How To Run A Successful Sales Contest

This is a guest post by Bryan Talebi, VP of Sales at Bizzabo. Bizzabo is the world’s first event success platform. It helps organizers create successful events by empowering them to build amazing websites, sell tickets, grow communities, go mobile and maximize event experiences.

Sales reps are competitive, so I like to give them opportunities to win in multiple ways. The goal of a sales contest is to help the team focus on the different levers they can pull to scientifically be able to push deals upward. These contests help reps focus on the specific activities they can do to make team goals reachable.

Key benefits

  • Increased personal motivation
    • Every week, each person on my team has an opportunity to start fresh, and each week is an opportunity for them to win. Reps wind up being more focused.
  • Increased numbers
    • Since implementing weekly and quarterly sales contests, our numbers have consistently been going up. Six of the past seven months have had the highest sales of our company’s history.
  • Better Team Communication
    • Sales contests give reps a chance to work together in deciding contest goals and structure. It’s a consistent opportunity for teamwork and collaboration.

How to set it up

The Weekly Sales Contest

  • The contest should help the reps focus on specific, repeatable actions, things they can control 100% to boost their numbers.
  • We have a weekly morning call to set this up. I propose the topic for the week, then I let the reps decide the specifics of the contest. That way they can figure out which levers push the team as a whole.
  • The Contest Metric
    • Use the call to have conversations with reps to decide the contests, and ask questions to get to the right ideas. (ex. this week we focus on calls, so each rep competes against his daily call volume target)
    • Whatever the metric we decide, each rep competes against his own targets (% of weekly quota), so everyone has an equal chance to win.
  • The prize is usually within the 50-200 dollar range, and I let the reps decide on something they all want. Some weeks they are cash prizes, a new video game, tickets to a sporting event, whatever is important to the team.

The Quarterly Sales Contest

  • Quarterly goals are based on production against each rep’s personal targets.
  • We have two prizes: most deals brought in and most revenue. While the weekly prize is the same for everyone, the quarterly prize is personal to each sales rep.
    • At the beginning of each quarter, each rep submits their desired prize.
    • The quarterly prize is usually between $500 and $1k, and it includes an item + an experience.
      • Example: 500 dollar watch + courtside seats to a basketball game, or a nice bottle of scotch + tickets to a show.


  • Competition
    • The idea is to promote competition, but not to the point where it’s damaging to the team. The contest should include a sense of collaboration in order to foster a healthy sense of team competition.
  • Micromanaging
    • It’s easy to try to decide the contest and prizes for yourself, but the team will benefit most when they are the ones deciding which KPIs to focus on to meet the team goals. The challenge is to provide a general framework but ultimately let them own it.
  • Creating an attainable goals for everyone
    • One week we had a contest on number of deals brought in, but many reps had different sized pipelines so it didn’t really drive much behavior. If the contest is not focused on something the each rep directly controls, there will be little personal motivation.

Tips for Success

  • Use gifts, not cash
    • I’m a big proponent of gifts over cash. Every time they wear/use it, they remember what enabled them to earn it. It’s a prize that keeps on giving and puts more of their attention on what they need to do.
  • Let the reps decide the rules
    • When you let your team decide on the contest, they’re more bought into going after it. Even if I don’t think a contest is going to work, if the team has a lot of buy in on the idea they’re going to be more motivated to try to hit it.
  • Don’t use a “one prize fits all”
    • Let the reps pick their own prizes. When it’s something they care about they’re more emotionally invested in reaching their goals.

Have any questions on how to run a successful sales contest? Email us at

Bryan Talebi

Bryan is the CEO & Co-founder of Ahura A.I which is an edtech startup in its seed round, that uses artificial intelligence to a create one-to-one learning experience. He is the former Vice President of Global Sales and Sales Operations at Vestorly.