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In the pulsating realm of sales, contests have long been heralded as the champions of motivation, promising to propel teams to soaring heights. Sales contests are a popular and often effective tool businesses use to motivate and engage their sales teams. Yet, for many businesses, the reality often falls short of expectations. 

Are your sales contests not yielding the expected results? You're not alone. 

According to recent statistics, a staggering 73% of companies express dissatisfaction with the effectiveness of their sales contests, citing a lack of engagement and underwhelming performance.

If your sales contests are falling short of expectations, it's essential to identify the reasons behind their lackluster performance and implement strategies to boost their effectiveness. 

Having said that, in this blog, we'll explore some common reasons why sales contests may not work as intended and provide valuable tips to make your sales contests truly enticing, combining the excitement of gamification with irresistible rewards and incentives.

5 Common reasons why your sales contests are not working

Here are the 5 Common reasons why your sales contests are not working.

1. No real-time visibility

Make it visual and real-time; everyone must know how they perform against their peers. To make contests work, your sales team needs to be aware of them and be able to track them in real time, and this is what they look like over the tenure of the contest.

  • Create the competition and broadcast it on Slack, email, and WhatsApp. 
  • Sales executives have to check their scores on WhatsApp groups or Slack channels. 
  • The program admin spends 2-3 hours every day updating this data. 
  • Everyone slacks because they’re spending too much energy simply searching for information. 
  • The program admin gets tired of updating because the executives aren’t as engaged and replace the daily updates with weekly updates. 
  • Executives occasionally look at the data and drop their efforts since they lag far behind.  

The competition fails. The sales reps don’t see a point in participating in these contests, program admins think it is just one more task, and sales leaders wonder why their contests aren’t working.  

Well, it is because it is not automated, making it slow,  tedious, and manual. 

Solution: With Compass, the sales reps, managers, admins, HR teams, the finance team, and the management have real-time access to incentive statements. Having this data readily available motivates sales reps to see what they’ve earned and how they can earn more.

2. Not built for everyone

Most organizations build sales contests for a specific set of performers and never for the entire team. Organizations often run programs for tail-end performers or sales superstars with low or immensely high targets.

There are always 2-3 reps that win every sales competition, there’s always that hunter that books more meetings than anyone else, there’s that enterprise rep that closes the most prominent deals, and there’s always that SDR that calls more than anyone in the team. 

While running sales contests for specific sets of participants motivates them to perform better, it is a recipe for disaster if the same rules and parameters are blanketed to all sales reps. 

The best way to run a successful sales contest is by motivating different behaviors, built for all reps that they can choose from and the one that makes them feel “I just might win this one”. 

Solution: Design contests that accommodate various selling styles and skill sets. Consider incorporating both individual and team-based components to ensure that everyone, regardless of their approach to sales, has an opportunity to contribute and be recognized. With Compass, you can publish sales programs with read-to-use game templates like milestones, targets, cascading, etc, in under 10 minutes.

3. Built to reward the ultimate win 

Rewarding for the ultimate win is a major pet peeve that is counterproductive. 

Nothing is more demotivating than looking at your sales leaderboard and seeing that you are 189th. While being at or near the bottom of the leaderboard can be a great motivator in smaller contests, returning from so far down the list is too much to handle for most reps. 

To avoid this, building milestone-based sales contests is the trick. Milestone-based programs give you the liberty to reward your reps periodically and motivate them to do more. It motivates them to at least get into the top ten, even if winning the entire thing might not be an option. 

Solution: Introduce tiered rewards or recognize different levels of achievement. Acknowledging incremental successes creates a more inclusive environment where participants feel valued and motivated to push themselves, even if they don't secure the top prize. With Compass, you can decide the milestones and rewards that typically boost performance with a simple formula known to work for ages, “A little more”.

4. Irrelevant metrics and unachievable timeframe 

Nothing in sales contests demotivates reps as much as setting goals that are not SMART. 

Suppose you want to create contests that drive immediate impact and long-term ROI. In that case, it is time you start taking a close look at the top metrics like early-stage KPIs like calls, e-mails, LI activity, discovery and first-time meetings, new opportunities, follow-up meetings, and late-stage metrics like pipeline movement, proposals/ offers,  closed-won deals and have a look at the time-frame within which the goals can be achieved. 

