Six Creative Sales Contest Ideas that Can Increase Sales Performance

Sales motivation is key to achieve and maintain peak performance. Discover how sales teams can boost performance with these 6 creatives sales contest ideas.

11 min read

In any vocation, they say it's important to love what you do. Of course, not everyone is in a position to hold the job of their dreams--still, they need to make the best of their role if they have bills to pay. Even if employees don't love their jobs, having fun at the workplace can help them to stay longer, work harder, and make the right choices when problems arise.

If your sales team met their quota early, would you be opposed to letting them have some fun? What if you promised something fun in exchange for a desired outcome? Another way to increase productivity and fun competition at work is with contests.

When employees know they have the leeway to have some fun at work, they often significantly increase their performance. Plus, fun can help to alleviate potential burnout. Motivated employees contribute to company success. There are many ways to motivate your employees, and one way is through contests. 

Creating the Right Types and Frequency of Contests

Not all contests are created equal. To ensure you have the right mix of sales contests, determine how many you need to hold each year. In addition, there is a difference in major vs. small contests. Large contests require a lot of effort and background work. Small contests are easier to hold and manage.

If you want your employees to look forward to something every month, you might consider a small, but an ongoing monthly contest. Then, figure out why you're having the contest. Questions to ask include:

  • Is it to recognize top performers?
  • Do you want to improve employee confidence?
  • Are you trying to promote specific sales behaviors?
  • Do you need to sell more of a specific solution?
  • Are you attempting to set standards of sales performance?
  • Do you want to boost morale?
  • Would you like to increase order size or get more new customers?

When you have the answers to the above questions, you can then customize your contest to reach your desired objectives. You don't want it to be too complicated though. You should have no more than three objectives per contest. Then, the contest should have a value in order to motivate your employees.

For instance, your sales contest should offer prizes your team wants such as cash, gift cards, gifts, food, or special privileges, such as a day off. Make sure the rules are clear regarding how to win the prizes--the rules should be both simple and fair.

Don't change the rules once the contest has started and always follow through. Don't drop the contest once it has started, as this will hurt employee morale. It always helps to use silly promotions to advertise the contest. Keep in mind that sales contests serve as a motivational tool. Along with the right sales compensation plan, sales contests can encourage desired behaviors and results.


This type of contest is always fun because it is a contest of chance. To motivate your sales team, offer a raffle ticket each time they reach a specific objective throughout the month. Then, at the end of the month or quarter, you can have your drawing. Raffles are effective because they can be used to encourage specific results, but they are also easy to manage.

You might have a monthly or quarterly raffle with the types of prizes your team wants. In addition, it's like icing on the cake for employees to receive a prize on top of their compensation--especially if it is a prize they value. Not to mention, it's always fun to gather everyone around to see what people have won and also talk about how they achieved their goals. Plus, it gives your sales team something to look forward to every month or quarter.

Sales Contest Based on Milestones

Another motivating sales contest can be one based on milestones. For example, anyone who reaches a certain amount of sales in a month gets a prize. This can be motivating because often the top salespeople usually get the most prizes.

When you open the field and tie it to a milestone, it gives more sales reps the opportunity to win a prize. As a result, more sales reps become more motivated as opposed to the few top-earning salespeople.

The Leave Early Sales Contest

There isn't any question the most people like to leave work early on Fridays. So, offering a contest with this type of incentive is highly motivating--and it doesn't cost the company a significant amount of money to offer. Plus, if salespeople increase their output, why shouldn't they be allowed to leave a few hours early?

If you notice salespeople have gotten into the habit of spreading out their deals to hit their quotas for the next cycle, then you might make the objective to reach a specific quota the last few days of the month. Anyone who reaches that objective can leave early on Friday.

This helps to motivate your sales reps to close deals now rather than waiting for the next cycle. It also helps with sales performance. To ensure proper tallies, use sales performance management software. You may also be surprised to find deals that seem to appear out of thin air.

Take the Boss's Place

Who wouldn't want to be boss for the day? This type of sales contest works because everyone wants to see what their manager sees. Everyone has input they would like to share. Being boss for the day gives them the opportunity to do all those things and more.

But, it has an added benefit--sometimes sales reps think managers have it easy. Well, once they see things from their boss's perspective, they may realize the grass isn't always greener. Nonetheless, this contest can be run by awarding points based on sales numbers.

The rep with the most points at the end of the month gets to run a meeting or work on a project normally allocated for managers. The rep gets to take on a new role for the day, and it can also help them to prepare for career advancement.

March Madness

Another fun contest to improve sales competition could be based on March Madness. This would be a bracket-style contest that offers a friendly way to enhance the competitive nature of your sales team. Keep in mind, this contest would require a bit more background work and planning.

The set up includes creating a bracket for every salesperson on your team. At the end of each week or day, whoever has the most sales moves on to the next round. Then, you can tally the overall winner using sales performance management software.

You can award prizes at the end of the month or quarter. You can also choose to give smaller prizes to the finalists and a larger prize to the overall winner.

Dream Clients Contest

Most salespeople have a list of their most wanted clients. There are probably several large companies or big spenders your sale reps would love to have as clients. So, for this contest, you can have each rep list a few of their dream clients within their territory.

Verify that they are all aligned with the rep's territory, then have them create plans on how to reach out to them and attract their business. For this contest, rewards can be given to whoever makes the first sale to their dream client and to whoever makes the biggest sale. Not only is this contest fun, but you'll end up with some large clients.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to sales contests, fun can't be undervalued. In addition, your contests should motivate and excite your employees. In the end, you'll have increased revenue and happier sales reps.