9 Effective Sales Contest Ideas to Motivate Your Team
This article is part of a larger series on Sales Management.
Well-designed sales contests are fun, healthy ways to motivate your sales team to hit and surpass individual and team goals. By creating a competition with rewards and incentives, sales reps are encouraged to fulfill organizational sales goals by completing the objectives in the sales contest. In this article, we explore nine sales contest ideas to increase revenue and inspire your team to achieve your goals with the best use case scenarios:
- Getting the most “no’s”: Best for sales teams looking to increase their reps input and effort
- Lead generation competition: Great for teams trying to get a quick pool of new leads
- “Biggest loser” sales contest: Excellent for sales managers who want to make sure everyone is giving their best during the competition
- Production-focused contest: For businesses looking for a straightforward way to motivate revenue or deal-based production
- Team-based “leave early Friday”: Solid choice for larger businesses that want to encourage frequent competition between different sales teams
- Most improved challenge: For pushing inexperienced or lagging sales reps to improve their performance
- Milestone contest: Best for pushing all reps to new performance tiers
- Cold-calling race: Great for encouraging effort for sales development and inside sales teams
- Behavior enforcement contest: Terrific initiative to encourage a desired behavior such as adopting new software, completing data entries, or participating in sales training
1. Getting the Most ‘No’s’
This particular sales contest is based on one of the main principles of sales where the more “no’s” you get, the closer you get to a yes. Conduct this contest for inside reps doing cold-calling campaigns, account executives trying to finalize a pending deal, or account managers making upselling or cross-selling attempts. Regardless, whoever gets the most rejections or “no’s” in the set time period wins the contest.
Getting the most “no’s” encourages effort by your reps as it has no skills-based requirements nor is it evaluated based on production metrics such as leads generated or deals closed. The winner is simply the person who dials the most on the phone or sends the most emails to get the most “no’s.”
Tracking each “no” is straightforward. If a lead isn’t interested in moving on to the next stage of the sales process, it’s a no. While you can manually have each rep track this, you can also use customer relationship management (CRM) software with activity reporting. Freshsales, for instance, is a CRM with built-in calling and call logging capabilities. Users can make calls and then log the result, informing you of whether or not a “no” took place.
2. Lead Generation Competition
This sales contest idea is for businesses looking for a spike in new sales opportunities by holding a lead generation competition. To set even parameters, give each rep a contact list of prospects who are a solid fit for your product or service but have not yet connected with your business.
The reps can then contact those on the list in whichever fashion they wish. Lead generation is qualified if the lead expresses an interest in pricing, moves onto the next sales pipeline stage, or agrees on a presentation or product demo. You might even impose a point system where more points are awarded to different types of leads generated for a particular industry or larger deal size.
CRM software offers an excellent way to track this contest because lead data added to your CRM system can be sorted based on the rep or user who added it. HubSpot, for example, lets you generate custom reports which can populate data sets such as new leads added and have them organized by each sales rep.
3. ‘Biggest Loser’ Sales Contest
If sales contests are structured improperly, a top performer could get ahead of the competition early and prevent other participants exerting effort. This is why a “biggest loser” sales contest work well because rather than reward the top performer, you set a minor punishment for the person who takes last each week or month.
You can do this by tracking sales activities such as completed cold calls, or production metrics like deals closed. As long as each rep aims to not finish in last place, you ensure even your lowest performer gives their best effort.
Each period, the loser has to do a minor punishment such as donate a small amount of money to a company party fund or charity. Keep the consequence at a minimum so that the participants care less about the punishment and more about the title of who is the loser.
4. Production-focused Contest
A production-focused contest means that the person with the most deals closed or revenue generated wins. It is arguably the most traditional sales competition idea. However, because of the longevity of certain sales processes, this fun sales contest should be done over a longer term, such as each quarter or each fiscal year. But by spreading it out longer, you keep the excitement high as someone with a hot month could make a comeback.
Make sure the prize for winning or placing in this contest is worthwhile. A few additional paid time off (PTO) days or a huge cash bonus are excellent rewards to boost morale among sales reps. While a CRM can be used to track the results, sales gamification software that integrates with a CRM is also an excellent option for running this contest.
For example, SalesScreen is a gamification tool that lets you set up healthy competitions between individuals and teams on various objectives, such as deals closed or revenue created. Through integration with a CRM, the activity and production data from the CRM can be synchronized with the gamification system to show real-time results on the dashboard.
5. Team-based ‘Leave Early Friday’
A weekly campaign that encourages collaboration and mentorship between experienced and newer sales reps can be classified as a team-based competition. Set a sales metric such as leads generated, calls made, deals closed, or total sales revenue and see which team can do the most each week. The winning team members all get to leave early on the Friday the contest concludes.
