• sales contest
  • sales contest benefits
  • sales contest prizes

17 Elite sales contest ideas to fire up your sales team

  • May 26, 2022
  • By Amen Mpofu

Let’s say Mary is the marketing manager at a large car dealership. She wants to foster friendly competition between her salespeople, so she organizes a sales contest every month. They compete against each other for the best month’s performance and whoever wins gets a bonus.

What other sales contest ideas and prizes can you use like Mary? How can your sellers benefit from games like these? How can you run them with success? Continue to dive into sales contest ideas to learn more.

What do sales contests mean?

Sales contests are a type of incentive program to galvanize your sales team to perform better. They can take many forms, but they all have one thing in common: they help track your team’s performance. 

A good way to think about sales contests is as a way to measure and reward your reps’ performance continuously. You can set up a contest at any time during the year. 

But they’re most effective when you start using them early in the year. And continue implementing them throughout (ideally with different types of contests at various times).

How do sales contests work?

Sales contests usually have two parts: a competition phase, where team members compete against each other. You also have an evaluation phase, where you assess everyone based on their performance during the competition phase.

Competition Phase

You design the competition phase around a prize or reward. The winner of the game gets the first pick of their next assignment or bonus or a non-cash incentive. 

Evaluation Phase     

This stage involves assessing the sales contest’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s vital because it helps identify what you need to improve on in the next contest. It also helps to determine what has been successful, and what you can replicate in future competitions.

In a  nutshell, the primary aims of a sales contest are:

  • Elevate the performance of underperformers or low achievers.
  • Boost the team’s overall team activity.
  • Foster your salespeople’s morale.

17 Sales contest ideas

sales contest ideas

Now let’s dig deeper into what a good competition looks like. We’ll give you several brilliant ideas you can use right away.

1. Cold call blitz contest

It entails offering prizes for new business development activities and results. These include metrics, such as emails sent, prospecting calls made, or new accounts opened during the contest time frame. To be fun and challenging, focus on multiple activity numbers. 

A seller who achieves the highest metrics in different activities wins the game.  This contest is best for inside sales teams. 

2.  Biz Dev pipeline competition

The top sales rep (or team) who builds the largest pipeline is awarded the prize! Alternatively, the contest can follow a specific business objective or goal to build a specific number of qualified leads for the month. It’s ideal for outbound sales teams.

3. Biz Dev competition

You can also design a sales contest to encourage your team to develop new business. For example, you can base the game on new accounts onboarded, products sold to existing clients, and other metrics aligned with business objectives. For example, you can assess how well your sellers use cross-selling strategies to boost revenue. 

The game is perfect for inside sales teams.

4. The most no’s contest

It’s a straightforward competition that rewards the salesperson who receives more no’s in a specific month. The contest recognizes that anyone on the team can get bogged down, so it incentivizes those who may feel rejected. It’s an excellent way to lift the spirits of discouraged reps and move deals stuck in the pipeline.

5. Sales channel contest

Hold multiple sales contests to fire up different channels, e.g., inside vs. outside reps, front-line vs. management, cashier vs. manager, etc. For example, a team vs. team can involve booking the most meetings in separate territories.  A team that gets the most meetings scheduled in a week, etc., clinches the prize. 

Outbound and inbound sales can participate in this contest.

6. Rep. vs. rep contest

Another variation of the above game is pitting sellers. Two reps can contest in a head-to-head game around a specific metric, such as demos made, deals closed, etc. Make it more thrilling by asking them to put their money in to match what your company has provided. 

It can be a formal competition that managers organize or an informal one, where salespeople do it by themselves. It’s perfect for inside and outside sales teams.

7. The daily prize

Inspire your team by holding random daily competitions that are open to everyone. Any rep who puts in plenty of effort in achieving particular goals can walk away with a reward.  You can run these contests on the days/weeks when sales dip, so your reps get some much-needed cranking up.

Buy and wrap any odd prizes, stack them up somewhere in a meeting room, and let the winner open them. However, no one should know what the gifts contain. It’ll add more fun and create a lot of expectations. Sellers can also opt to keep the presents or not.

Inbound and outbound teams can take part in this game.

8. Football fantasy contest

Want to add more fuel to your contests? You can conduct competitions during the football season. To be successful, you need to choose a specific season where your salespeople will compete for week-to-week. Ensure that you create teams, and monitor and assess their performance.

Inside sales teams can benefit from these contests- they become more productive.

9. Sales poker 

Use this contest to inject some spark into your sales team. You need 52 cards and whoever gets 5 cards by the end of the game is the winner. To earn each card, each participant needs to hit specific goals. It’s a brilliant way of involving everyone on the team because even low performers can win. 

It’s ideal for outbound reps.

10. Self vs. self sales contest

In this game, your reps compete with their previous performance to see if they can surpass it. Before you roll out the fun activities, have a chat with your seller about what they need to improve, the metrics, and the benchmarks. During the sales game, display their progress on a TV wall board to create a sense of personal ownership.

The competition is best for inside sales teams.

11.  The most improved

It’s a simple sales contest to elevate the motivation of the least successful reps. You zero in on those who perform much better in reaching a specific milestone or hitting their sales quota. You can also spice up the game by rewarding sellers who hit their scorecard goals.

Activity scorecards show the rep’s daily or weekly activities and metrics. Including them in games promotes excellent activity habits. And any team can benefit from this contest.

12. Advanced metric competition

While it’s a great idea to focus on activity numbers, advanced metrics can be a game changer. Sellers can compete over challenging stats, such as conversion rates. To execute this competition well, select the most crucial metric for your reps. It must be a number that needs a huge push.

You can either run a weekly or monthly contest. Ensure the incentive is more compelling and enticing. The game is perfect for sales development teams.

