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How to Run a March Madness-Style Sales Contest

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How to Run a March Madness-Style Sales Contest


How to Run a March Madness-Style Sales Contest

March Madness Sales Contest Ideas, Examples, and how-tos

Sales leaders - brace yourselves, because we're sharing the exact step-by-step playbook one company used to run its own 40 person NCAA Tournament-style sales competition.

march madness sales contest

Bold statement: March Madness is the world's greatest sports event. 

The World Cup and Super Bowl are epic spectacles, to be sure. But March Madness is the most epic spectacle - namely because it strips away all the excess noise. No dictatorial regimes. No gaudy halftime shows. Just 6 rounds of epic 'win-or-go-home' competition.

Why Sales Teams Buy Into March Madness  

March Madness is built for maximum inclusiveness. Brackets. Bubbles. Upsets. Buzzer Beaters. Cinderellas. Office Pools.

Sometime in the next 30 days - a TV screen or Gary in accounting is going to steal your attention for one millisecond. Once that happens - you're toast.

Maybe your 8-seed alma mater will go the distance with the consensus tourney favorite in Round 2. That audacious 11-seed you called to make the Final Four will shock the world and give you pole position in a 2,000 entry office pool.

Maybe Bill Raftery will yell "Onions!" while you're in earshot of a TV.


Six March Madness Contest Ideas

1. “All-Time Offense” Contest

Our very own Head of Sales Development Chris O’ Connor uses head-to-head competitions pairing SDRs up to compete against each other on Meetings Held and SQLs for the month. Each team gets 3 points for a meeting held and 1 point for an SQL. But that’s not all—Chris involves an inbound rep in this competition to make things a little more interesting.

Any points the inbound rep receives from marketing-lead meetings will be given the team with the higher combined activity score on the day that meeting runs. The inbound rep acts as "all-time offense" and can score points for either team, incentivizing the outbound reps to keep daily activity high so they can get those extra points! 

2. 4-Day-Work-Week Competition 

Set an activity and meeting set goal for each individual on the team that aligns to keep them on-track toward their monthly quotas. If they’re able to hit their weekly goals by Thursday afternoon, they get to take Friday off! If they hit the goal at any point on Friday, they can take the remainder of the day off. 

It encourages reps to be very efficient with their team early on in the week. Plus a lot of times reps are more excited about free time off than they are about monetary rewards! 

3. Cross-Departmental Competition

Use a universal score like "activity score" to bring everyone in on the fun. This allows marketing to compete against sales, or success, or support—you get the idea! Create a series of micro metrics for each team that roll into a comprehensive activity score and have the teams battle it out from the elite 8 on down to the championship. 

This type of competition not only engages everyone across your organization and gives employees a chance to learn more about cross-department functions, but it also just adds a healthy dose of fun to each team’s daily grind. 

4. Rookies & Vets Contest 

Pair up newer sales reps with veterans in a contest that allows your green reps to not only compete but learn alongside the players that have spent a while in the game! Award 1 point for every connect made from your prospectors, 2 points for each meeting set, and 4 points for a qualified opportunity. Setting it up this way allows for hustle when one rep is down in points and encourages skill building to grow point levels beyond the competition. 

5. Mascots Matter (Contest Add-On)

Add a mascot to any competition to encourage your competitors—and your audience! Allow each competing team in a sales contest to select an image or gif that represents their team. Then you can encourage non-sellers who aren't competing to vote each week on the best image/gif to build awareness around the competition and get the whole company cheering for their favorites. Bonus points if you give your mascots a fun name to help get people talking. 

6. Parallel Competitive Brackets

While you’re running your standard March Madness sales competitions, if you’re eliminating reps throughout your contest, consider running parallel competitive brackets for reps who lose in early rounds! This will keep players engaged and motivated to keep their activity high even when they’ve lost one competition. You can add as many parallel competitions as you need to keep the March Madness fun motivating. 


How to Run a March Madness Sales Contest

Ambition is the only sales performance management platform that lets you run March Madness-style sales contests. Last March, our clients Fitzmark showed how they ran a March Madness sales competition with 41 brokers in their office. 

There are two ways to run March Madness for Sales. One with teams. Another with individual reps. Here are quick walkthroughs that show how to do each below.

Head to Head Matchups: Ambition Challenges

Step 1. Choose Your Metric and Seed Reps

Every great competition starts with a metric. What will be your company's version of 'points?' 

ambition sales metrics

Pictured: Schedule future Challenges for Rounds 2-6 of your Tournament.

