30 Sales Contest Ideas and Incentives to Motivate Your Sales Floor
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30 Sales Contest Ideas and Incentives to Motivate Your Sales Floor

Brilliant sales contest ideas can motivate your sales team to reach unprecedented heights.

Sales competitions tap into core aspects of human psychology, unearthing new levels of drive, focus, and energy in your sales reps.

The virtues of healthy competition are well-documented.

According to Psychology Today, “good competitiveness is the drive to accomplish a goal, bring out the best in individuals, [and] help them understand themselves.”

In their article The Psychology Behind Competition: Why Incentives Work, Gavel Intel finds that “healthy competition is effective because it encourages people to work hard and do their best […] It also provides validation and recognition for top performers and motivation and accountability for slackers.”

The best sales contest ideas unlock these behavioral tendencies. They elevate your team and challenge them to be their best.

Here are 30 proven ideas for running and incentivizing your next sales competition.

30 Sales Contest Ideas and Incentives to Motivate Your Team

The best sales contest ideas and incentives take your team to the next level.

We compiled 30 of them in this deep-dive article – choose freely and implement these in your sales team.

  1. SQL Sales Contest
  2. Manager Vs Team
  3. Beat the Competition
  4. Biggest Deal
  5. Commission Spike Sales Incentive
  6. Mega Call Blitz
  7. Team Vs. Team
  8. Rep Vs Rep
  9. Team Sales Incentive
  10. Target Account
  11. Fantasy Football-Style
  12. Office Vs Office
  13. Tournament
  14. Manager Vs Manager
  15. Self Vs Self
  16. Money Chamber Sales Incentive
  17. Raffle
  18. Green Jacket
  19. Advanced Metric
  20. Poker
  21. Choose Your Own Sales Incentive
  22. Early Weekend
  23. Most Improved
  24. Experiential Sales Incentive
  25. Meetings Blitz
  26. Referral Drive
  27. Championship Belt
  28. President’s Club
  29. Best Close
  30. Quota Crusher

1) SQL Sales Contest

Description: It’s time to get creative with the metrics you are competing on. Revenue and dials made are great, but try working in critical metrics like SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads) or Opportunities created. This works primarily well in sales development teams where those metrics are as critical as direct revenue generation is to traditional sales teams.

How This Works: Choose a week or month to run the contest. Create a major monetary incentive. Track SQLs created by each rep – most SQLs generated at the end of the time frame wins.

What You’ll Need: A robust CRM for tracking. Codification for what constitutes an SQL.

Best For: Sales Development Teams.

2) Manager Vs Team Sales Contest

Description: Want to fire up the troops? Pit a manager versus your reps to see who hustles the hardest for deals. Reps respond well to this sales contest format, as it puts the manager in their shoes for a day and creates a sense of even playing field.

How This Works: Pick a day or afternoon where your manager is able to jump into the trenches with your reps. Choose a metric (for example, calls made or talk time). Announce the competition ahead of time. Set the stakes – provide a team incentive if a rep wins and a manager incentive if the manager wins.

What You’ll Need: Robust tracking of the metric you’re competing on.

Best For: Large Call Centers.

3) Beat the Competition Sales Contest

Description: Who has won the most deals versus a competitor (or competitors)? Keep track, recognize and reward your competitor-killers. This sales competition also lends itself greatly to internal mind-sharing on competitor intelligence.

How This Works: Choose a competitor or competitors. Create a specific metric for wins against competitors. Log wins and compete over a specific time period, such as a month.

What You’ll Need: A clear definition of your competitors. Strong tracking of deals that involve them.

Best For: Sales teams selling in hyper-competitive, commoditized markets.

4) Biggest Deal Sales Contest

Sales Contest Ideas: Sales Leaderboard
Image source: Ambition

Description: Whale hunting? Going upmarket? Incentivize reps to shoot for the moon with a sales contest focused around winning the biggest deal in terms of revenue amount.

How This Works: Start this contest at the beginning of the month. Announce it ahead of time. Attach a major financial incentive for reps. Use a leaderboard to track the results.

What You’ll Need: Depending on the size of your team, a whiteboard or a CRM with solid reporting.

Best For: Enterprise sales teams.

5) Commission Spike Sales Incentive

Description: Raise your commission-size for the day (or week) to spur closing motions from reps. Watch them respond.

How This Works: This sales incentive needs to be a surprise move. Announce it effective immediately and adjust your compensation reporting accordingly.

What You’ll Need: Stellar compensation reporting. Pipelines filled with leads waiting to be closed.

Best For: Inside sales teams.

6) Mega Call Blitz

Description: Take the stakes and terms of your standard Sales Performance Incentive Fund (SPIF). Amp them up significantly.

