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There are never enough sales contest ideas in a sales manager’s toolbox. Repeating sales contest ideas gets stale, and stale ideas do not motivate your sales reps. Sales managers make a mistake in waiting for a good idea to come along. The smart managers will have their sales contests planned through the next two years. But, that coming up with fresh ideas is a challenge.

Timing, structure, and communication drive your best sales reps, but the theme or idea is the hook, the grabber that pulls them in and sustains their interest. The best sales contest ideas determine your color, images, and sales contest pitch.

5 Best Sales Contest Ideas to motivate your sales reps:

Idea #1 – Film Score

With blockbuster movies in your future, link a sales contest theme to the cinematic event. For example, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Planes: Fire & Rescue are scheduled to open this summer. Both of these sequels will be all over the media. So, depending which film is appropriate for your sales crew, make the film your sales contest theme. You can give away small prizes, like popcorn and movie candy. You can up the ante to include toys and promotional items. And, you can award tickets for individuals, families, and/or teams. A grand prize might be dinner and a movie.

Idea #2 – Clean-up

Set a goal that clears your inventory or qualifies leads, something that you want to get rid of or behind you. Tie the goal to fun projects that also clean house, such as cleaning off desks and workstations, reorganizing shipping and handling, or archiving files.

Tie the sales contest goal to fun projects. Click To Tweet

Cheap prizes might begin with household cleaning projects and increase with performance to a top best prize that provides home house cleaning service for a week or month.

Idea #3 – Brainstorm

Give up and let the sales reps design the next sales contest campaign. Give them the parameters and the target goals. Divide the sales reps into workable small teams.

Divide the sales reps into workable small teams. Click To Tweet

Have them brainstorm sales contest ideas for their team. Award prizes based on how the team meets its own performance targets and how those results meet, fail, or exceed the departmental target goals.

Idea #4 – Big Brother/Sister

One sales contest a year should aim to foster mentorship. You want the rainmakers to mentor the mid and low producers. You want to create an award structure that rewards the best individual performance but also includes a compensation factor for mentoring. For example, the individual performance earns a unit, but a sale resulting from the mentoring earns 1 unit for the sales rep and 1.5 units for the mentor. The units could be cash or merchandise, but a financial incentive might work better.

Idea #5 – Best Hand

Present a playing card drawn at random to any sales rep or team that meets its respective target, such as a sales close, cold call, restored customer, and so on. Allow the cards to accumulate until a given point when the player or players have to show their best hand. Give prizes for small wins, such as a pair or three of a kind, but the grand prize goes to the best poker, bridge, or rummy hand.

There is no reason a proven sales context structure should not continue to work. What gives it new life is the sales idea that dresses it up. What you might do is run the same structure the same time each year, so the procedure and outcomes gain some reliability. What you change is the idea that wraps it all up so attractively your sales reps cannot resist getting into it.


Additional Sales Contest Ideas can be found on our sales experts blog:

  1. Sales Contest Ideas to Motivate Your Sales Team
  2. Competition: 10 Best sales contest prize ideas

Tomek Jordan

advisory board member at Repignite
Interested in Sales Performance Management, Sales Incentive Management.