25 Sales Contest Ideas to Keep Your Team Motivated

Want to Improve Your Team's Sales Performance?

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In a world where revenue is king, it’s natural to design your sales incentives programs to reward those with the highest sales. While this method make sense, it’s flawed. It keeps top performers motivated but doesn’t engage the rest of the team who can’t see themselves in that top spot.

Sales contests are a great way to motivate the whole team. Beyond rewarding sales and revenue, they offer the ability to reward many different types of increased action that align with your organization’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rewarding different types of KPIs will increase rep confidence in their ability to compete and will allow them to reassess their potential impact on the outcome of the game.

This positive setting will lead to greater results in the contest and healthier competition that boosts the morale of the whole team and not just the usual top reps and reminds the team that there are many ways to make an impact. This is important because while sales reps are typically tracked and rewarded for their individual sales, the main goal of the sales team is to improve the sales for the entire organization.

25 Sales Contest Ideas to Motivate Your Team

Below you will find a list of 25 sales contest ideas managers can use to motivate reps and increase performance. You’ll see the goal for each one, as well as how they work.

1 | Daily Prize

It may seem that holding a daily contest makes the competition trivial because many of the prizes are small and not of great value. The key to this strategy is that it keeps the reps constantly engaged.

Since the prizes are given daily, the lead or sales tracker is reset each day so that there will be a wider range of possible winners.

Raffle tickets

2 | Raffle

A raffle is a good way to incentivize reps to achieve short-term goals while being able to win a larger and more lucrative prize. Raffle tickets are given to reps when they reach specific sales goals and the prize is generally only drawn after a long-term sales period has passed.

The secret to holding a good raffle is ensuring that every participant has a measurable and achievable goal that can earn them a chance to get a raffle ticket and enter the drawing.

3 | Customer Reviews

A customer review contest requires a little bit of front-end work from the standpoint that there needs to be an easy way for the reps to obtain a review whether it is good or bad. The easiest way to go about this is to set up a customer survey or take advantage of an already existing survey process.

A customer review contest requires a little bit of front-end work from the standpoint that there needs to be an easy way for the reps to obtain a review whether it is good or bad. The easiest way to go about this is to set up a customer survey or take advantage of an already existing survey process.

Besides receiving the always nice pat-on-the-back from a satisfied customer and the public recognition from upper management, this contest encourages reps to not just be good at selling a product but also be ready to get a review of their service for better or for worse.

4 | Salesperson of the Month

This one is a classic and is often ran as one. The winner is generally the sales rep with the most revenue in sales. But just because this contest carries the classic title doesn’t mean the item being measured has to be classic as well.

Get creative and aim for something unique such as the most individual sales, the most “Nos”, the most reviews good or bad, or the most helpful with coaching other sales reps. Either way you measure it and reward it, the winning sales rep will always enjoy having everyone else see their name and photo on the office wall for an entire month.

5 | Winner’s Choice

A winner’s choice is where the winner gets to decide what the prize will be for either themselves or the next month’s winner, with obvious monetary limits or choices set by management beforehand. It’s a simple way to not have to get too creative and the benefit is you’re less likely to have someone complain about the prize.

6 | I OWE U! (from the boss)

An I OWE U from a superior is always a fun sales contest and cause for excitement on the sales team. It’s best to set a structured timeline and goal well in advance. Since it will most likely be you or someone near you fulfilling the debt, it is best to make clear the prize or selection of prizes.

If you want to get a solid gauge as to what type of debt your sales reps are looking for, then have them submit their requests ahead of the contest and you can select one of the prizes as long as they are not too outrageous.

Common prizes for the winner may include eating/cooking lunch together, giving professional coaching sessions, washing and cleaning their car, or even more humorous things such as performing karaoke to their favorite song in front of the whole team.

7 | On a Boat (Boss for the day)

It is a pretty simple prize for whatever the contest may be. The winner gets to be boss for a day or some variation of it. You could let them take your position for the day, sit at your desk, pick the location for the next company lunch, or run a meeting. Either way the winner will be happy to hear all day long those two sweet words come out of your mouth, “Yes Boss!”.

