30 Sales Contest Ideas to Help Your Entire Team Crush Quota

February 2, 2024 19 min read

Jeremy Boudinet

Jeremy Boudinet


So, you’re leading a sales team, and, lately, the energy’s just not there. Maybe the numbers are down across the board, and everyone could use a boost.

A sales contest might be just the thing to help your people get their groove back. A well-executed competition can motivate your team, raise morale, and encourage collaboration.

Before you know it, those numbers might just start climbing, and your sales reps will be energized enough to not only meet their goals but also exceed them.

Here are 30 sales contest ideas for running and incentivizing your next competition, divided into five categories based on their formats and goals.

One Metric at a Time

To run the following contests successfully, make sure to identify your sales key performance indicators (KPIs), keep an eye on the metrics that matter most to your sales process, and reward your top performers at the end of each competition cycle.

Pro tip: You can use Nextiva Analytics to track your KPIs and see how your reps are performing both in and out of the contest. You can also create a wallboard with Nextiva to help you keep contests fair and organized.
Nextiva analytics dashboard

1. Most sales-qualified leads (SQLs)

Description: It’s time to get creative with the metrics you are competing on. Revenue and dials made are great but try working with critical metrics such as SQLs or opportunities created. This works especially 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 and track the SQLs created by each rep during that time. The person with the most SQLs generated at the end of the time frame wins.

What you’ll need: A robust CRM strategy for tracking and a detailed description of what constitutes an SQL.

Best for: Sales development teams.

2. Upselling or cross-selling

Photo of a business woman on the phone -- Upselling or cross-selling


Description: This sales competition is about getting more from what you already have. Encourage your team to take a second look at their current customer list and see where they can add value.

How this works: Set a clear time frame for the competition, such as a month or a quarter. Each rep targets existing clients, aiming to upsell higher-tier products or cross-sell complementary items. The rep with the highest increase in sales per customer wins.

What you’ll need: A system to monitor and measure upsells and cross-sells effectively.

Best for: Sales teams with a diverse product range or services and companies with an established customer base looking to deepen those relationships.

3. Biggest deal

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

How this works: Start this contest at the beginning of the month or quarter. Announce it ahead of time and set an incentive that resonates with your team. Use a leaderboard to track the results, offer regular updates to keep the excitement high, and provide coaching or advice to support your reps.

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

Best for: Enterprise sales teams.

4. Best close

Photo of a man typing on a computer -- closing deals


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

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. The winner can be determined by preset factors (such as deal size), selected by management, or voted upon by the entire team. We recommend the latter as a more unique, meaningful approach that can encourage team members to appreciate each other’s strengths.

What you’ll need: A clear set of criteria for what makes a deal impressive,for example, deal size, strategic importance, the complexity of the sale, or the level of innovation used in closing the deal.

Best for: Enterprise sales teams.

5. Advanced metrics

Description: Tracking advanced metrics such as conversion rates, calls-to-opportunities ratio, and successful cold call engagements encourages your team to sharpen their skills and make every call count, not just add to the call count. It pushes sales reps to refine their approach, aiming not only to reach more prospects but to do so more effectively.

How this works: Choose the most critical metric for your sales team — the number that needs the biggest boost. Run a month-long sales contest around it and offer a unique incentive. You can even get your people to vote on the prize to make sure it’s something that truly resonates with them.

What you’ll need: A sales performance management tool to automatically track advanced metrics.

Best for: Sales development teams.

6. Most improved

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. This is your middle and lower tiers’ opportunity to shine.

How this works: Choose an important sales metric that drives key outcomes for your team, such as conversion rates or customer engagement scores. Set a time frame for the contest — for example, one month. The rep with the greatest improvement in the selected metric wins. Offer a thoughtful, motivating incentive to the winner. This could be an extra day off, a voucher for a nice dinner, or an exclusive opportunity, such as a one-on-one coaching session with a top executive.

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.

7. President’s club

Photo of a fancy poolside - The president’s club celebrates your top sales performers with a well-deserved getaway


Description: The president’s club celebrates your top sales performers with a well-deserved getaway. It’s a genuine and impactful way to say thank you for your standout salespeople’s hard work and achievements.

How this works: Plan an annual president’s club trip where you treat your 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 club members and take them on a trip. This could be to an exotic destination, a luxury resort, or a renowned city with plenty of attractions.

What you’ll need: A dedicated budget and meticulous planning.

Best for: Large sales teams.

In real life: Patientpop, a healthcare marketing and medical practice management solution, organized an all-expenses-paid trip to Costa Rica for its president’s club members. The results? A motivated sales force and raised team morale.

8. Quota crusher

Description: Reward the rep who finishes the month, quarter, or year with 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 goals.

How this works: Set the metric as delta above quota (percentage above) if you’re 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: Teams with a diverse range of roles and sales targets.

