• Nitya Kirat

Creating Sales Contests that Work TODAY

A sales leader recently shared, "When I was at their stage in my career, I was solely motivated by making the biggest commissions and bonuses that I could. That doesn't seem to work with my team." That's what a sales leader recently shared with me.

It's the early part of the year, and companies are kicking off their "sales contests" for the year. Here are 4 considerations to make sure your effort pays off:

1. Think Of Behaviors And Results

Find out what drives your team to maintain a winning streak and what makes them lag at specific points. Once you can identify what works and what doesn't, you can tailor each contest accordingly. Also, remember that your reps are highly likely to go with more engaging contests that focus on actions and not outcomes. For example, your salespeople can control how often they pick up a call, but not the revenue booked.

2. Keep It Straightforward

A sales contest should be fun, not complicated. In this case, real-time and visible metrics help fuel things up. Most sales reps find visibility into numbers more motivating than occasional incentives. Also, each contest should be without bias. The "first place winner" contests aren't the way to go. Instead, try to align each contest to accommodate and engage more of your middle. In this case, we recommend fantasy competitions.

3. Fuel Up The Fire And Build Momentum

People tend to have a short attention span. Even if the contest is set to last the whole year, eventually, the excitement will die down. Make sure this doesn't happen without achieving the contest objectives by providing interim winning opportunities. Keep everyone fired up, and be sure to incentivize the winner in real-time. Otherwise, no one will feel the motivation to compete in the future.

4. Reward Front-end Activity

Sales contests should fulfill one objective: encourage, inspire, motivate and reward sales reps. The goal is to boost productivity and revenue. When it comes to rewards, it should go to the most front-end activity. This approach makes things easier for new and lagging salespeople. And since front-end activity incentivizes hard work, not individual talent, it's more conceivable. Such incentives should be made to all levels, not just the best performers.


A competitive working environment is beneficial to employees in many ways. When combined with workplace games, it can kickstart teams, build culture and comradery, drive activities and results, and keep momentum going when it's easy to let things get loose.