8 | Sales Poker

This is another fun sales contest that requires each participant to acquire 5 cards out of a 52-card deck. Each card is earned by achieving an established goal. At the end of the sales period, the sales rep with the best hand wins the prize. It is an easy game that allows all participating sales reps a chance to win, even if they weren’t necessarily the best performing sales rep for that period.

9 | Lead Conversion

The premise of this sales competition is that leads are handed out randomly and evenly to the sales reps and the one person or group to convert the most leads into sales during a specific timeframe wins the prize. This sales game allows for a winner by chance since some reps might get more quality leads than others.

10 | The Whopper (or Top This)

What’s a whopper without its lettuce and tomato? The trick to winning this contest is to be the one to upsell the customer the most. The length of the sales period can vary and the prize along with it.

11 | Most Wanted

This is similar to the “Whopper” contest but differs in what types of leads are handed out. In this sales competition the manager identifies and hands out leads of the biggest leaders in the industry. No small fish here nor any random ones either. These leads are highly desirable targets and the sales rep or team that lands the biggest single sale wins.

12 | Upsell Contest

This sales game is designed to reward sales reps for upselling and increasing revenue from existing partners. Some options for measuring the upsell progress and determining a winner is to select either the largest upsell dollar amount earned, the largest upsell percentage earned relative to the client’s prior account history, or the highest amount of client’s that are upsold.

13 | Sales Bingo

Bingo is always a good time. Turn it into a sales contest by making the squares represent different sales goals. What makes this sales game fun is that it requires skill and luck. The skill to make the goal on each square and the luck to get them in the correct sequence.

14 | Most No’s (in a single week)

The Most No’s game is a fun and creative sales contest idea used to stir the sales team pot. The reason is because it seems so counterintuitive to be wanting more rejection. In reality, it drives an increase in sales activity and the likelihood of a rep getting a “Yes”.

The goal of the game is to see who can get the most No’s/rejections within a sales period whether it is a day, a week, or a month. Generally, the game shouldn’t last longer than a week since the longer the game continues, the less competitive it becomes. The gap between the lowest and the highest “No’s” counts gets wider.

15 | The Loser

It never pays to be the loser but sometimes the loser does pay. Simply put, the loser of the sales contest pays an amount towards a company party or something fun that in the end everyone will get to enjoy.

Be sure to make the amount somewhat insignificant, like $20, so that the loser won’t be too upset when they have to pay up. Some good ideas for where the money go are holiday parties, company picnics, team lunches, happy hour events, or even have a charity chosen by the team.

16 | Retention-Based Sales Contest

In most industries, the companies that are the most profitable aren’t usually making one-time sales but are instead focused on creating repeat sales with the same clients. Sales reps will often get focused on landing new clients instead of catering to the known clients that have already given them their business.

To create a more loyal client base, it’s recommended to have some sales contest ideas fixated on encouraging sales reps to garner loyal and repeat business. One way to do this is to hang up in the office a repeat business whiteboard. The goal of displaying their individual progress is to help them visualize their individual contribution to the company’s loyal client base.

17 | Enterprise-Level Sales Contests

Keep your team motivated and take away the focus on individual sales. Create a fun sales contest where offices compete against other offices or managers against managers. This is all about boosting team morale, creating a greater team cohesion and losing the emphasis on the individual.

A satisfying reward for the winning team or manager is often just bragging rights.

18 | Time-Reward Sales Contests

A high motivator and fun sales contest idea that gets the competitive juices flowing is a reward of time off. It suggested to use this reward near the end of a sales cycle because sales reps will sometimes hold off on making certain deals so when the next sales period starts, they have a deal ready to go in their pocket.

The rewards can range from leaving early on a Friday, arriving late on a low volume day, or even a paid time off (PTO) day.

19 | Buddy Up

Use the buddy system. Pair your top sales reps with the lower performers and reward the top sales team at the end of the month. The main result of this exercise will be greater team collaboration and the lower performers will have a chance to learn what makes their highly productive counterpart so effective.