9. Referral drive

Description: Referrals are always among your best sales opportunities. This contest helps make sure your team is actively seeking out and leveraging these valuable leads while building stronger, more productive relationships with current clients.

How this works: Set a clear goal for the number of quality referrals each team member should aim for. Incentivize the team to reach out to their networks and existing clients and track who brings in the most successful referral within a certain time frame. This could be a month or a quarter.

What you’ll need: Strong referral-tracking software to accurately monitor where referrals are coming from and how they’re converting.

Best for: Customer success and account management teams.

Head to Head

These face-off style competitions can really turn up the heat and get your team’s competitive spirit firing. But make sure to encourage collaboration where possible and foster an environment where these contests enhance the team spirit rather than undermining it.

10. Manager vs. team

Description: Set up a friendly challenge where your sales reps go head to head with managers in securing deals. This contest puts managers in their reports’ shoes for a day, evens the playing field, and adds a bit of fun to the sales process.

How this works: Pick a day or afternoon when your manager is able to jump into the trenches with your reps. Choose a metric (for example, calls made or talk time) and 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 your competing metric.

Best for: Large call centers.

11. Team vs. team

Team collaboration in a room


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

How this works: Organize your sales force into two or more teams, setting them against each other based on a specific sales metric. Offer a compelling incentive for the winning group. But make sure that the teams are evenly distributed in terms of skill and experience so the competition is fair and motivating for everyone involved.

What you’ll need: A sales pipeline CRM to keep track of all your deals in progress and a real-time leaderboard.

Best for: Sales teams with a mix of sales veterans and newer reps.

12. Rep vs. rep

Description: Kick up the competitive spirit by letting your reps go head to head over a key sales metric, such as deals closed, leads generated, or successful upselling. This is a great way to spotlight different aspects of the sales process and encourage reps to sharpen their skills in those areas.

How this works: These sales contests can be run ad hoc by managers or launched by reps themselves. Any time frame, from one week to one month, will work.

What you’ll need: Strong sales performance tracking within your CRM.

Best for: Inside sales teams or those with a competitive streak who would enjoy a direct challenge.

13. Office vs. office

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 (such as a team day off).

How this works: Choose a metric for sales teams in two offices to compete on, making sure that neither team has an unfair advantage. Establish 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 and a metric with reliable tracking in a CRM or otherwise.

Best for: Multilocation sales teams.

14. Manager vs. manager

Description: Sales contests aren’t just for sales reps. For this idea, place two managers head to head on a metric of choice. Your team will love it.

How this works: Let your managers choose a metric (that is easily trackable) and go head to head for a day. Offer a compelling disincentive to the losing manager. For example, make them wear a ridiculous-looking wig for the rest of the week.

What you’ll need: Managers willing and able to compete, metrics that are easy to track, and a creatively diabolical disincentive.

Best for: Large inside sales teams.

15. Self vs. self

Description: Let your reps compete with their own past performance for personal bests. It’s a contest of self-improvement, turning the focus inward to motivate people to beat their previous records.

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. For incentives, consider rewards that are scalable and sustainable, such as recognition in a team meeting or points in a reward system that can be accumulated and exchanged for various prizes.

What you’ll need: A detailed tracking system, possibly integrated into your current CRM, to monitor individual progress and a framework for setting realistic yet challenging personal goals and benchmarks.

Best for: Smaller teams or those with diverse roles, where personalized goals are more effective than one-size-fits-all targets.

16. Fantasy football-style contest

Description: This contest turns sales into a team sport, where each rep’s performance contributes to the team’s success. It’s an exciting way to combine work and play, keeping morale high and motivating everyone to give their best.

How this works: To run this contest, start by defining how you’ll score sales activities — whether you’ll focus on calls made, deals closed, or leads generated. Then, create balanced teams, implement tracking, and schedule a season where teams compete week to week. Award the top-performing team each week.

What you’ll need: A combination of a CRM and sales gamification software.

Best for: Inside sales teams in medium-sized to larger companies with enough team members to create a competitive atmosphere.

In real life: In 2014, David Schwall, CEO of Travel Technologies, implemented this idea at Clayton Homes as Senior Director of Digital Marketing. In one “season,” his sales team saw an 18% spike in outbound calls, doubled the percentage of calls that resulted in appointments, and increased the number of transferred calls eightfold.

There’s no telling what results you could achieve with more advanced CRM capabilities and enhanced sales gamification tools.

17. March madness-style contest

Sales executive shooting hoops.


Description: This competition is perfect for creating a buzz on the sales floor, driving performance through short, intense matchups that mirror the excitement of a basketball tournament.