How This Works: Start with your basic SPIF format. Double or triple the length of the contest and the incentives attached to it. For example, go from one a one-hour call blitz SPIF for $100 to a three-hour call blitz SPIF for $300.

What You’ll Need: Robust call tracking and analytics software (we happen to be fans of Nextiva).

Best For: Inside sales teams.

7) Team Vs Team Sales Contest

Description: Winning is more fun when you do it as a team. You’ll raise the level of teamwork and peer-to-peer coaching on your sales floor overnight.

How this works: Put two teams against one another on a given sales metric and offer a compelling team incentive to the winner. Pro-tip: we recommend creating an even distribution of talent across each team.

What You’ll Need: Sales gamification software is particularly helpful for this. Here’s a list of some of the best sales gamification platforms from our friends at G2 Crowd.

Best For: Segmented sales teams.

8) Rep Vs Rep Sales Contest

Description: Let your reps compete in a head-to-head matchup over a specific sales metric. Add fuel to the fire by having them put their own money up, then matching it from the company side. This is a great practice for fostering healthy, everyday competition on your sales floor.

How this works: These sales contests can be run ad hoc by managers or launched by reps themselves. Any timeframe — from one hour to one month – will work.

What You’ll Need: Strong sales performance tracking within your CRM.

Best For: Inside sales teams.

9) Team Sales Incentive

Description: United your team stands. Divided, they fall. This sales contest idea is another great way to incentivize teamwork and collaboration on your sales floor.

How this works: Set a team goal on a specific metric. Offer a team-wide reward for hitting it. Announce the contest to your reps, then let it rip.

What You’ll Need: Reliable reporting on your team performance metric of choice.

Best For: Inside sales teams.

10) Target Account Sales Contest

Description: Perfect for account based sales divisions. Pick your target logos and reward the rep who takes down the most.

How this works: Who are the major target logos you have in play for the month or the quarter? List them out for each rep. Set an incentive. The one who takes down the most logos at the end of the specific time frame wins.

What You’ll Need: Target account lists (preferably ones that are viable opportunities).

This Sales Contest Works Best For: Account based sales teams.

11) Fantasy Football-Style Sales Contest

Description: Fantasy football can be a productivity killer for your sales team during football season. Flip the script with a motivational sales contest co-opting the zeitgeist.

How this works: To run this contest, you need to score rep performance, track it in real-time, create teams, and schedule a season where teams compete week-to-week.

What You’ll Need: This is another sales contest idea where some combination of CRM and sales gamification software will serve you well.

Best For: Inside sales teams.

In Real Life: Our friends at the Harvard Business Review have endorsed the fantasy football sales contest idea for its impact on team performance and camaraderie. Fortune 1000 home builder Clayton Homes achieved insane ROI from running a 3-month contest using Ambition to score reps and compete on live TV wall boards.

12) Office Vs Office Sales Contest

Description: Have multiple sales offices? Perfect. It’s time to let them compete to see who is the best at a given metric. Reward the office who wins with bragging rights plus a cool incentive they can all enjoy (like a team day off).

How this works: Choose a metric for sales teams in two offices to compete on. (Note: this should be a metric where one team does not have an unfair advantage). Pit the offices head-to-head and establish and create a digital leaderboard that’s easy to follow as the sales contest progresses.

What You’ll Need: Multiple office locations with sales teams following similar processes. Metric with reliable tracking in a CRM or otherwise.

Best For: Multi-location sales teams.

13) Tournament Sales Contest

Description: March Madness is just around the corner. Capitalize on the zeitgeist (and disincentive “sick days” during the opening rounds) by running a tournament-style sales contest on a specific metric.

March Madness sales contest idea

How this works: Choose your metric, competing reps, matchup duration, bracket, and reward. For example, select talk time as your metric, put your reps in a 64 person bracket, then have the reps with the most talk time each hour advance to the next round. Run it from 9am-12pm then 2pm-5pm to get a winner.

What You’ll Need: Lots of commitment. Clear guidelines and bracket. Reliable live metric tracking.

Best For: Large inside sales teams.

14) Manager Vs Manager Sales Contest

Description: Managers should get involved in sales contests, too. For this sales contest idea, place two managers head-to-head on a metric of choice then offer a compelling disincentive to the letter. For example, make the losing manager wear a ridiculous-looking wig the rest of the week. Your team will love it.

How this works: Fairly straightforward. Let your managers choose a metric (that’s easily trackable) and go head-to-head for a day. Make a big deal out of the loser’s disincentive.

What You’ll Need: Managers willing and able to compete. Metrics that are easy to track. A creatively diabolical disincentive.

Best For: Large inside sales teams.