Solution: Establish achievable goals that align with your team's capabilities and the contest's timeframe. Ensure that the metrics chosen are relevant to your sales representatives' daily activities and responsibilities, making success both realistic and motivating. With Compass, you can build sales contests to drive different behaviors over different time frames to boost performance.

5. Boring and irrelevant rewards 

Giving out random trophies and irrelevant brand vouchers at the end of a contest makes it dull and insignificant. The cost of procuring the brand vouchers is exceptionally high. And it hardly ever reaches the right person. 

Apart from that, since brand vouchers are relevant for every rep, the redemption percentage drops, resulting in close to zero engagement and motivation. All of this is after you have spent money with a little discount on procuring these vouchers. Sales reps deserve meaningful rewards for their efforts. 

Solution: Well, who doesn’t love the freedom to pick their present? With Compass, surprise and delight your sales with custom gifts that make them go wow from a plethora of options. With Compass, access to easy-to-curate, simple-to-redeem, the widest global rewards ctaalog with a selection of over 26,000 reward options from 8,000+ global brands that offer frequent opportunities for instant gratification.

Sales incentive contests have been, and will continue to be, practical ongoing management tools for organizations. But with Compass, you won’t have to worry about them at all. 

5 Tips to make sales contests enticing with gamified rewards and incentives

Studies show that 90% of sales reps are more productive at work when they’re involved in gamified programs like sales contests. So, turn your boring sales contests into magical experiences that captivate your team and propel them toward success. Infusing them with gamified rewards and enticing incentives can turn the experience into a thrilling adventure. Here is how:

1. Create a game-like atmosphere

Transform your sales contests into a captivating game by incorporating elements such as points, badges, and leaderboards. Make the journey towards sales targets feel like an epic quest. 

Provide participants with a clear understanding of how they earn points, achieve badges, and climb the leaderboard. This creates a sense of friendly competition and adds an element of fun to the daily sales grind.

2. Align incentives with achievable goals

Make incentives for the treasures waiting at each level's end by aligning them with achievable goals. Whether hitting specific sales targets, securing new clients, or achieving a set conversion rate, ensure that the objectives are challenging yet realistic. This keeps the excitement alive and motivates team members to push their limits.

3. Personalize rewards for individual motivation

Recognize that each team member is motivated by different incentives. Monetary rewards may drive some, while others may value recognition or unique experiences. Personalize your rewards to cater to diverse preferences within your team. 

Whether it's cold hard cash, recognition, or a weekend getaway, choose rewards that light up your team's eyes. Make them dream big, and watch the motivation soar. This boosts motivation and creates a sense of appreciation for individual contributions.

4. Introduce mystery and surprise elements

Keep participants on their toes by introducing mystery and surprise elements throughout the contest. Consider adding unexpected rewards, special bonuses, or hidden challenges that unlock additional incentives. The element of surprise adds an extra layer of excitement, making the sales contest feel like an adventure with unexpected twists and turns.

5. Encourage collaboration with team-based challenges

Foster a sense of camaraderie by incorporating team-based challenges into your sales contests. Create scenarios where team members must collaborate to achieve collective goals. 

The rewards for these challenges can be shared among the winning team, promoting teamwork and a supportive work environment. This adds a social aspect to the contest and strengthens the bonds within the sales team.

With rewards that sparkle, gamification that adds a dash of fun, and incentives that fuel ambition, your sales contests can become enchanting experiences that leave a lasting impact. It's not just about closing deals; it's about creating a magical journey where every team member feels inspired, valued, and ready to conquer the next challenge. 

Elevate your sales game with Compass: A gamification revolution for boosting performance

Staying ahead of the game requires innovation and strategic motivation in the ever-evolving sales landscape. Enter Compass, your compass to success in gamified sales contests. Compass simplifies the process of creating competitions and empowers you to influence performance against key performance indicators (KPIs) and foster positive behavior changes. 

Let's dive into how Compass can revolutionize your sales contests and elevate your team's performance.

1. Diverse competition formats

Compass offers a versatile range of competition formats to suit your goals. Whether you aim to influence weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly performance, choose from milestones, races, counters, or bingo to drive the right results. This flexibility ensures that your sales contests align with the timeframe and objectives that matter most to your team.