How this works: First, choose your metric — for instance, talk time. Next, organize your reps into a bracket system; let’s say an eight-person bracket for manageability. Reps with the most talk time each hour move forward in the bracket. Schedule the contest in two sessions — 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., then 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. — to determine the day’s champion. And remember, if you’re recording sales calls for the contest, ensure you’re compliant with call-recording laws.

What you’ll need: Clear guidelines and brackets, along with reliable live metric tracking.

Best for: Larger inside sales teams.

Always Be Closing

Want to encourage your people to stay focused and work their hardest at the end of the deal cycle? Then these contest ideas are for you.

18. Commission spike

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

How this works: Announce a temporary increase in commission rates for a specific time frame, such as a day or a week. Make sure to communicate the start and end dates clearly. During this period, encourage reps to revisit pipelines, follow up on leads, and push for conclusions on pending negotiations. This is also a great time for quick, focused sales sprints where reps can maximize their efforts for better rewards.

What you’ll need: Stellar compensation reporting and a pipeline filled with leads waiting to be closed.

Best for: Internal sales teams with a solid pipeline.

19. Target accounts

Description: This contest is 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, and a method to track which reps acquire which accounts and how many they secure during the contest period.

Best for: Account-based sales teams.

20. Call blitz

Description: Break out of the inbox by reaching potential customers over the phone. This sales prospecting technique helps sales reps connect personally and overcome objections that would otherwise lie dormant.

How this works: Take the stakes and terms of your standard sales performance incentive fund (SPIF) and amp them up. For example, go from a one-hour call blitz SPIF for $100 to a three-hour call blitz SPIF for $300.

What you’ll need: Robust business communication channels, including call tracking and analytics features. (We happen to be fans of cloud communications systems.)

Best for: Inside sales teams and outbound call centers.

Pro tip: You can use Nextiva’s call queues to handle a higher volume of calls while still providing a better customer experience. Plus, with Nextiva’s call flows, you’re in the driver’s seat. You decide how calls move through your system, which means quicker answers for your callers and less hassle for your team.
Nextiva call queues for better customer experience

21. Meeting blitz

Description: This is your standard call blitz with a twist. Instead of focusing on the number of calls or talk time, have your reps focus on securing meetings.

How this works: Set aside a specific day or week for your team to go all in on securing meetings. Ramp up the energy with a compelling incentive and keep the momentum high through the contest with regular updates and a leaderboard to track progress.

What you’ll need: Solid reporting on the meeting metric of your choice.

Best for: Large inside sales teams and call centers.

Sometimes, you need everyone to pitch in and give it their best to hit those big goals. Setting up challenges that require collective effort while still acknowledging personal contributions helps every team member stay engaged and motivated.

22. Full-team incentive

Full-team incentive - image of four smiling people wearing t-shirts that spell out TEAM


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, such as number of sales or total clients acquired. Offer a team-wide reward for hitting it, something that everyone can enjoy together.

What you’ll need: Reliable reporting on your team performance metric of choice. This could be a feature in your CRM or a separate tracking tool. Just make sure it’s transparent and accessible to the whole team so they can see their progress.

Best for: Inside sales teams, especially those that might typically operate in silos.

Games and Awards

Need some out-of-the-box ideas for games and incentives that motivate your team? Here are some creative solutions to consider.

23. Early weekend

Early weekend incentives - photo of a business woman leaving work


Description: Who doesn’t love the idea of starting their weekend a bit early? This incentive is a simple yet effective way to boost productivity and morale, especially toward the end of the week when energy levels might start to wane. By offering the chance to finish work at lunchtime on Friday, you give your reps a tangible, highly desirable goal to work toward.

How this works: Launch a Friday morning SPIF with the early weekend incentive as the reward. Set clear, tangible targets for the morning. The first reps who hit these goals get the rest of the day off.

What you’ll need: A clear understanding of your Friday sales targets and a system to quickly and accurately track progress.

Best for: Inside sales teams where quick, measurable results are possible.

24. Experiential incentive

Description: For your next sales game or contest, consider rewarding your winners with an experience instead of a gift card or cash bonus. This could be a concert ticket, adventure trip, fine dining experience, or something they’ve always wanted to do but would never do on their own.

How this works: Introduce an experiential sales incentive in place of the usual monetary incentive at your next SPIF. Tailor these experiences to your team’s interests to make them worth winning.

What you’ll need: A clear understanding of your people’s preferences and interests to help you select the right experience options. You’ll also need to budget accordingly.

Best for: Teams that have been consistently hitting their targets and might be less motivated by cash incentives or organizations looking to foster a more engaging workplace culture.

25. Choose your own adventure

Description: Why not let your reps decide what motivates them the most? With this contest, the winner gets to choose their own reward within a set budget. It could be a trip, a special gadget, a unique experience, or something entirely out of the ordinary. The point is that it will be the rep’s idea — making it that much more meaningful and motivating for them.

