Sales contests are a tried and true technique for any sales team with at least a couple of reps. Whether you're a new manager of a sales team or have been doing it for decades, games, tournaments, prizes – they're all incentivizing so long as the reward is monetary in nature. Sales reps are driven by dollars – so keep it simple, fun, and competitive and you will see the most "bang for your buck" this way.
With that being said, just as there are many different types of sales contests and sales games, there are many ways to implement them. Of course, in the age of software, there are going to be more than a handful of great software options at your disposal to choose from, many of which integrate seamlessly into the tools you already use today. Alternatively, there are "quick and dirty" ways to get the job done as well – no shame there at all, you've gotta start somewhere.
In this article we break down the best options (as we see them, albeit we do provide some bias, we do offer one of these solutions of course, otherwise we wouldn't be writing about it). In all seriousness, there are plenty of awesome ways to get started... and whichever solution you choose - we highly recommend you choose to start with something, your sales team will thank you for it (and the extra incentive)! 😉
Alrighty... let's dive right in!
The SalesCompete tool was designed specifically to help lower the amount of time it takes insides sales managers to administer sales contents, tournaments, spiffs, power hours, etc. for their teams. Specific to companies using Slack, here are some of the top reasons your team would benefit from installing the SalesCompete tool (and what you can do with it):
- Setup a Classic "Power Hour" – Power hours can be setup to get your team racing against each other in a 60-min window to see who can place the most calls, make the most conversations, or book the most meetings over the phone. This is great for incentivizing calls across your team.
- Setup Meeting Bounties – Meeting bounties work by attaching a prize bounty (usually cash, heh) to a specific named account inside your CRM. Whoever books a meeting with the account first, wins the prize. Simply, yet dangerously effective.
- Direct Challenges (1-on-1) – Direct challenges between two reps can be started simply by typing "/challenge" into a Slack channel – pick the metric to face off against and away you go. The winner gets a prize that you determine, again, make it worth the team's while for the best results here.
- Team Challenges (Team vs. Team) – Very similar to the above, but where you pick sides. This could be effective to get the numbers up for a rep you're seeing poor performance from but who you don't want to single out or make feel anxious by setting up a direct (1-on-1) challenge. Set them up with some partners to help them out and the aim will be to inspire them to get their numbers up on their own without having to be too embarassed about it! Teams can be as large as you desire.
- Spin the Wheel – Spin the wheel is simply a prize type in SalesCompete. For any of the contests above you can simply add more than one prize. What will happen next? When the prize is one, an image of a wheel will pop into Slack and then whoever the game gets to press a button to "spin the wheel" – out pops the prize! Just as much fun as it sounds – yep.
Best of all - it integrates with your Hubspot, Outreach, and/or Salesloft instances you're already using so that there is (quite literally) not a single bit of data entry involved with the whole thing. Magic you say? Close... 😉
GeckoBoard makes the list here as it's a visual-first tool great for presenting the results of your sales contest (whatever you choose to run) for the team to see. It's really only useful for teams that are working out of an office, but if you are in the office and trying to run a power hour, challenge, tournament or other sales contest manually – this can be a good little tool to take visibility up a small notch.
Spinify is another desktop-based tool that can share contest results onto a TV in your office. They go a level deeper than GeckoBoard and are focused on depth of the sales contest experience. It comes complete with ways for sales reps to earn points, badges, and even cross into new "levels" that they achieve when they hit certain average thresholds of metrics. It comes complete with actual sales templates for different leaderboard designs. It connects into CRM directly so no data collection is required, and integrates with Microsoft Teams (but not Slack).
Ambition helps eliminate manual steps in the process of builds sales contests, similar to the solutions above. It's a bit of the older solution on the block, per se, but does come feature-packed. As the most expensive option on this list, we don't suggest starting with Ambition unless your sales contest or contest template game is already in full swing with various types and kinds of sales contests being run on a weekly or monthly basis. If not, a better place to start may exist with one of the other options on this page.
SmartWinnr lives inside of Salesforce (most of the time) and is more "game-y" than some of the other options on this post. The really lean into the customization of design with the running of sales contests and trackers. What are the "pros" vs. "cons" of SmartWinnr?
- Can connect with SFDC, Microsoft D365, Pipedrive, and other CRMs
- Can customize the design/background of your sales contests
- Can track incentives on a monthly or quarterly basis
- 'What-if' scenarios help sales reps to understand the different components in their incentives
- Send notifications about contests, winners, upcoming contests through the same SmartWinnr platform!
- A bit of a dated mobile application, although it's got one
- Doesn't live directly/integrate inside of messaging platforms like Slack or Teams
SalesScreen is the last software program to make our list. We've been a bit heavy on the software because (ultimately) your sales contests are going to be backed by numbers, and if the sales contest you've setup doesn't connect directly to the metrics inside of your CRM or sales enablement platform, it's likely going to be a bit of a nightmare to orchestrate and/or administrate. With that being said, what are the pros and cons of SalesScreen?
