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How to Run a March Madness Contest - The Step by Step Guide

7 minutes read

Can you believe its already March? As we have entered March 2020, right now, do you know what is

  • The topmost thing on everyone’s mind?
  • The topmost thing everyone’s talking about?
  • The topmost search on google?


It’s March Madness!!!

With Brackets, Bubbles, Upsets, Cinderellas, and Office Pools this marks as the craziest month for the basketball lovers. You can bring in this sports tourney spirit to your workplace by running March-madness styled sales contest.


How to Run a March Madness Contest?

There are two ways to run March Madness for Sales. One with teams. Another with individual reps. Here are quick walkthroughs that show how to do each below.


One-on-one Format: One-on-One Sales Rep Challenge

Step 1- Choose KPI’s for the Challenge

The first step is to choose your KPI’s. What is it that you want to measure? And, what would be your version of points?

You could choose calls, deals, meetings booked, revenue, etc. This lays the foundation for building your challenge.

Learn how to choose metrics so as to create multiple ways for your reps to win


Step 2 - Seed the Participants

Once you have chosen your metrics, seed/rank your reps based on their past performance. While measuring their past performance, choose the same KPI that you have chosen for this contest.

For example, if you have chosen “revenue” as the KPI for the march madness contest then measure how much revenue each of your rep has brought in the past. Now according to this, if you have 68 reps (We considered 68 as it is the official number of teams in march madness. You can apply seeding according to your team size) rank them from 1 to 68. The ranks are assigned in such a way that the best performing rep will get number 1, the next best will get the number 2 and so on until 68.

Divide these 68 reps into 4 regions– East, West, South, and Mid-west. Each region should have 16 reps. This division has to be done in such a way that the talent is equally distributed amongst all the four regions. So, here is what you can do– take the top 4 reps from the group of 68 reps and place each one of them in each of the four regions and rank them all number 1 in their region. Then, the next 4 best reps will be distributed in the 4 regions and they will all be ranked number 2 in their region. Continue this process until all the 68 reps are successfully placed in 4 regions.



Step 3 - Create Matchups for the Challenges

To set up the challenge, you need to match-up your reps based on their seedings. Let’s understand how to create matchups for one region and the same can be applied for creating matchups in the rest 3 regions. So, you have 16 reps in a region ranked from 1 through 16. Now, pit the top rep in the region with the bottom rep (No. 1 vs No. 16). Then the next highest vs. the next lowest (No. 2 vs. No. 15), and so on. This is how the matchup looks like for all the 16 reps

1 vs 16

2 vs 15

3 vs 14

4 vs 13

5 vs 12

6 vs 11

7 vs 10

8 vs 9

Once you are done with the matchup, start the challenge

Learn more about creating matchups

Learn how to recognize and reward an upset/ cinderella moment


Step 4 - Organising the Contest

Now that you have all your participants set up for the challenge, its time to create the contest around this challenge. You can now create the contest on a platform like SmartWinnr and add the challenge to it.

There are going to be 6 rounds in the competition which will run for 6 weeks. So, you need to create 6 competitions for each of the 6 weeks. Remember that this is a single-elimination contest which means there will be the elimination of reps in each of these rounds. This will finally lead to just two reps competing in the final championship round.

Learn how to engage all your reps (even the ones who get eliminated in the first round) throughout the contest by running parallel brackets

Give march madness themed names to each round

Round 1 - First round -This is the round where all the 68 reps from 4 regions compete with each other

Round 2 - Second Round - Here, after the first round’s elimination, 32 players are left and they compete to go to the third round

Round 3 - Sweet 16 - After the elimination in round 2, the participants are bowled down to 16 members and these 16 strive to enter Elite Eight

Round 4 - Elite Eight - In this round, 8 participants are left and compete to reach Final Four

Round 5 - Final Four - This is the round where 4 reps from all the 4 regions compete. From here two of them have to be chosen to participate in the Final Championship.

Round 6 - Championship - This is the ultimate championship contest that happens between two reps. Whoever wins will take home the championship trophy and title.


Step 5 - Track the Results

Once the competitions are live, you can track live scores for each matchup in SmartWinnr’s intuitive leaderboard. Watch your competitions happen in real-time, advance your winners, and advertise an awesome championship incentive. Congratulations - you have run your first March Madness-style sales competition!

Here is another fun idea to create a basketball themed contest– Pop a Shot on the Sales Floor


Team-Format: SmartWinnr’s Team Challenge

The same format of march madness competition used for individual reps can also be used to run a team contest. When you have a globally distributed team, then you could run this contest between various countries, or territories or between the team of different managers


Step:1 - Select KPIs

Just like every other challenge, the first step to create a team challenge is to determine the KPI’s that you want to measure.

Here you could choose team-based metrics like increasing the revenue in a territory, covering leads in a territory, etc

Learn how to choose metrics so as to create multiple ways for your reps to win


Step 2 - Seed the Teams

Once you set the metrics, its time to seed/rank your teams. This seeding or ranking is done based on the past performance of the teams.

For example, consider you have selected “Revenue” as the KPI for the challenge. Then the team that has brought the highest revenue last year than all the other teams will receive seed-1. The team which has brought the next highest will receive seed-2 so on.


Step 3 - Matchup Teams for the Challenge

Now its time to create team match-ups (determine which team competes against which team). This matchup will be done in the same way that we have done for the individual challenge. Consider the seedings of the team and create their matchups.

For example, if you have 8 teams ranked 1 through 8, then pit the top team with the bottom team (Team 1 vs Team 8). And then, the next best team versus the next lowest team (Team 2 vs Team 8) and so on. Here is how the matchup looks:

Team 1 vs Team 8

Team 2 vs Team 7

Team 3 vs Team 6

Team 4 vs Team 5

Once you are done with the matchup and created the challenge, set a start and end date for the challenge

Learn more about creating matchups

Learn how to recognize and reward an upset/ cinderella moment


Step 4 - Create a Competition

Now that you have the team challenge ready, its time to create a competition around this. You now have to create a competition in a platform like SmartWinnr and add the challenge as a task to it.

Since we are dealing with 8 teams, let’s have 3 rounds here. These rounds will run for 3 weeks. So, you need to create 3 competitions and give march madness themed names to each of the competitions.

Round 1 - First round

Round 2 - Final Four

Round 3 - Championship

This is a single-elimination contest which means there will be the elimination of teams in each of these competitions finally leading to just two teams competing in the final championship round. There will one team at last which wins and takes away the championship trophy and title.

Learn about other ways creating team tournaments


Step 5 - Track the Results

Once the competitions are live, you can track live scores and progress of each team on SmartWinnr’s live leaderboard. This leaderboard can be accessed anytime and anywhere.

Published on Wed Mar 4 2020

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