15) Self Vs Self Sales Contest

Description: Let your reps compete with their own past performance for personal bests.

How this works: Have the rep work with a manager to choose key opportunities for improvement, set benchmarks and track their progress over prior performance publicly and visually.

What You’ll Need: TV wall boards are great for this and can increase the sense of personal ownership a rep has over his or her performance.

Best For: Inside sales teams.

Related: 15 Tips for Overcoming Objections in Sales: Go from NO to a Heck, YEAH!

16) Money Chamber Sales Incentive

Description: Remember the old game shows where people could stand in a money chamber and catch as much cash as they could in a short amount of time?

How this works: Run a sales contest and let your winning rep stand in the Money Chamber and grab as much money as they can. You will create a compelling, public spectacle your team will love to watch (and take part in).

What You’ll Need: An actual Money Chamber. Believe it or not, they are available for purchase. We keep our Money Chamber on the Nextiva sales floor.

Best For: Inside sales teams.

17) Raffle Sales Contest

Description: If you’ve run one too many sales contests resulting in boring blowouts or repeat winners, then it might be time to consider the Raffle Sales Contest.

How this works: Choose a behavior you want to incentivize (for example, calls completed), set a goal for reps (for example, 50 calls completed per day), and hand out raffle tickets each time a rep hits the goal. The more raffle tickets a rep has, the higher the chances he or she wins the raffle.

What You’ll Need: Lots of raffle tickets, a trackable metric, and ideally, live notifications whenever a rep hits the number that earns him or her a raffle ticket.

Best For: Large inside sales teams.

18) Green Jacket Sales Incentive

Description: The Masters are coming up. Level up the competitive spirit on your sales floor by running a two-day sales contest (the Thursday and Friday of the tournament) and offer the winner a Green Jacket as an incentive.

Creative sales contest ideas and incentives

How this works: Very straightforward. Announce a Masters-themed sales contest to your reps. Bring out the Green Jacket. Embroider it if possible with the title [Year] Champion and the winner’s name. You just need a new sales contest and a tradition unlike any other in your sales organization.

What You’ll Need: A green jacket. (Or gold jacket, if you’re a Happy Gilmore fan).

Best For: Inside sales teams.

19) Advanced Metric Sales Contest

Description: Competing over basic sales metrics is great, but competing over advanced metrics like conversion rate, calls-to-opportunities creates, and so forth adds an extra amount of intrigue to the sales contest. Use this sales contest idea to reward reps for execution as well as hustle.

How this works: Choose the most critical advanced metric for your sales team – the number that needs the biggest boost. Run a weeklong or monthlong sales contest around it. Offer a unique and compelling incentive.

What You’ll Need: Sales performance management tools are a great way to automatically track advanced metrics. Here’s a list of the best per our friends at G2 Crowd.

Best For: Sales development teams.

20) Poker Sales Contest

Description: This is a sales contest idea that the guys in Rounders would approve.

Poker sales contest idea

How this works: Whenever a sales rep hits a certain goal, for example, making 20 outbound dials, give that rep a card. Keep doing so until you guy through an entire 52 card deck. The rep who can make the best 5-card hand from the cards in his or her possession wins the sales contest and gets a cool incentive.

What You’ll Need: Same as the Raffle sales contest, except with a deck of cards versus raffle tickets.

Best For: Inside sales teams.

21) Choose Your Own Sales Incentive

Description: This is an interesting one. It could be a trip or a cool experience or something entirely unique and out-of-the-ordinary. The point is: it will be the rep’s idea – and mean that much more to him or her.

How this works: You set a dollar amount limit for the incentive – for example, $1,000 – then let the rep come up with his or her most creative incentive. Or use a service like BlueBoard to let the rep choose from a smorgasbord of incentives.

What You’ll Need: A budget and someone to manage the execution of the actual incentive.

Best For: Outside sales teams.

22) Early Weekend Sales Incentive

Description: The afternoon off is a choice sales contest incentive that gives a winning rep (or reps) Friday afternoon off to do what they please. A great Friday morning sales contest to ensure that your reps end the week strong – then get to relax and unwind.

How this works: Run a Friday morning SPIF with the early weekend incentive as the reward. Let the rep head home at lunchtime.

What You’ll Need: A sales process that is kosher with giving reps a Friday afternoon off.

Best For: Inside sales teams.

23) Most Improved Sales Contest

Description: Looking for a sales contest idea that will move the middle tier of performers on your sales team? The most improved sales contest is tailor-made for this.

How this works: Choose an important sales metric that drives key outcomes for your team. Set a duration for the contest – for example, one month. Highest delta over the previous month’s performance wins. Offer major recognition and incentives to the winner – this is your middle and lower tier’s opportunity to shine.

