Published December 1, 2015 | Updated August 21, 2020

Salespeople love to win. It’s not enough to be good – they want to be the best. That drive can be very good for your business’s bottom line. So why not encourage your salespeople’s competitive nature with a sales contest that can be rewarding for both of you?

“Because contests are a pain to manage,” you might answer. Or “Everybody starts out on fire, but then they forget all about the contest.” Or “It always ends up setting salespeople against one another and causing arguments.” Or maybe it’s “Matt wins every time, so no one else bothers with it.”

If any of that sounds familiar, read on for 10 keys to running a sales contest that drives results, but doesn’t drive a wedge between your salespeople or worse yet…one that drives you crazy.

10 Sales Contest Dos and Don’ts

  1. Do create both individual and team incentives. You want to engage a salesperson’s need to be the best with a contest, but you also want to energize your team, as a team. One of the best ways to achieve both is to reward both the top-selling individual and the whole team, if it works together to meet a common goal.
  2. Don’t let it run long. Salespeople get bored with contests that run longer than three months. Try a month-long contest, or even a week-long sprint to keep interest and motivation high.
  3. Do update results often. One of the keys to building and sustaining excitement is to keep salespeople up-to-date on how they’re doing. If possible, do it in real-time and make it available in your CRM.
  4. Don’t get complicated. Make the contest about a single metric. When you want to work on another metric, have a different contest (see above about keeping contests short). Changing up your metrics also allows you to engage the various strengths of every member of your team, not just that one salesperson.
  5. Do run just one (or at most two) contests at the same time. Not only is it more complicated for salespeople, the effort required to manage multiple contests tends to increase exponentially, which exponentially increases the chance you’ll end up with a mess.
  6. Don’t set it and forget it. Printing a flyer and posting it in the breakroom is not enough. Send memos, have progress meetings, and mention the contest whenever you can to keep it front and center with salespeople.
  7. Do have good prizes. Cash is good. Gift cards are good too. Trips, a sales contest favorite, may not be the best idea right now, though.
  8. Don’t keep offering the same prizes. As noted above, cash and gift cards are good. But they’re less good when they’re the prize every single time you run a contest. Get creative and keep it fresh so one contest doesn’t blur into another.
  9. Do add fuel to the fire. A great way to drive even better results during a contest is to give salespeople a limited-time incentive to offer your customers, such as deferred payment financing or complimentary installation. Customers buy more, salespeople sell more and everyone gets just that much more excited and motivated.
  10. Don’t forget your non-sales staff. They like to win stuff, too!

It’s true – sales contests can be more hassle than they’re worth. But done right, they can be worth a lot to your business. Try one using the tips above and see what a great sales contest can do for your bottom line.

Interested in boosting sales contest excitement and results with a financing promotion? Talk to us – we’ll be happy to help!