From telecom customer care centres to heavy-equipment manufacturers, companies of all kinds run sales contests for their teams. Compensation plans can only do so much – to really increase performance, you need the sales engagement and sales team motivation that only a well-thought-out sales 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 contest structures 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 contest structures that should be used in specific times and places. Here are some others we see gaining in popularity:
A competitive variation on the Do This, Get That contest, this can be useful for getting your reps off to a fast start. A banner or tracker is posted to a program website with a total amount of points or rewards that are “in the bank” and available to earn, creating a sense of urgency. It’s then up to the reps to rush to complete as many activities or make as many sales as possible before the bank runs out.
Sales leaders realize that product knowledge is a key ingredient in getting appointments and making sales. This contest structure rewards 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 programs are now seen as a broader way to onboard new reps, drive valuable activities, and create urgency in the sales process. Missions provide a clear path for 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 structure gives reps the opportunity to earn cumulative rewards as performance targets are hit. It’s a great way to challenge reps to get out of their comfort zone and set higher goals.
Both research and experience say there is no one contest perfect for every situation. How to motivate your sales team depends on the problem you are solving for, the team you are trying to motivate, and the budget you have.
It might be easy to say that at the end of the month, the top 10 performers get rewarded for their efforts – but think about all of the performance you’re leaving on the table. If you can get 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.