13. The team trophy

In this contest, you can pair or group top sellers with underperformers or those who’re struggling to crush their goals. Your goal is to award prizes for improved performance. Reps who enhance the results of their team members can get more points. 

Your star sellers won’t benefit much but will work harder to push their partners to win. In this way, they can share their best skills with weak sellers. The contest is best for outbound teams.

14. Sales team scavenger hunt/Sales bingo

This is a highly charged game where you encourage sellers with different expertise to work together for a common objective. For example, some salespeople are good at discovery calls, pitches, demos, etc. Two or more reps can team up to drive sales of a new product, find new opportunities for an existing product, etc. 

Teams that collaborate and rock their predetermined metrics or objectives become winners. Outside and inside sales teams can take part in this scavenger hunt.

15. The Shakespeare/The best selling strategy

This activity is a brilliant way to promote the sharing of the best-selling tactics. It could be closing deals, creating killer pitches, emails, or anything that can hone your team’s performance. After submitting or discussing their strategies, sellers can vote on the best ones. 

The winner wears Shakespeare’s doublet or any piece of the attire of an ancient celebrity in your locality. 

16. Sales brackets

Also called sales madness or March madness, the sales competition involves dividing your team into brackets. The idea is that participants must outsell each other and the winner in the first round moves to the next. Each round can last for a week. 

Finally, you’ll end up with the overall prizewinner after all the stages have been completed. Consider rewarding the runner-up, too. 

17. Retention contest

It’s a sales contest that grants a prize to a seller who has maintained selling opportunities with the most customers. Or they’ve been able to retain many clients monthly, quarterly, or annually. Your company can benefit from improved customer retention rates. 

Also read: The complete guide to understanding sales motivation

7 Sales contest prize ideas

sales contest prizes

What prizes can you offer winners in your competitions? Here are some examples of rewards you should try. Also, find out from your participants what they would prefer to walk away with in a contest through a survey.

1. Vacation Days

Who wouldn’t want a day off from work? Your hardworking reps would appreciate it if they could get a free vacation as an incentive in a contest. It gives them lots of time to unwind and refresh. This prize is great for big and irregular games. 

2. Cash Prize

You can also award contestants cash or additional pay on a paycheck. But note that you should prearrange with your accounting department to greenlight the amount. Monetary prizes are ideal for extended sales contests. 

3. Free personal growth

A sales contest prize could also be an opportunity for the winner to learn a new skill. They can attend a free seminar or any career development program at your cost. Bear in mind some reps, especially your champs may see no value in such pieces of training. 

4. Gift card

This incentive is another brilliant way to support your local businesses, such as gas suppliers, restaurants, etc.  Participants can purchase what they want at the selected stores using gift cards.

5. Electrical gadgets

Examples of electrical devices you can give away to competitors include tablets, laptops, fitness watches, etc.  Also, consider offering what your business sells. For example, you can award garden tools if you are into that business. 

6. Floating trophy

This type of sales contest prize is rotational as it passes from one winner to another weekly or monthly. The champ can keep it as long as they keep topping the charts. Because it provides some celebrity status, team members will fight hard to win and showcase it. Blend this reward with a monetary prize or a gift card to add more fun.

7. Appreciative meals

Offering a free lunch or meal for the prizewinner is another excellent way to reward them. They can choose where they want to enjoy their meal, but you need to know the costs beforehand.

Tips on planning a sales contest

tips to plan sales contest

Sales contests are challenging because they require a lot of time and effort from all parties involved. If you want your sales contest to be successful, here are some tips:

  • Use sales contest prizes that motivate your team.
  • Set up a sales contest goal that’s challenging and achievable.
  • Offer progress rewards to keep teams engaged during the contest period.
  • Encourage friendly competition with intra-team competitions.
  • Recognize top performers outside of the sales contest to encourage reps to bring their A-game all year long.
  • Motivate weak performers by focusing on activity metrics.
  • Zero in on enhancing performance instead of concentrating on sales.
  • Ensure everyone knows what they’re doing — and why.
  • Set clear goals and expectations for each round of the contest.
  • Make sure your sales reps understand how their performance will be evaluated and rewarded (i.e., what constitutes a win).
  • Survey your team after the sales contest is over so you can plan future contests that keep your employees motivated and engaged.

Benefits of sales contests

sales contest benefits

Sales contests are an excellent way to motivate sales teams and help them perform better.

  • They can make reps want to do better for their team and themselves. Sellers are competitive by nature and want to win the contest.
  • Contests incentivize reps to work harder, smarter, and more efficiently.
  • Competitions are fair because everyone has an equal chance of winning them. There is no bias towards any particular rep or team due to favoritism in judging winners.
  • Sales contests can help your organization get new ideas from the salespeople on how they can improve their performance.
  • They provide an easy way to track performance by giving points for each sale, lead, or other metrics. It allows your company to set goals and have a clear picture of its overall performance.
  • Contests help generate creative ideas for new products and services. 
  • They encourage sellers to take risks and think outside of the box. It can lead to higher sales numbers in the long run.

The 2019 Sales Performance Survey from Ambition.com indicates that sales contests inspire 21% of millennial sellers. It also states that sales games provide them with creative platforms to compete against each other.

Start your sales contests right now!

Want to inspire your salespeople? Sales contests can ignite your teams’ passion and enthusiasm. You can use them to increase the sales team’s performance and company revenue, and provide a sense of competition among reps.

Also read: 83 Sales motivational quotes that will fire up sales reps

Don’t forget to share!

Written by Amen Mpofu

Amen Mpofu is a zestful SEO writer specializing in creating life-changing content. He’s also an author of two books, available on Amazon.

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