The following is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of our brand-new eBook: The Winner's Guide to Running Effective Sales Contests.

“Increasing phone calls” should never be the goal of a sales contest.

That’s right - running a successful contest or sales competition is about understanding the long-term outcome that can be driven by both immediate focus on specific metrics and sales process improvements. So, by all means - run a contest on most outbound sales calls made - but do it because you know that more calls equals more meetings.

In addition to long-term thinking, here are 4 other maxims to keep in mind throughout 2016:

  1. Go big or go home.
  2. Impact the middle (70% of performers).
  3. Incorporate multiple metrics.
  4. Extend the game.

Let’s quickly break each of these down 1 by 1.

Sales Contest Maxim: Go Big or Go Home

When it comes to sales contests, bigger is better. Ask Salesforce.1 Ask the Harvard Business Review.2

This applies particularly to incentives -- consider options like BlueBoard that provide memorable, fun and diverse incentives that don’t break the bank.

Sales Contest Maxim: Impact the Middle

Change the way you think about sales contests. Rather than seeing them purely as a way to incentivize your top 10-20% of performers, think about how you can impact the middle 70%.

As found by the Harvard Business Review, your middle 70% of performers is where your inside sales team has the greatest opportunity for KPI improvement.3  Therefore, it behooves sales leaders to focus on targeting the middle percentile of performers, rather than the top or bottom.

Sales Contest Ideas

A great way to reach the middle 70% is by running a team sales contest with top, middle and bottom performers grouped together.

This ensures that more middle and bottom performers stay engaged throughout the duration of the sales competition.

Sales Contest Maxim: Use 2+ Metrics

The more metrics you can factor into each sales contest, the better.

As has been documented by Harvard Business Review and elsewhere, sales competitions that incorporate multiple metrics perform substantially better than those that focus on just a single metric.

Sales Contest Maxim: Extend the Game

If your typical sales contest only lasts a day or a week, consider upping the stakes and creating a month-long or quarter-long competition. The bigger the stakes, the harder your sales reps will push, especially once the competition nears its climax.  

And not to beat a dead horse here - but we’re coaching process. Changing behavior takes weeks - 66 days, according to new scientific research.4 On the business calendar, that amounts to a full quarter, so factor that into the length of the next sales contest you devise.

Download the eBook

Click here to download the Winner's Guide to Running Effective Sales Contests.

sales contest

Top Sales Contest Resources

1Mark Roberge. “6 Tips for Running an Incredibly Effective Sales Contest.” 

2Ethan Bernstein. “The Sales Director Who Turned Work into a Fantasy Sport.” 

3Thomas Steenburgh and Michael Ahearne. “Motivating Sales People: What Really Works.” https://hbr. org/2012/07/motivating-salespeople-what-really-works

4Lucia Peters. “How Long Does It Take to Develop a New Habit? 66 Days, Says New Science.” https://www. 

Run Revenue-Driving Sales Contests on Ambition

Ambition is a sales management platform that syncs every sales organization department, data source, and performance metric on one easy system.

Ambition clarifies and publicizes real-time performance analytics for your entire sales organization. Using a drag-and-drop interface, non-technical sales leaders can build custom scorecards, contests, reports, and TVs.

Ambition is endorsed by Harvard Business Review, AA-ISP (the Global Inside Sales Organization), and USA Today as a proven solution for managing millennial sales teams. Hear from our customers below.

Watch Testimonials:

  1. FiveStars: Adam Wall. Sr. Manager of Sales Operations . 
  2. Filemaker: Brad Freitag. Vice-President of Worldwide Sales.
  3. Outreach: Mark Kosoglow. Vice-President of Sales.
  4. Cell Marque: Lauren Hopson. Director of Sales & Marketing.
  5. Access America Transport: Ted Alling. Chief Executive Officer.

Watch Product Walkthroughs:

  • ChowNow. Led by Vice-President of Sales, Drew Woodcock.
  • Outreach. Led by Sales Development Manager, Alex Lynn.
  • AMX Logistics. Led by Executive Vice-President ,Jared Moore.

Read Case Studies:

  1. Clayton HomesHBR finds triple-digit growth in 3 sales efficiency metrics. 
  2. Coyote Logistics: Monthly revenue per broker grew $525 in 6 months.
  3. Peek: Monthly sales activity volume grew 142% in 6 months.
  4. Vorsight: Monthly sales conversations grew 300% in 6 months.

Contact us to learn how Ambition can impact your sales organization today.


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