You can even raise the stakes toward the end of each fiscal quarter by allowing the winning team to take a whole Friday off. Regardless, reps will often put their best foot forward to ensure their team won’t be disappointed in them—especially when an incentive like time off is on the line.
6. Most Improved Challenge
Sales management personnel can use a most improved challenge to help individual reps achieve new sales performance heights. For this sales contest, compare an activity or production-based performance metric over the course of a month, quarter, or year with a previous but equal period of time. Rather than put individuals or teams against each other, each rep is competing against themselves, particularly their past performance.
At the end of the competition, the person with the highest proportional growth or improvement wins the prize. To encourage an equal playing field, you could also use milestones rather than a set winner. For example, everyone who achieves X% improvement wins a prize. This allows even your highest-performing reps to still get an incentive when they perform even better.
Track this quarterly or monthly sales contest idea using a CRM software like Pipedrive that offers plenty of report customization. When constructing the reports at the end of each contest period, you can view and compare the productivity of an individual rep to the previous time period and calculate the total improvement through the CRM.
7. Milestone Contest
Sales managers often create a contest where only one or a few reps win out of dozens of participants. The problem with this structure is that if one person makes a huge sales early, that blows away the competition, making other participants less eager to keep building momentum. This makes a milestone contest valuable since anyone can earn a prize as long as they hit the milestone instead of directly competing with others.
For example, do a quarterly deals-closed competition that doesn’t reward the person who finalizes the most sales, but every person who closes at least 20 deals. There’s even the option for tiers, which gives higher incentives for the next milestones, such as a $2,000 bonus for 20 deals, a $5,000 bonus for 40 deals, and $9,000 for 60 deals. This encourages everyone to continue performing their best as they can get a reward regardless of how others perform.
CRMs and performance management tools let you easily track target milestones in relation to actual performance. Zoho CRM, for instance, lets managers set targets or tiered milestones in relation to how much production has actually been completed. These numbers can be viewed on the system’s dashboard or through a customizable report.
8. Cold-calling Race
Rather than rewarding sales reps for how many tasks they complete, measure a contest based on how quickly they perform work, improving their efficiency. For instance, set up a cold-calling race where the first person or top group to make a certain number of cold calls wins and gets to go home early for the day. You can base it on a number over their sales quota, such as 20 additional calls for the day above the 40 call quota, for 60 total.
Keep the competition’s integrity by only counting calls that are answered by the contact. Many employees can get a standard workday’s number of tasks completed in six, five, or even four hours if given the incentive—which is why this competition works so well. Like you would with many of these sales contests, track the results using the CRM activity reporting and confirm legitimate calls using the call logging features mentioned earlier.
9. Behavior Enforcement Contest
Sales contests don’t necessarily have to revolve around encouraging direct sales activities. These initiatives are also great for encouraging or enforcing behaviors within your sales operations, such as fully adopting new sales technology, consistently entering or updating data in a CRM, collaborating more on opportunities and tasks, or completing sales training.
Many of these competitions are used to build and reinforce components of a robust sales culture. To create this office sales contest idea, start by identifying the objective in terms of which specific behavior(s) you wish to enforce. Next, create the incentive or prize and inform the participants of your contest of its associated objective and reward, then monitor the results.
A behavior enforcement contest isn’t as easy to measure compared to the other ones on this list. For many activities, you’ll need to sort of eyeball whether or not a new tool is being used, if data is constantly updated, or if more team collaboration is taking place. You can, however, track certain tasks such as completing training modules on project management tools.
Trello, for instance, is an easy-to-use project management software that allows users to create projects with their subsequent tasks on custom boards and monitor their completion progress. Users can also collaborate on tasks by communicating and sharing resources directly on the project board or within the individual task cards.
Sales Contest Statistics
When it comes to the effectiveness of utilizing sales contests and gamification in the workplace, don’t just take our word for it. Here are some statistics about sales contests that tell the story of how it can help your business:
- On average, employees experience a 60% increase in engagement through a gamified work experience and competition.
- As much as 7x higher conversion rates can be attained by using sales contests and sales gamification.
- Rewards programs and corporate recognition are shown to yield a nearly 2.5x increase in revenue.
- Surprisingly, 65% of employees prefer a non-cash reward for contests and competitions.
- In a famous example, the software company Autodesk saw a usage rate increase of 40% and a conversion rate increase of 15% from implementing gamification and sales contests.
Competitions can accelerate both organizational and individual performance through incentives and rewards. These sales contest ideas will help you improve various areas of your sales metrics and operations, whether that be an input of effort or output of sales production in the form of revenue. By structuring your sales contests properly and taking advantage of CRMs and gamification tools for tracking, you will increase team motivation and productivity.