12 Winning Sales Competition Ideas to Inspire Your Team
A spluttering engine turns like an oil tanker and struggles to get out of second gear.
And no, we’re not talking about your grandad’s Reliant Robin!
We’re talking about your B2B sales team on Day 1 of the month after scrambling to hit their team and individual targets the week before.
And as an SDR Manager, you can’t afford for a malaise to set in, especially one that results in a slow start to the month.
The best way to stop this from happening?
With sales competition ideas that build excitement and incentivise the right behaviours.
- Which sales contests work.
- How to run them.
- When they stop being effective.
Scroll for their insights 👇
How to plan sales competitions for SDRs
At Cognism, we split our SDRs into three different verticals: SMB, mid-market, and enterprise.
New hires start in the SMB vertical and, as they gain experience, may or may not progress to the mid-market and enterprise SDR teams, depending on their performance.
Each team has a separate budget to run SDR competitions, while David Bentham, VP of Global Sales Development, runs wider team competitions.
Best sales competition ideas
There are many ideas on how to spend your sales performance incentive fund, but the following have been particularly successful at Cognism. Check them out below 👇
1. A day at the races
Organise sales reps into mixed teams. Each team is assigned a horse, and MBs result in points won, moving horses closer to the finishing line.
This competition allows SMB SDRs to learn from target crushers and enterprise SDRs the opportunity to teach up-and-coming reps; this is great for morale.
2. Euros competition
Organise SMB, mid-market, and enterprise reps into mixed teams. Each team can attack and defend, nominating strikers and goalkeepers.
Strikers have the power to score goals for their team by booking meetings, while goalkeepers can deduct goals from their opponents by booking meetings.
Winning teams progress to the next knockout round, while losers play against each other.
Food/drinks - a sales competition prize idea that always works!
Any major sporting event works well for this; just tweak competition rules accordingly.
3. Team target
An ambitious team target is the centre of this challenge. The target needs to stretch the team but also be attainable.
Organise your reps into teams and give them a goal to hit by the end of the week/month. Everyone in the team shares the prize. Nobody gets the prize unless the team reaches its collective target!
Half-day for personal development or half-day off.
As top performers will likely be at 150% of target by the month’s end, the team target competition motivates them to push harder and lift up lower performers.
SDRs try to include chosen words in their cold calls and tick them off until they get a line of 5 words or phrases. At this point, they must shout “Bingo!” and then they win a prize.
The ultimate winner completes two lines of 10 words.
How’s that for a creative sales contest idea!
Get your reps’ creative juices flowing by choosing difficult words like “potato” or “Tony Blair”.
5. Speed dial challenge
SDRs compete to make the most qualified calls within a set time limit. Only calls resulting in a booked meeting count.
An extra day off.
The benefit of this engaging sales competition idea is that it motivates SDRs to maximise their call volume and quality.
6. Industry expert
SDRs research and present a deep dive into a specific industry. The presentations are judged based on both their content and delivery.
A professional development course of the winner’s choice.
By participating in this innovative sales contest idea, SDRs can become industry subject matter experts. It boosts their credibility and selling skills.
7. Referral race
SDRs earn points for every qualified referral they bring in. They can redeem the points for rewards or enter into a raffle for a grand prize.
A weekend getaway for two.
This sales contest encourages SDRs to tap into their professional networks to generate quality referrals. The goal is pipeline!
Sales competition idea for junior SDRs
8. High activity
Rachel told us the rules:
“In the SMB segment, our sales team contests aim to benchmark high activity, which we put between 75-100 calls per day.”
“That means we reward reps who make a ton of calls and book a ton of meetings.
This output-based model levels the playing field, allowing mid and lower-level performers to make their mark.”
This sales team competition idea also helps to prepare junior reps for the mid-market and enterprise segments because of the sheer amount of admin involved.
UberEats vouchers, which work for remote and in-office teams, or taking in-office winners out for lunch on the SDR Manager.
We avoid incentivising MAs because that’s how the team is targeted and paid; this naturally favours top performers. And usually, they don’t need extra motivation to hit their number.
Sales competition ideas for experienced reps
9. Snap incentives
Ole told us:
“The enterprise segment comprises more experienced SDRs, who are consistent target hitters. Outreach is also far more targeted and personalised, meaning, in theory, five calls could result in five MBs.”
“As a result, behaviour and volume-based incentives don’t work as well.”
This exciting sales competition lets you use snap incentives to take advantage of when reps are hot on a particular day. Saying something as simple as “if you book two more meetings today, you can expense your dinner” will keep your reps pushing through the day.
10. Monthly incentives
Monthly sales incentive competitions also work well, rewarding top performers with a grand prize. At Cognism, these are worth around £100, and we tailor the prize to the SDR.
“If they’re into whisky, we’ll buy them a top-shelf bottle. If they’re into cooking, we’ll buy them a Damascus Steel chef’s knife.”
This ensures that reps are bought into the competition, rather than having a prize forced on them.
Sales competition ideas for AEs
11. Goal-oriented competitions
“Sales competitions are an incredibly effective way to motivate AEs and drive results.”
We’ve found goal-oriented competitions to be successful.. Start by assessing the team’s objectives and targets for the month. You’ll make the biggest impact when you design competitions that react to the needs of the business.”
Brahm shared some examples of goal-oriented competitions:
“If demos are low, focus on pushing self-generated demos. If deals need to be closed, create competitions centred around closing deals.”
12. AE team challenges
The AE role can be isolating, but that doesn’t mean you can’t run team challenges. Brahm shared some examples:
“Set team targets and split deals to count against everyone’s number. This encourages everyone to work together and not let the team down.”
What about rewards/prizes for AEs? Brahm told us:
“Monetary rewards for competitions are effective, but non-monetary incentives can also play a significant role - like donating to charity. Activities or events can be a real hit! But be careful not to overwhelm AEs with too many social events.”
What to avoid in sales team competitions
Sure, SDR competitions and incentives get your reps pumped, just not when you run them all the time.
Burnout and disinterest are the likely results if you overplay your hand with weekly incentives or run longer ones everyone forgets about.
That means your best bet is running daily or weekly incentives with near-immediate payoffs around once per month.
The only exception to this rule is when you can offer something truly special; usually something with C-level backing that doesn’t come out of your budget.
This could be a non-monetary gift like a meeting with the CEO, a luxury gift like a Rolex or tailored suits for men and women. These are bound to get pulses racing!
How to implement sales team contest ideas effectively
When push comes to shove, B2B sales is about being the best.
And sales competitions help you extract this winning spirit from your reps in a healthy, morale-boosting way.
The challenge sales leaders face now is implementing them effectively in flexible-working teams.
At Cognism, we recently implemented an in-office rule for our UK SDRs, giving them five WFH days per month.
We did this because performance levels were much higher across the board when our teams returned in person post-COVID, due mainly to the bonding and skill-sharing reps can participate in on the floor.
But this isn’t possible for our remote teams as things stand.
As a result, we continue to involve them in wider incentives and afternoon standups to keep them motivated.
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