From telecom customer care centres to heavy-equipment manufacturers, companies in every industry are running sales incentive programs to inspire sales team and channel partner performance. Standard compensation plans can only do so much – to really increase performance, you need the engagement and motivation that only a well-thought-out, creative sales incentive contest can provide. Paycheques are essential for taking care of bills and living expenses but nothing beats earning a one-of-a-kind travel experience or choosing the perfect gift (for a friend or family member – or yourself!)
There are many reasons to run a sales contest, such as to:
Over the last 18 months, here are the most common sales incentive ideas we’ve seen companies use:
The sales contest ideas above are the most popular for one reason: they get results. But there are many other creative sales incentives that are effective in driving both sales team and channel partner results. Here are some other sales contest ideas we see gaining in popularity:
A competitive variation on the Do This, Get That contest, this sales incentive contest can be useful for getting your sales reps off to a fast start. A banner or tracker is posted to the contest website showing the awards available to earn and creating a sense of urgency. It’s then up to the sales reps to rush to complete as many activities or make as many sales as possible before the bank runs out.
Sales team leaders realize that product knowledge is a key ingredient in getting appointments and making sales. This sales incentive contest awards reps for participating in training activities and is a very effective way to make sure reps have the knowledge they need to succeed.
Originally created to introduce gamification into sales contests, mission-style incentive programs are now seen as a broader way to motivate new sales reps, drive valuable activities, and create urgency in the sales process. Missions provide a clear path for sales reps to follow and reward them as they go.
Combining the plateaus of Step It Up with the power of Do This, Get That, the Breakthrough sales incentive contest gives sales reps the opportunity to earn cumulative awards as performance targets are hit. It’s a great way to motivate sales reps to get out of their comfort zone and set higher goals.
It might be the fact that they're based on faulty assumptions. We've compiled data from over 1,000 incentive programs and come up with five of the most common contest mistakes you might be making right now. Take a look:
If any of these sound familiar, it's time to consider what really inspires better performance – and base your next contest on science, not speculation.
Both research and experience say there is no one contest that’s perfect for every situation. How to motivate your sales team and channel partners depends on the problem you are solving for, the team you are trying to motivate, and the budget you have.
Sales team leaders might be satisfied with awarding the efforts of their top 10 performers each month – but think about all of the performance you’re leaving on the table. If you can motivate middle performers to engage with a sales contest, you’ll increase sales double digits in the short term and drive incremental, bottom-line results over time.