Brainstorm your sales contest ideas with a successful mind frame of friendly, productive, and competitive teamwork.

Ah, the old fashioned sales contest. It’s a subject of both praise and ridicule. On the one hand, it can boost your revenues, develop confidence, and foster healthy competition amongst your team. On the other hand, it can create animosity between salespeople and put enormous stress on people.

Can any sales contest ideas find a middle ground? Yes—it’s possible to reap the benefits and squash the negatives. But you have to implement intelligently. Think about your team, their relationships, what will motivate them to compete in a friendly and supportive way.

sales contest ideas

5 Sales contest ideas to make your team look forward to the competition

1. Sales competitions work better in team vs. team situations

People don’t like sales competitions because they create “me vs. everyone else” attitudes. They alienate salespeople instead of bringing them together.

Relieve the pressure by creating teams that compete. Each manager picks a group to face off against the other teams. Team-oriented sales contest ideas create opportunities for fun and growth at the same time.

  • Create a name for your team or follow a theme
  • Work together, rather than go at it by yourself
  • Gain support from people who push you towards a goal
  • Compete for your team (and the company) not personal gain

2. Focus the contest on productivity, not a set number of sales or revenue

Contests are a creative way to boost productivity in your sales teams. They also reward people for hard work and effort, rather than making x amount of dollars for the company.


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It’s a necessary paradigm shift that few business owners and managers understand. Productivity is a measurable performance-based metric. It’s also the means to an end: more sales. Plus, it puts the power in the hands of your salespeople—their level of effort determines success. Establishing this “growth mindset” pushes the limits and challenges people to work hard.

  • Total number of sales calls in a set period
  • Percentage of calls that end with a measurable action or result
  • Most sales made from a particular lead source
  • Number of cross-sold or up-sold products per sale
  • Generated leads from referrals or past customers

3. Give creative, value-based rewards instead of boring gift cards

Adequate incentives—ones that inspire action and a competitive streak—make the entire sales contest worthwhile. A perfect reward speaks to your employees’ wants, desires, and sense of accomplishment. Your best sales contest ideas start with a fantastic prize.

Believe it or not, your rewards don’t have to be fancy or expensive. A trip to Disneyland sounds fun, but it doesn’t scream “I know my salespeople better than anyone.”

Get creative. Break the rules. Make your rewards memorable.

What’s an inexpensive reward you can give that would drive your teams crazy? What would be funny? What would they still be talking about five years from now?

4. Create a sense of urgency that promises immediate results

Have you ever noticed that sales contests lose their luster after a few days? The productivity starts to slip, the energy in office winds down, people go back to their routines.

Make your sales contest ideas urgent and “right now.” Set a deadline that keeps the competition on the front of people’s minds. Split up your contests into short spurts rather than month-long marathons.

  • Schedule a pop-up contest to “blitz call” a ton of clients before lunch break
  • Set a reward that gets bigger and better the faster your salespeople close a deal
  • Target specific goals for each day of the week and tally up the points on Friday

5. Keep your sales contest ideas friendly—stay away from pitfalls

The bottom line is that sales competitions can work for or against you. It all depends on how you go about it. Maintaining a friendly and supportive environment is key to success.

That’s said, it’s easy to slip into negatives. It is a competition, after all, and people’s attitudes and behaviors may go off the rails if given the opportunity.

Focus on supporting every team equally. Don’t treat the winners like kings, but don’t patronize them with “everyone is a winner today” conclusions. They’re all adults. But be sure to reward everyone who puts in the hard work and rallies to the challenge.


lead-managerlead-managerHow many referral follow-ups can your team hit in one day? Schedule a free demo of our sales follow-up software and find out!


Are sales contests successful for you? Share your experience!