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The High Five: A Sales Team Secret Weapon

Why the 'high-five' can be your secret weapon for maintaining elite sales culture inside your sales force. What we found about how recognition and gratitude is proven to drive success.

Don't think Culture is a lever for sales success? I've got some ocean front property in Arizona for you. 

Recognition and High Fives are the Secret Weapons of great Sales Leaders. Here's how Steve Nash helped inspire Ambition's new Salesforce + Slack integration.

sales high five

For a few years (okay, really like 5 years) I have been really fascinated by what amounts to an “urban legend” for basketball fans.

The basis of the legend was that the infamous “7 Seconds or Less” Phoenix Suns in the mid-00s - a phenomenally fun, high scoring, and thrilling team to watch - shared more “High Fives” than any other team in the league.

It actually went one level further: the team’s point guard, Steve Nash - who was the maestro of their offense and 2-time league Most Valuable Player during their successful run - gave out hundreds of high fives per game himself.

The High Five: Unsung Hero of Winning Team Culture

I started thinking about the Sun’s High Five “urban legend” when the Ambition team started internally beta testing our Slack integration for sales teams. The product idea was simple: when great events or milestones are reached, automagically alert the Sales team in Slack.

Of course, in practice, the functionality is way broader - allowing sales leaders to create intelligent triggers from Salesforce data. For example creating powerful positive feedback loops, or flashing a proverbial warning light when reps have gone off track, or providing an encouraging “almost there” when goals for a team or group are within reach. But you can read about all that here. Imagine automated high-fives or 20 second timeouts from the coach.

Back to Steve Nash and the Sun’s super power: the High Five.

sales team high five

One of the things I remember about that Sun’s team was it was obvious how much fun they were having. In terms of style of play,  faster is tends to be synonymous with more fun, but the team went way beyond that. You could tell they were enjoying playing together.

Well, while doing some research for our Slack integration launch - we stumbled across 2 stats:

  • High-performing teams share 6 times more positive feedback than others.

    • What’s type of feedback is more obviously positive than a High Five?

  • 28% of small wins trigger powerful emotional responses in employees. 

    • It doesn’t matter the milestone - any small win can be celebrated and have impact

(You can read more about that research in our Agile Sales Management Playbook)

That’s research really provided the basis of my theory: High Fives can be your Sales Team’s secret weapon. A. We know high performing teams are sharing way more positive feedback than others. B. We know even small wins can create excitement and engagement.

As managers and coaches, why are we not continually looking for opportunities to High Five our teams?

Well, with our Slack integration for Ambition (and therefore any activity or objective being saved in Salesforce) you can supercharge your culture and the performance of your sales orgs.

For a sales team, Slack is the perfect place to centrally recognize and celebrate achievement or major milestones. Ambition provides the real-time KPI tracking from Salesforce, allows you to build the intelligent triggers, and ultimately pushes those alerts to the Slack channel you choose (or your custom TV display).

Oh, and about the whole High Five “urban legend”. This is what we call a fact. I found actual segment footage of a Suns intern who tracked the number of High Fives Steve Nash was dishing out per game.


Two hundred and thirty-nine. Per game.

Even better, a UC Berkeley manuscript covered the phenomenon of “player touches” and its impact on team success. And can you guess the result?

That’s right. The study found the best NBA teams touch more often than less successful peers.

The High Five. Your new secret weapon. (Thanks to Steve Nash for being the inspiration for this post and an generally awesome). 

Learn About Ambition's Salesforce-Slack Integration

Visit our early registration page and learn more about how Ambition helps Salesforce clients created real-time public recognition for their reps using live data triggers inside of Salesforce. Let us help you bring more high-fives to your sales organization for 2017 and beyond. 

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About Ambition
Sales Leaders, HR Professionals, and C-Level Executives use Ambition to recognize, motivate, and develop employees into more engaged and productive versions of themselves. Funded by Google, used by the Fortune 500, endorsed by the Harvard Business Review.

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