You could choose: calls, deals, revenue, and such. We recommend choosing 'Ambition Scores' - which let your entire sales force compete 'Apples to Oranges' based on the metrics that matter most to each rep.

sales contest scores

Pictured: This Challenge has managers compete on 'Objective Score'

Once you have chosen your metric, seed your reps based on past performance. Use a time interval that makes sense for your company.

Step 2. Set Up Ambition Challenges

Set up one Ambition Challenge for each matchup. Start by navigating to the Helmet in the left sidebar.

sales contest scoring

Inside the Challenge Builder - you can now toggle a recurring schedule for your contest on or off. Then select the start and end dates / times for launching the initial contest.

Once you do that, scheduling recurring future competitions is just a matter of choosing time interval and end date for future recurrences.

sales contests

From there - simply choose competitors, metrics, and prizes for your contest. And voila! You're running powerful, automated sales competitions that update in real-time on office TVs, in Salesforce and within Ambition's platform UI. 

tv sales contests

Ambition's easy drag-and-drop competition builder allows for near-limitless flexibility. Feel like getting in on the action? Compete against your fellow managers based on who's team is hitting objectives. (Watch how Outreach does it). 

march madness sales competition

Step 3. Track live scores and Advance winners.

Ambition shows you the live scores of each matchup in the Ambition Challenge UI and inside of Salesforce.

ncaa tournament sales contest

salesforce SPIFs

Ambition also lets you publish slides on Ambition TV with live score updates for each matchup.

march madness for sales

Watch your competitions happen in real-time, advance your winners, and advertise an awesome championship incentive. Congratulations - you have run your first March Madness-style sales competition! 

Team-Format: March Madness for Sales

Step 1. Choose Your Competitors

Ambition's newest update now provides full member breakdowns for each Group Dashboard. Just navigate to the left sidebar as shown below.

ambition profile dashboard

Choose any group you manage, then scroll down to the bottom of their profile. You will now see a new Member Grid that displays the group's members, their start dates within the group, and the group's managers. 

Ambition group manager

From there, you can jump into our leaderboard interface, get the specs on top performers and coaching opportunities, and convert those insights into action (like sending Sam Smith below a public shout-out). All in a matter of seconds. 

sales team leaderboards

Step 2. Set up Team Fantasy Sales Contests.

To set up a Fantasy Contest, an Ambition admin must navigate to the settings section in the left hand navigate. Go to Competitions, then click Fantasy.

march sales contest

From there, the admin can set up a sales competition with the right number of teams and schedule out a regular season with playoffs. Here's an example below.

team sales contests

Step 3. Track live scores on Ambition and Office TVs.

Once the competitions are live, you can track live scores for each matchup in Ambition and create slides for each matchup on office TVs. Below is a real-world example that Fitzmark set up for its March Madness Sales Competition in March 2017.

march madness contest

In the Ambition Competition UI, you can also few high-level looks at your bracket, standings, competitions, and current scores for each matchup. Below is the same March Madness sales competition Fitzmark ran last year.

march madness sales contest

Voila! You're almost done! Make sure to set your lineups and bench people who are out-of-office during your competitions. 


Prize Ideas for March Madness

If you're looking for a few prize ideas for your March Madness sales contest, consider some of the following: 

  • Friday off
  • Matching team jerseys for the winning team
  • Limited edition company swag
  • sports tickets
  • subscription to sports streaming package on hulu or sling 

Run March Madness for Sales on Ambition

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

Companies use Ambition to codify and manage sales metrics and personnel. Ambition's drag-and-drop interface lets non-technical sales leaders create custom sales contests, scorecards, reports, and TVs to drive results.  

Ambition is endorsed by Harvard Business Review, AA-ISP (the Global Inside Sales Organization), and USA Today as a proven solution for sales teams looking to run hyper-engaging sales competitions that accelerate revenue. Contact us and build your March Madness themed sales contest.


Ambition: The Agile Sales Management Platform

Harvard Business Review and AA-ISP (the Global Inside Sales Organization).  Fortune 1000 sales organizations like UPS, Aerotek and Wayfair use Ambition to enhance sales KPI clarity and drive their teams using real-time scorecards, dashboards, alerts, contests, and TV leaderboards. 

tennessee sales organizations

Contact us to schedule a demo of Ambition for your sales force today.

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About Ambition
Sales Leaders, HR Professionals, and C-Level Executives use Ambition to recognize, motivate, and develop employees into more engaged and productive versions of themselves. Funded by Google, used by the Fortune 500, endorsed by the Harvard Business Review.