- Sales managers can define their own milestones and celebrate them company-wide
- Actual rewards (like gift cards, donations to your favorite places, etc.) can be setup from their web app
- A real bracketing system to run tourney/march madness style competitions between sales reps
- A recognition system allows sales leaders to define their own milestones and celebrate hitting these with interactive celebratory videos and customized announcements
- Another web app to sign your team up on and integrate them into
- Doesn't sync natively with Slack or Teams
And... we've got the trusted old spreadsheet. Notice we didn't use Excel for this last suggestion though. Why not? Because Excel can be slow and isn't easily shared across a team (or updated). Google Sheets makes it easy to quickly create literally whatever sales template or sales contest your heart desires on the fly. You can lock down the spreadsheet so your team cannot edit the values/results, but you can easily share it with them at the same time.
What are the drawbacks?
- You have to collect the data and update it manually. Yep, we've all been there. This can be OK for a short while, but ultimately you'll likely want to end up with one of the platforms named above if gamification and/or sales contests are going to be a big driver of motivation on your sales team.
- Doesn't announce the winners/results automagically into your team's messaging tool. For this, you'd want to setup a tool like SalesCompete (above) for integrating directly into Slack (for instance). You can still make the magic happen with a sheet, it's just going to be on you... hopefully you're not a forgetful person (or have setup a calendar invite for yourself to update the data/announce the winner each week).
What are some example contests/templates I can use?
About the only "type" of contest that you can run effectively from a spreadsheet is a metrics-based, reward program (a challenge or tournament). This should be a very straightforward process, so although we don't have a template here to download do keep these few simple things in mind when creating this sheet (before sharing with your team):
- Keep it simple. Probably the most important advice. Your reps need to easily understand the contest, and easily understand what they must do to win. We suggest picking an activity based metric to start, such as gross number of conversations held or total talk time (nobody likes to stay on the phone that long with sales people so this one is hard to game, especially if they're cold calls).
- Create multiple ways to win. This will keep more of your team engaged over the duration of the contest (that's a good thing). Recommendation: pick a gross metric for winning and an efficiency metrics for winning (such as the highest percentage of meetings booked per calls placed, above a floor of say, 3 meetings).
- Make the incentive strong. This one is a no-brainer, but we had to throw it in here regardless. If your incentive falls flat, kiss your entire sales contest goodbye before it even starts. Don't let this happen – make your team appreciate the fact that you're running this contest for a reason.
- Update results frequently, even twice a day. Again, we don't recommend doing the spreadsheet route from the get-go, but if you do, make sure to update your results often. This also might seem obvious, but it inspires your reps to constantly work towards their best performance and helps them keep the final reward in mind.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sales Contest Software
1. What is the benefit of using sales contest software?
The benefit of using sales contest software is that it can help sales managers create a healthy competitive environment between reps, increase engagement and motivation, and improve overall sales performance. Through use of gamification tools, sales teams can track their progress and optimize the sales process.
2. What is the difference between friendly competition and unhealthy competition in a sales contest?
The difference between friendly competition and unhealthy competition in a sales contest is that friendly competition is team-based, with the aim to motivate reps and boost performance. It creates a positive atmosphere where everyone works together to strive for their best. Unhealthy competition meanwhile creates a negative atmosphere which ends up demotivating employees, ultimately resulting in poorer performance.
3. How can sales contests help in improving sales performance?
Sales contests are an excellent way to increase sales performance by promoting a team goal and encouraging employees to push their limits. It motivates employees and promotes healthy competition, leading to increased sales activities and revenue growth.
4. How do team-based contests promote employee engagement?
Team-based contests encourage employees to work together towards a common goal, promoting a sense of camaraderie and team spirit. It helps to increase employee engagement and fosters a positive work environment.
5. Can sales contest software be used to track sales activities on the sales floor?
Yes, sales contest software can be used to track and monitor sales activities on the sales floor. It can provide real-time updates so that everyone is aware of individual and team performance status.
6. How do you choose the best sales contest software for your team?
When choosing the best sales contest software for your team, you should consider factors such as the size of your team, the type of sales process you utilize, and your budget. Taking the time to research and compare different options can help you select the right one for your team's needs.
7. Can sales contests be used to improve sales performance across an entire team?
Yes, sales contests are a great way to improve overall sales performance across an entire team. They create healthy competition by setting team-based goals and provide motivation for employees to work together towards those goals. By encouraging employees to work collaboratively and competing against each other, sales contests can help spur on higher levels of productivity, leading to increased sales. Additionally, they can foster a sense of camaraderie among your team while helping them reach their goals faster.
And... that's a wrap. Hopefully you've read through the above and now have either a tool you'd like to try or a contest/game in mind to administer on your own (through something like Google Sheets or Slack). Ultimately, there are so many ways to get creative with how you go about your sales contests... the best time to start is yesterday! Your sales reps you hired are undoubtedly money motivated, and if you put more opportunities to win money in front of them - if they are the right reps that should be motivation enough to change activity levels and eventually performance. Until next time...
Always be closing,
~ Amy and John