Motivating Using Sales Contests

It's April and if you haven't sponsored a sales contest yet this year, you are missing a real opportunity to focus your sales staff and have some fun at the same time.

Sales Contests vs. Commissions or Bonuses 

Salespeople expect to be paid commissions or bonuses if they achieve quota. It comes with the territory and is one of the attractions of the profession. Cash can be almost an intangible. Sales contests, especially those that offer tangible rewards, help a salesperson stretch and reach for a goal that they might have thought unattainable. 

Examples of great tangible prizes include gift certificates to favorite:

  • Stores
  • Restaurants
  • Amusement Parks

They could also include tickets to:

  • Sporting Events
  • Concerts
  • Museums
  • Movies

Other ideas can include a dish filled with the winner's favorite candy, a trophy that they get to keep until the next contest, or a coveted parking space. 

All of the above work for salespeople no matter their lifestyle. Offer several choices because the crucial element here is to let them decide which of these things they might like.

Dollars vs. Progress 

Salespeople often put in a great deal of hard work with a particular prospect before they ever get a chance to make the sale. Sometimes convincing a potential client to meet with them or have a discussion over the phone is a true achievement that many salespeople feel goes unrecognized. The sales contest does not always have to be about closed sales. Mix it up a little bit. An example of a non-revenue focused contest might be to offer a prize for a 10% increase in a month in the number of:

  • Product Demonstrations
  • Webinars
  • Prospecting Calls
  • Face-to-face Meetings

Top Producers vs. Everyone Else 

Sometimes well-meaning Presidents or Sales Managers create contests that only a handful of superstars can win. Once the rest of the staff catches on to this, they ignore the contest and continue with their daily work. Make certain that any contest you create encourages everyone on the sales staff to improve their own performance. 

Sales contests like these should be held at least once a quarter, be tailored to the individual participants, have a relatively low dollar value ($150 or less), have clear rules, and be brief (3 months maximum). A motivated sales staff that feels recognized for the tough job they have makes the creation of these contests well worth the effort.

Though my clients come from many different industries, the challenges they face are similar. In "Sales Management Tips," I regularly answer questions that have been posed to me by my clients. I hope the answers will help you to solve some of the sales dilemmas you face in your own sales organizations. If you would like to ask a question, please contact me. The identity and affiliation of those submitting questions will be kept confidential.