It’s February. The coldest time of the year, last month of winter, and period where your reps are most vulnerable to the winter doldrums.

If you started off 2017 with a massive Sales Kickoff, now is the time to lock in and make sure the momentum you launched the year with doesn’t get sidetracked by shivering temperatures and a sales force starving for Vitamin D.

The following are 3 tried-and-true strategies to implement not only in late winter, but in any crucial time of year where seasonal and cultural conditions threaten sales team focus and motivation. Because whether it’s mid-February or the dog days of summer, it’s never a good time for Mother Nature get in the way of hitting quota.

Strategy #1. Designate Player-Coaches.

The Strategy: Designate worthy reps as team captains and player-coaches and set up a strategy to build peer-to-peer accountability.

How It Works: This strategy combines individual recognition, positive reinforcement and the element of surprise. Pick reps who are team-oriented and performing well, but have yet to be assigned a true leadership role in your company. Sales leaders should select these reps carefully and meet with them 1:1 to inform them of their selection, followed by announcing their appointments at an all-hands meeting.

These reps should serve as de facto assistant coaches chosen to advance team camaraderie and rep development. By launching this initiative, you’re driving engagement and accountability, rewarding high performers and team players and injecting new energy into your sales force. The key is setting a game plan for weekly/bi-weekly check-ins with your new team leaders and being strategic with how you announce the initiative, select your team leaders and compensate them for their efforts.

Real-World Example: To see how sales organizations use software like Ambition to drive sales team accountability and create peer leadership, check out this explainer video narrated by Outreach Sales Development Manager Alex Lynn.

Strategy #2. Create Fresh Incentives.

The Strategy: Announce a unique new incentive or set of incentives tied to key performance goals.

February is a great month to get creative with your employee recognition and sales incentives strategies. If you sense your sales incentives have been vanilla, now is the time to change that. These new incentives don’t have to be expensive – they should be designed to focus more on “shocking the senses” so to speak via personalization, timeliness, and uniqueness. In addition, they should be attached to lower-tier objectives for your sales team’s key metrics, divvied out more frequently, and tailored towards something as simple as progress to goal, high daily activity, or a new sales contest. The clearer, more tangible, and more achievable, the better.

Real-World Example: For ideas as to what these look like, check out this experiential incentive offered by Drew Woodcock, VP of Sales at Los Angeles Business Journal 2016 “Best Place to Work,” ChowNow.

Strategy #3. Run Bold Competitions.

The Strategy: Announce a unique new sales contest.

If you’re going to run a sales contest, traditionally “down” months for sales force energy are the perfect times to do so. As we’ve profiled in our Winner’s Guide to Running Effective Sales Contests, the keys to a successful sales competition are to compete on metrics that matter, engage the entire sales team, and offer a fresh take on traditional competition formats. Professional and collegiate sports can offer great inspiration for the latter component. Whether it’s the Super Bowl, March Madness or fantasy sports, major sports events are going to be the talk of the office and can be retrofit for the purposes of a sales competition.

Real-World Example: For an example of a sales contest that did all three (and worked in bold new incentives), here’s one run by Cell Marque Director of Sales and Tactical Marketing, Lauren Hopson.

New Ways to Drive Sales Team Motivation and Focus

Companies like Base and Ambition specialize in helping sales leaders create data-driven sales environments. Whether you elect to run one or more of the above initiatives or create your own strategy, be sure to power it with real-time, insightful and compelling sales performance data. The more crystal clear and real time the metrics, the better. Whether it’s sports or sales, a team is always going to try its hardest when the stakes are high, everyone’s watching, and the entire team knows the rules of the game, what they need to do win, how much time is left on the clock, and the current score.

For a list of 112 software tools – complete with links, pricing, and original writeups – that can help your sales organization stay on the winning path, download the The 2017 Trends and Tech Guide for B2B Sales and Marketing, written by Prezi, LeadGenius and Ambition.