Sales Training Resources

Six ideas to making successful sales contests

About 20 years ago, my boss pulled me into his office and asked a favor. We were entering June and all indications were pointing to a slow second quarter. The company needed sales. He needed sales. His request was direct: “I need you to pull in every dollar possible this month. I’ll approve whatever you need—just bring in the sales.” I rode in the field every day that month, staying in front of decision-makers and creatively convincing them to place their Q3 orders early. My region finished almost 300% of our quota, and we saved our company’s reporting that quarter.

Guess what? We had a contest the next quarter and the director of the winning region won a Rolex. Really? I just pulled all my Q3 business into Q2 to bail out the other regions, and now one of them is going to get a Rolex – my Rolex. I haven’t liked sales contests since then, and have bitterly pointed out their shortcomings every chance I get. However, along this journey of criticizing these types of competitions, I’ve also developed some best practices to getting the most of out of sales contests. Below are six ideas that will help sales leaders develop, promote and execute successful sales contests.

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Five Core Beliefs of Modern-Day Selling


Customers and prospects don’t believe they need salespeople anymore.


The primary goal of prospecting is to become known as a subject matter expert.


Purchasing decisions are made by multiple people who may not know the salesperson.


Customers and prospects are distracted more than ever, rarely focused on salespeople.


Salespeople must make their customers successful. Satisfaction and friendships are not enough to maintain the business.

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