Executive Group Travel Blog

How to develop a motivating sales contest?

[fa icon="clock-o"] Jul 28, 2015 12:00:00 PM [fa icon="user"] Marci McCormack

Employee Engagement:

The first and most important rule in a sales content is making each eligible employee feel as though they have a chance to win. That chance might be a long shot but there is still a reason for that individual to compete.


There are 4 Main Ways to Measure Success in a Sales Competition:

  1. Overall Revenue – this can be MRR (monthly recurring revenue), this can be annual revenue you created and it can even be biggest deal revenue. The more money, the more likely you are going to win. The benefits of this model is high revenue producers are rewarded. The drawback for this model is weaker territories or small market business lines have no chance to compete.
  1. Percent to Quota – This method is great if quotas are provided based on territory, experience, or size of deal book. It levels the playing field and forces each rep to focus on their own activity versus worrying too much about the competition. This is especially popular for companies who have monthly quotas as they can run monthly competitions. It is a little more difficult for annual quota sales teams to run monthly competitions with this method. Possible but not ideal.
  1. Percent Increase – In specific industries percent increase year over year or month over month is a great way to track increased activity or increased sales. Keep in mind for new employees you need to find a way to make them eligible but also keep it fair for the rest of the organization, one way to do this is put a minimum eligibility requirement. This way all new employees who go from 0 -> 100% won’t win every competition. If you have a large incoming sales class one month or one quarter, it’s a good idea to run a separate promotion to motivate them to ramp up quickly.
  1. Highest Number – This can be number of deals closed, number of new customers, number of cross-sell opportunities and even number of client meetings booked. With good auditing this method usually helps the small business sales reps as they find themselves closing many opportunities for small revenue amounts.   Be wary of rewarding employees for number of client meetings booked (or deals closed without revenue) unless you have a dedicated checks and balances process in place. We have seen this method backfire with “subjective accounting” by individual reps and ends up in unhappy employees.

Employee Feedback:

As we mentioned in many of our past blog posts, each company and each industry is different so one solution might work great for company A but causes internal conflict for company B. For those with experience you can even combine 1 or 2 methods to create the perfect contest (minimum revenue is X but winner is decided by % to quota). Sales contests are supposed to be exciting, build competition and motivating! They are not meant to discourage employees, anger reps, or create unhealthy tension. Don’t be afraid to get feedback from your own reps on what they find to be most motivating.

Floor Seats to an NBA game for one sales team might the ultimate prize whereas another company might not be motivated by sports tickets but instead a private chef’s table/wine tasting evening. We can give you ideas of what has worked in the past but each company culture is different so it’s important to listen to your employees and create prizes/promotions they get excited for!


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