What You’ll Need: An important sales KPI that you have rock solid reporting on from the previous month.

Best For: Large inside sales teams.

24) Experiential Sales Incentive

Sales Contest Ideas: Blueboard
Blueboard lets employees choose from hundreds of hand-curated experiential rewards.

Description: We always recommend going out-of-the-box with your sales incentives when you can. Offering an experiential sales incentive is a great way to ensure that your reps get compelling memories from winning a sales competition. If your sales force is largely millennial (and chances are, it is) this sales incentive is a must.

How this works: Introduce an experiential sales incentive in place of the usual monetary incentive at your next SPIF.

What You’ll Need: Again, this is an ideal case for using Blueboard.

Best For: Millennial inside sales teams.

25) Meetings Blitz Sales Contest

Description: Call blitzes are great. To mix things up, try running a call blitz sales contest where your reps compete over outcome metrics like meetings (versus just number of dials or talk time). This ensures you are incentivizing outcomes as much as hustle.

How this works: Run your standard call blitz but with an outcome metric like meetings set as the determining metric.

What You’ll Need: Solid reporting on an important call outcomes metric.

Best For: Large inside sales teams and call centers.

26) Referral Drive Sales Contest

Description: Referrals are always among your best sales opportunities. Plus, this contest makes sure your reps are properly incentivized to take care of your current customers.

How this works: This is a great sales contest to run for customer support reps and account managers. Set referrals as the metric-of-choice and offer some major incentives to the winner.

What You’ll Need: Strong referral tracking software and even stronger incentives.

Best For: Customer success and account management teams.

27) Championship Belt Sales Incentive

Description: Did you know you can purchase a boxing or pro-wrestling style championship belt and tailor it to your liking?

sales contest ideas and incentives championship belt

Yes, this is a real thing. Legendary sales leaders such as Nigel Green have done it and given it rave reviews. We recommend you follow suit.

How this works: Buy a customized Championship Belt. Parade it around the office before your next major sales contest. Let the winner keep it until the next sales competition.

What You’ll Need: A customized Championship Belt.

Best For: Inside sales teams.

28) President’s Club Sales Incentive

Description: You don’t have a President’s Club? Get with the times and reward your top performing reps with the prestigious honor of-choice in the sales profession.

How this works: Plan an annual President’s Club trip where you treat your President’s Club winners and their plus-ones to a few fun-filled days of luxury and relaxation. Designate the top 5-10% of reps in terms of revenue as President’s Club members and take them on the trip.

What You’ll Need: A nice budget and lots of hype to make this as special as possible.

Best For: Large sales teams.

29) Best Close Sales Competition

Description: Who closed the most impressive deal of the year? Did a rep:

  • Steal a critical account from a competitor using a mix of Herculean effort and brilliant strategy?
  • Close a massive deal with savvy tactics and a ridiculously short sales cycle?
  • Win back a long lost, major deal by going above and beyond somehow?

Reward your best close each month and discuss why it was so impressive so other reps can take note.

How this works: This sales contest is more subjective in nature. Winner can be determined by pre-set factors (such as deal size), selected by management, or voted upon by the team. We recommend the latter as a unique, meaningful approach.

What You’ll Need: Depends on the format, but this one deserves a special accolade.

Best For: Enterprise sales teams.

30) Quota Crusher Sales Competition

Description: Reward the rep who finishes the month, quarter, or year the highest percentage above quota. This opens up the competition to your entire sales force and keeps top-performing reps incentivized to keep killing it after they have reached their goal.

How this works: Set the metric as delta above quota (percentage above) if you are working with reps who have varying functions.

What You’ll Need: Clear quotas and tracking for deltas exceeding it. Also, this sales contest deserves a major incentive, so be sure to give it the budget and gravitas it deserves.

Best For: Large sales teams.

Submit Your Best Sales Contest Ideas and Incentives

What are the best sales contest ideas and incentives you’ve seen work in your experience? Let us know in the comments below.

Run a call center or phone-heavy sales organization? Check out Nextiva’s Business VoIP Buyer’s Guide and learn how to choose the business phone system that’s best for your business needs.

About the author

Jeremy Boudinet is the Marketing Manager at Nextiva, Co-President at AA-ISP Phoenix, and a published writer for Time, Entrepreneur, Inc, The Daily Muse, and PopSugar. He has been giving the people what they want since 1986. Contact him on LinkedIn or Twitter to start a conversation about business, sports, music, or anything else under the sun.
 

Contact an Amazing Service
Sales Expert
(800) 799-0600

See how Nextiva will transform
the way you communicate.


Contact an Amazing Service
Sales Expert
(800) 799-0600

See how Nextiva will transform
the way you communicate.