The best sales contest has a theme that lasts longer than its parts. Contest ideas are often traditional; for example, real estate and insurance sales contest themes often build on a resort experience. Others focus on golf or cruise ventures. Some sales contest themes invite spouses, and many include entire families.

New sales contest thinking

But, a traditional sales contest ideas often becomes old hat in terms of its performance incentive. Challenging worlds of adventures, technology, and mega-events offer new motivations. Travel destinations are more exotic than ever; technology drives new ideas; and, central events, like sports or entertainment venues, open new competitive sales contest doors.

A successful sales contest requires marketing. It needs signage, imagery, and graphics. A theme gives it marketing purpose and consistency. A theme saturates the culture and competitors with goals and means. After all, a sales contest rewards success in a structured sales campaign. If winners are working towards a trip to Maui, you need to surround them with things Hawaiian.

But, let’s set aside those big, annual, convention, destination trips. Such sales contest themes are their own kind of monster. The focus here, instead, is on a theme with seasonal or calendar importance, those contests with a shorter term come at cost that is more reasonable.

Sports contest ideas are always a great competitive metaphor.

And, since major sporting events occur with calendar or seasonal predictability, you can plan your next contest ideas to coincide with:

  • Summer Olympics
  • Baseball World Series
  • World Soccer Cup
  • Super Bowl
  • NCAA March Madness

Any event of national interest, including horseracing, professional tennis, or professional golf, will do. The timing allows you the calendar to structure the preplanning, build-up, and kick-off – as well as the contest increments through to the finish.

Holiday Seasons contest ideas offer welcome and familiar images and language.

contest ideasEvery month celebrates something: Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, April Fool’s Day, Independence Day, Bastille Day, Thanksgiving, and more. An important feature in these sales contest ideas lies in the almost quarterly regularity of key holidays. This allows a small- to mid-size business the freedom to structure two or more short-lived events each year.

For example:

You might start a sales contest with a Fall Theme on Labor Day. Let it run 10-weeks through September, October, and into November. Award prizes, such as a weekend at a ski-resort or a significant cash reward at the end of the week prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. You can then reorganize and reset your strategy for sales contest themes built around the first quarter with an early January kick-off for a contest ending with Mardi Gras.

Cultural Events contest ideas have local flavor and impact.

But, they do not have to be hometown festivities. You do not have to live near the beach to celebrate a day at the beach or near Hollywood to embrace the Academy Awards. Such themes provide imagery and text for headlines, flyers, posters, and the like.

  • Link the contest to a national holiday, city festival, or the destination.
  • Connect the contest with a local school or college competition, perhaps one that you sponsor.
  • Let the contest resurrect a fun historical period – one with well-established color, music, and imagery.
  • Structure it around an anniversary of an historic event, some celebratory event with visual significance to everyone, like the birthday of a major historical figure, or the recognition of some famous scientific or cultural contribution.
  • Celebrate something smaller but locally important: a native dance or music competition, a fishing or hunting event, or a bingo, poker, billiards, or casino competition.

If you keep the focus on marketing materials, sales cycle, and contest segmentation, you can attach almost any theme. Different businesses and product lines have a natural affinity with certain sales contest themes. But, consider tracking performance on different parallel planes. For example, if your overall theme is Major League Baseball, reward elements differently and sequentially; for example, reward (1) individual base hits and home runs, (2) team wins and/or box score predictions, (3) team playoff wins; and (4) combined individual results. Kick-off the theme with a day at the ballpark, and reward the winner(s) with a trip to the World Series.

Make it fun, make it a game, and roll your contest ideas out soon!

Image courtesy of bplanet / FreeDigitalPhotos.net