20 | Pitch Contest

In this contest, top producers anonymously submit their sales pitch and the team tries to guess who’s each one is. At the end of all the submissions the whole team can vote on whose pitch they liked the most. All participants get to keep a copy of the pitches which they can learn from and use moving forward.

21 | Sales Team Scavenger Hunt

Frequently, a sales team has members that have become specialists in selling specific products or targeting certain clients. The scavenger hunt sales contest encourages your sales reps to team up and utilize their special talents to accomplish an objective.

The objectives can range from reaching a set revenue goal to selling a specific product to accomplishing a certain number of upsells. As the team members work together to fulfill their scavenger hunt objectives, they will naturally increase collaboration, boost morale, and drive sales.

22 | Surprise Salesperson Appreciation

Don’t let a team member go unnoticed even if they aren’t at the top of the charts. Choose a day when the entire team brings in a little gift or letter showing their appreciation for a chosen team member. Sales reps are notorious for being hyper-competitive and will often lose sight of keeping the overall morale high. Show every team member they are important to the success of the business and each other.

23 | Brackets

Much like college basketball’s March Madness, this sales game breaks the team into brackets. Each team member competes against a fellow sales rep and the one that out-sales the other during that week advances in the ranks.

As the weeks go on the competition gets more intense as the winning reps advance. At the end, the winning team member (and potentially the runner-up) gets a prize.

24 | Fantasy Sales Teams

Fantasy football teams have infiltrated the office water cooler, so why not take some of that competitive talk and let it infiltrate the sales team? Break your sales team up and simulate a random draft pick. Points are then awarded to each team’s “player”’ for their sales. The manager or team that earns the most fantasy points in the end wins the competition.

25 | Traveling Trophy (Floating Prize)

Each sales period the sales rep with the highest sales gets awarded a trophy to display on their desk. As long as they stay on top of their game, the trophy stays in their hands. When they are knocked off their highest sales pedestal, the winning rep takes the trophy and displays it at their desk.

As silly as it may seem, the flaunting of a decently sized gleaming trophy at a fellow team member’s desk can spark the competitive edge a manager is looking for in their team. Add a little more emphasis to the sales games and post pictures of each week’s winners in the break-room.

Benefits of Sales Contests

By nature, humans are very competitive beings. It has come from millennia of competing for resources and status. For those two reasons we compete with each other on almost every level and in almost every way possible whether it has to do with school, sports, work, or even the greenness of your lawn. Competition gives people a sense of pride and purpose.

With that in mind, sales managers and leadership can capitalize on human tendency through sales competitions. The main goals of sales competitions should be to increase individual performance, elevate team activity, and boost overall morale.

Tips for Planning Sales Contests

The best way to get everyone excited about a new sales contest is to ensure that no individual has an upper hand from the start. In order for a sales competition to guarantee a level the playing field between top and bottom performing reps, implement rules or mechanisms of:

1. Chance
2. Measurement of activity

With mechanisms of chance, the winners of the sales games are less likely to always be dominated by top reps because their normal strategies of making sales become irrelevant. Along those same lines, the outcomes based on measurable amounts of activity also inhibits the top sellers from dominating the games if they are unwilling to put in the effort that the bottom reps are able and willing to do.

The reason for applying these two characteristics to the sales games is that it makes every rep equal from the start and encourages healthy competition. Let’s face it, nobody is thrilled to compete in or win a game when the outcome is practically predetermined.

Common sales contest mistakes to avoid when setting up your contest:

While running sales contests can definitely boost morale, they do come with a risk. Be sure to avoid these common mistakes which can cause the opposite of the intended effect.

  1. Your contest only motivates top salespeople and fails to reach your team as a whole.
  2. It fails to hold your employees’ interest after the first few days.
  3. Improvements in performance do not last once the contest is over.
  4. It creates a competitive environment that hurts collaboration and employee spirit.
  5. Scores are tedious and time-consuming to track.


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