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Sales Contest Part 1: The Secrets of Running a Successful Sales Contest

5 minutes read

Need your salespeople to make enough calls?

Run a Sales Contest

Your sales team is not good at forecasting and do not use your best practices to do it?

Run a Sales Contest

Launched a new product recently and want your sales team to up their sales game to sell it?

Run a Sales Contest

Sales contest is the answer to solve many sales problems. In this blog we understand the secrets of running a successful sales contest.

Note: This blog is followed by part-2 and part-3. Do check out:

Sales Contest Part 2: How to design Sales Contest for a New Product Launch

Sales Contest Part 3: 9 Proven Sales Contests that Drive Productivity

What is a sales contest?

A sales contest is a motivational program in which sales contests/games are conducted for salespeople and rewards are offered based upon their performance in the contest.

Why sales contests are needed?

Sales contests are excellent methods for motivating your sales team to be more productive or to adopt a new process or technology. They bring a fun, dynamic aspect to a sometimes mundane daily routine.

Sales contests are just as effective as sales compensation plans to drive home desired behaviour. If the sales compensation plan is Batman, the sales contest is Robin. They both make a winning combination to motivate your sales team and build a great team culture.

Below are the steps to design an effective sales contest to motivate your sales team -

Set Targets: Take a hard look at the status of your business and determine what is it that you want to achieve for a particular quarter or year. Then, break down that quaterly/yearly target into smaller, short-term goals. Now, build your sales contests around these goals.

Enable your sales reps: Enable your sales reps to be at their best in these contests by equipping them with the right foundational knowledge, content and tools. This gives them the support they need to connect with customers, sell more efficiently and participate effectively in the sales contest.

Inspire your Sales Reps: If you think about it, sales success is driven by emotion of your salespeople. Your sales reps will meet their targets if they are motivated to go after achieving them. Challenge them, reward them and gamify their sales performance to make them deliver best results time and time again.

Level Up: Measurement is critical for improvement and advancement. Analyse the results of the contest. Take stock of the successes and failures of your sales contest and use those insights to keep raising the bar for the sales reps.

Now that we have a well-designed sales contest in place, lets look into the best practices to run a sales contest effectively.

Are you looking for a ready-made Sales Contest Template? Click here to design your own template for free, in just 3 clicks.

Best practices to run an effective sales contest

  • Keep it simple: Your salespeople shouldn’t have any trouble understanding the rules of your contest. When it’s hard to understand how to win – or who’s currently in first place – their enthusiasm about participating takes a hit.

    What does a simple contest sound like? You could reward every salesperson who meets a certain target for meetings set, or give prizes to five reps who increase their calls-to-demo rate by the highest percentage.

    Aim for contests you can explain in one or two sentences. And if you’re still unsure if it’s confusing, ask one of the senior salespeople on your team for their feedback.

  • Involve Salespeople in planning: Involve your sales reps in the process of planning sales contests, so that they can weigh in their opinion on the targets set for sales contests. Let them choose the rewards that they are going to win in the contest.

    This strategy has three effects. First, your reps are more invested. Having direct control over a major aspect of the competition drives buy-in from the start. Second, the reward isn’t what you think they want, it’s what you know they want. Third, your salespeople will feel gratified by your decision to hand over the reins.

  • Leverage team competition: Team-based games and incentives get players (reps) pushing and relying on each other and are far more effective than individual-based contests.

  • Create multiple ways to win: When you have only one way to win the incentive, inevitably players fall behind or out of contention. Create multiple paths to win and succeed to keep the team engaged longer.

  • Update results frequently: The more often you update the results from your contest, the more engaged your reps will be.

    Strive to give daily or weekly updates depending on how quickly each salesperson’s status changes. Put up a live dashboard so every rep can check their progress whenever they’d like.

    A live leaderboard is a powerful motivator which keeps your sales team up-to-date and their motivation high at all times. Some salespeople will check it every hour – that’s how intent they are on being number one.

  • Measure, measure, measure: The point of a sales contest or incentive is not just to have fun or increase engagement but to drive improved results and activity. Make sure you know how you’re going to measure success so you can prove the return on investment and have the ability to do it again!

Follow these guidelines, and your sales contests will noticeably impact your team’s motivation – and just as importantly, their results.


Looking for more in Sales Contests?

Sales Contest Part 2: How to design Sales Contest for a New Product Launch

Sales Contest Part 3: 9 Proven Sales Contests that Drive Productivity


Searching for a Cheat Sheet to run your sales contest?

Cheat Sheet to run a Successful Sales Contest


Excel sheets make for a slow-moving contest. Why do you need a sales contest software?

Why do you need sales contest software?


Which functionalities are most important in a sales contest software?

Finding the Right Sales Contest Software


SmartWinnr: The Leader in the Sales Contest Software

SmartWinnr is an AI-powered gamification platform that helps you to improve your sales team’s knowledge and performance by up to 60%. You can run the most effective, hassle-free, and automated contests with SmartWinnr. No tedious excel calculations, live leaderboards updated at real-time, automated nudges keep the contest engaging and exciting.

Curious to see SmartWinnr in action? Book a demo with us today!

Published on Wed Jun 12 2019

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