How this works: You set a dollar amount limit for the incentive, such as $500, then let the rep come up with their most creative incentive. They get to dream big within the budget, creating a goal that’s uniquely appealing to them.

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

Best for: Smaller teams where individual performance has a significant impact and teams that value individuality and creativity.

26. Money chamber

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.

27. Raffle

Close up photo of two hands holding two red tickets


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

How this works: Choose a behavior you want to incentivize (such as calls completed), set a goal for reps (such as 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 that they win 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 them a raffle ticket.

Best for: Large inside sales teams.

28. Poker

Description:Add a bit of strategic fun to your sales targets with a poker-themed contest.

How this works: Whenever a sales rep hits a certain goal, for example, making 20 outbound dials, give that rep a card. Keep distributing cards until reps have enough to form a hand. The rep who can make the best five-card hand from the cards they’ve earned wins.

What you’ll need: A deck of playing cards and a clear, transparent system to track everyone’s progress.

Best for:Inside sales teams, especially those that thrive on a bit of competition and enjoy gamified incentives.

29. Green jacket

Tiger Woods has won four Masters titles and green jackets in his career


Description: Inspired by the prestigious tradition of the Masters Golf Tournament, a green jacket in sales is a symbol of top-notch achievement. Level up the competitive spirit on your sales floor with a two-day contest where the top performer earns this coveted jacket.

How this works: Announce this golf-themed sales contest to your reps, set clear sales targets, and bring out the green jacket. If possible, embroider it with the title “Champion,” the year, and the winner’s name.

What you’ll need: A green jacket and a way to track and display sales achievements during the contest.

Best for: Inside sales teams.

30. Championship belt

Sales Championship Belt


Description: Did you know you can purchase a boxing or pro-wrestling- style championship belt and tailor it to your liking? This idea takes the concept of being top of the sales leaderboard to a whole new level. It’s a tangible, fun, and highly visible symbol of success that can serve as a powerful motivator for your sales team.

How this works: Define how you’ll score sales activities and use your CRM to track each rep’s performance in real time. Plan a set period and buy a customized championship belt. Let the winner keep it until the next sales competition.

What you’ll need: A customized championship belt and a scoreboard or CRM to track and visualize performance.

Best for: Inside sales teams.

Why Should Managers Hold Sales Contests?

Sales contests are a great way to boost morale, improve performance, and foster team building.

At their core, they can bring a sense of excitement and new energy to the workplace.

Friendly competitions and games can be a welcome break from the day-to-day grind because they take your people’s minds off the usual pressures and routines. So, when they return to their usual tasks, they feel more refreshed and motivated to tackle them.

Contests that involve working together also help build a stronger team culture. They encourage team members to get to know each other better, share strategies, and support each other’s efforts.

These shared experiences can improve the team’s overall performance and reinforce a sense of belonging and collective achievement.

What To Know Before Organizing Sales Contests

Before organizing a competition, remember that not every team member will be motivated by the same incentives.

For example, your high performers might thrive on challenging targets. But your low- to mid-tier performers might, instead, be more encouraged by recognition or smaller, more attainable goals.

A one-size-fits-all approach can, inadvertently, foster an overly competitive environment where sales reps feel they need to compete internally as well as externally with market competitors. This might lead to unhealthy team dynamics and potential burnout.

So, make sure to balance the competitive aspect with supportive elements that level the playing field and acknowledge diverse achievements and efforts.

For instance, while celebrating top sellers, also acknowledge those who’ve shown the most improvement or have excelled in specific aspects such as customer communications or team collaboration. This helps ensure that every team member feels valued and seen, not just the top performers.

Finally, consider keeping the rewards simple and playful, such as gift cards or a team lunch, to emphasize fun and camaraderie over high-stakes competition. Ultimately, the goal is to inspire and motivate, not to add pressure or create divisions within the team.

Equip Your Sales Team With the Best Tools

Keeping your sales team motivated through the ups and downs of a sales cycle isn’t always easy. It can be a real challenge to keep everyone on track, especially when targets seem like distant hills to climb.

But a well-thought-out sales contest can really turn the tide. It injects a sense of urgency and excitement into your people’s days. Whether they focus on individual glory or a team win, these contests can light a fire under every member of your team.

To do that, you’ll need the right tools. Nextiva’s contact center solutions can help you enhance team and prospect communications, improve accountability, and simplify reporting tasks.

For example:

The call center solution teams love.

Sales and support teams use Nextiva to deliver a better customer experience.

Jeremy Boudinet


Jeremy Boudinet

Jeremy Boudinet was a senior brand manager at Nextiva, co-president at AA-ISP Phoenix, and a published writer for Time, Entrepreneur, Inc, The Daily Muse, and PopSugar. Today, he heads up growth for Ubiquitous, an influencer marketing agency. He has been giving the people what they want since '86. Connect with him to…

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