’s often been forgotten. Some teams seem to focus more on competing than on working together. But a team with a healthy winning culture is able to achieve more than a team that’s always competing.

Most good team building exercises will by their very nature encourage teamwork, but here are a few key categories that can be especially powerful.

Having each member of the team share things about themselves can be a great way for the team to get to know each other. This can be as complex as making and sharing vision boards or as simple as playing two truths and a lie.

Working together on a charity project can allow your team to feel that they’re a part of something bigger than themselves. In-person events like Habitat for Humanity or park cleanup projects are great, but you can also have a remote team work together to fundraise for a charity or run events in their various locations.

Costume and decoration contests can be fun, and they can be done in person or remotely. Costume contests can be individual or team-based, and asking teams to work together to decorate their work spaces can tell you a lot about them.

For a remote team, consider taking turns sharing pictures of people’s desks, office views, and other details, and have the team guess whose desk or view they’re looking at. This can give an insight into team members’ work styles and day-to-day lives.

I hope this sparked some ideas for you as you plan sales team building activities.

What are your favorite sales team building activities? Share them in the comments!

Motivating Your Sales Team

By | 2017-02-01T12:00:59+00:00 June 21st, 2016|Sales Leaders|6 Comments

About the Author:

Elizabeth is CFS's Operations Officer and Senior Advisor and is the Product Manager for the Criteria for Success Sales PlayBook. She writes about sales leadership, management, teamwork, motivation, and process based on her experience with CFS's clients.

6 Comments

  1. Barry Hall June 22, 2016 at 11:38 am - Reply

    Great post Elizabeth keep up the great work. – Barry.

    • Elizabeth Frederick June 22, 2016 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much, Barry! Have a wonderful day.

  2. Maya June 25, 2016 at 6:42 am - Reply

    As a team leader, I often look for some techniques how to improve communication and listening skills. Your idea to improve it by mentioning some later-asked-information during boring speech is quite new for me.
    Good listener may hear very interesting ideas from others, especially during some meetings or even during usual chatting. So thanks for emphasizing the listening skills in your article.

    • Elizabeth Frederick June 27, 2016 at 12:03 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much for your comment, Maya!

      Listening can be such a difficult thing to practice, but doing a “pop quiz” can be a great reminder that listening is an important skill to use all the time.

  3. Leadership Training & Development February 1, 2017 at 12:35 am - Reply

    So this is what happens when a writer does the homework needed to write quality material. Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful content.

  4. Matija Zajsek March 14, 2017 at 10:42 am - Reply

    Well, thank you first for your post. Really educational. As team building organization player here in Slovenia, I would like to add that we found that achievable and measurable team building games are often far better accepted than others. At least in our cases. Thanks for your post, anyway. Regards, Matija, Slovenia

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