5 types of sales contests to motivate employees—with examples

Sales contests and competitions are one of the most effective ways to motivate sales teams to perform.

Well-conceived contests are an easy way to boost morale, improve performance amongst low- to average-achieving sales reps, and increase overall sales activity.

The benefits of sales contests are enjoyed by both managers and agents alike. Reps enjoy the competitive aspect—and managers love the results! Holding regular sales competitions entice, engage, and incentivize your sales reps to blow away their targets and perform like never before!

Below you will discover five types of sales contests that have been proven to motivate agents and unlock new levels of achievement within sales teams.

Things to consider when designing a sales contest

Sales reps face an incessant cycle of cold calling, following up, repeating the same pitch, and chasing seemingly unattainable leads. The right types of sales competitions can reignite the waning enthusiasm that’s sure to rear its head after months spent repeating these tasks.

Sales contests ignite people’s competitive spirit and help make daily duties fun and rewarding, which helps keep sales reps motivated and engaged in their work.

When developing a sales competition, it’s important to come up with contest ideas and rewards and recognition ideas that will motivate the entire team—not just reward your top performers. With this in mind, it’s important to build your sales contest around metrics other than ‘highest revenue.’ Otherwise, your sales competition runs the risk of alienating and demotivating your low- or middle-performers. If your top reps take an early lead (which they often will), the rest of the team will feel like they can’t catch up — and they’ll simply stop trying.

Check out this useful list of common sales contest mistakes to avoid, and get your whole team on board and performing like never before!

Sales contests that focus on top-of-funnel activity—like the number of demos booked or calls made—reward action. Therefore these types of sales contests can be a great equalizer, giving everyone a chance to outperform their targets and prevail! These sales competitions reward hard work and can be the quick win that’s needed to motivate new or struggling reps. They can also stimulate your top performers, who have may have been relying on a strong pipeline, to go back to basics—which can benefit your entire organization.

Sales competitions and games are a method of positive reinforcement that can take on many forms. Focus on the metrics that align with your business goals, and work to create a contest around those.

5 types of sales contests

Here are five effective sales contest ideas to motivate employees, are easy to run, and repeatedly yield impressive results!

1. Head-to-head sales competitions

head to head sales contests boost productivity

In a head-to-head sales contest, one team member challenges another to a ‘duel.’ These types of sales competitions are often KPI-based—for example, who books the most meetings.

The incentive can be tangible—like a tech gadget, gift card, or a monetary bonus—but rewards don’t always have to be material. Sales contest prizes like getting to leave early on Fridays for a month or dibs on the best parking spot can also be fun and effective motivators.

2. Team sales contests

In these types of sales competitions, all team members compete against one another for the top spot! These sales contests can be tied to virtually any KPI—for example, the number of leads generated, deals closed, outbound calls made, or meetings scheduled.

For added impact, you can create a dashboard—like those visualized on Plecto—or a team leaderboard and use conditional colors to show how each team member is progressing against their goal(s). This makes it easy for everyone to see how far they have to go before they take the lead, which stokes motivation and keeps energy levels high!

3. Team vs. team sales competitions

team vs team sales competitions

Team vs. team sales competitions are one of the best remote sales contest ideas for teams sitting in different locations or departments.

These types of sales contests challenge teams to compete across locations or departments to win a shared prize—like a pizza party or a bowling night. For example, teams in Denmark, France, and the United States could compete to achieve the highest total sales during the contest period.

4. Pop-up sales contests

Pop-up sales contests are a perfect way to reignite dwindling motivation, level the playing field, and reward activity-based performance. Pick a sales metric (e.g., most calls made, most demos booked, most emails sent) and announce the competition in the morning. In this type of contest, nobody has a competitive advantage and everyone has to hustle if they want to win. Prizes for this type of sales contest can be smaller—things like lottery tickets and restaurant gift cards are enough to keep things interesting without being overkill.

5. The “biggest loser” wins sales contests

This is a fun sales contest that drives activity-based performance, motivating reps to fill that sales funnel! Not your traditional sales competition, this one rewards rejection while encouraging action. In this sales competition, whoever gets the most “no’s” during the contest period wins. The more contacts a rep makes, the higher their chances of winning either deals or your “biggest loser wins” sales contest.

It’s a fantastic way to help reps who easily feel defeated, clear the dead weight from your pipeline, and have a little fun.

Watch what happens next

To get the lowdown on how to work these sales contest ideas into your organization, you can read more here. Then, try a few contests out amongst your team and see what happens!

The types of sales contests you can run are only limited by your imagination — or your team’s imagination. Give everyone a say by asking them to suggest sales competition ideas and sales contest prizes. This makes everyone feel invested and might even open your eyes to what truly motivates your team.

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