Diverse competition formats
  • Target-based: Influence performance over specific timeframes.
  • Competition-based: Foster healthy competition within or across teams.
  • Special Schemes: Drive targeted results in specific areas like product sales or stock clearance.
  • Cascading Programs: Address tail-end performance, high achievers, or implement PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) programs.

2. Personalized nudges & notifications

Harness the persuasive power of Compass's nudge engine to prompt timely action. Break down performance targets into well-timed interventions. Send personalized updates based on self-performance, participation in programs, or redemptions. 

Personalized nudges & notifications

Schedule nudges such as relative performance comparisons, earning opportunities, company announcements, and reminders to maximize engagement and keep your team on track.

3. Groups & communities for internal communication

Foster a sense of community and collaboration within your sales team with Compass's communication hub. Create chat groups to encourage conversations, share best practices, and drive healthy competition. 

Groups & communities for internal communication

Utilize activity feeds, document repositories, focused groups, and announcements to enhance internal communication. Push notifications ensure that important updates are never missed.

4. Motivate with potential earnings insights

Empower your team to measure and plan for success with Compass's earning simulator. Provide real-time data on earning trends, opportunities, and achievements. 

Motivate with potential earnings insights

By showcasing potential earnings insights, Compass creates an environment focused on achievement, motivating your team to strive for their goals with a clear understanding of the rewards awaiting them.

Case Study: eKart enhances delivery executive engagement with Compass incentive gamification

eKart, India's leading logistics and supply chain service provider, recognized the pivotal role of Delivery Executives (DEs) in shaping customer experiences. Facing challenges such as rising delivery costs, delayed deliveries, and a high attrition rate, eKart sought to boost DE engagement and efficiency. In their quest for a solution, they partnered with Xoxoday Compass, a gamified incentive platform.

Client overview

eKart, established in 2009 as Flipkart’s in-house supply chain arm, has evolved into a comprehensive logistics solutions provider. With a reputation for reliable deliveries and operational excellence, eKart serves businesses across India, handling approximately 10 million shipments monthly across 3800 pin codes.


  • Delivery costs: Delays and incorrect deliveries were inflating costs, impacting the company's financial health.
  • DE engagement and attrition: Low motivation among DEs led to high attrition rates, resulting in recurring expenses for hiring and training.


  • Incentive structure: Manage various incentive levels for DEs at hub, zone, and regional levels.
  • Efficiency improvement: Reinforce activities leading to improved delivery efficiencies.
  • Fake delivery attempts: Eliminate false delivery attempts through better monitoring and motivation.

The Compass solution

eKart implemented Compass to automate and digitize their incentive program. The platform incorporated game-like elements, rewards, and recognition, providing comprehensive access to incentive program information for eKart's vast network of 2 lakh delivery agents.

Key features

  • Incentive customization: Compass accommodated multiple incentive structures, aligning with various award categories for DEs at different organizational levels.
  • Performance improvement: The platform facilitated timely nudges, guiding DEs towards activities that garnered recognition, rewards, and incentives, thereby enhancing delivery efficiency.
  • Visibility through leaderboards: Compass leaderboards offered real-time visibility, allowing leadership and DEs at different levels to identify top performers and appreciate them for their outstanding contributions.
  • Fake rate metrics: Real-time metrics on fake delivery attempts were captured and integrated with an inverse incentive design in Compass, motivating DEs to reduce fraudulent activities and consequently improving overall delivery efficiency.


  • Delivery efficiency improvement: eKart witnessed a remarkable 79% improvement in delivery efficiency.
  • Attrition reduction: The attrition rate decreased by 48%, resulting in substantial cost savings related to hiring and training.
  • Enhanced visibility: Compass provided transparency, enabling leadership to recognize and appreciate top-performing DEs.
  • Fake delivery attempts mitigation: Through targeted incentives and real-time metrics, eKart successfully reduced fake delivery attempts, ensuring greater customer satisfaction.

By harnessing the power of Compass, eKart not only addressed the challenges in their last-mile delivery but transformed their DE engagement strategies. The gamified incentive platform significantly improved operational efficiency and contributed to a substantial reduction in attrition, showcasing the transformative impact of innovative solutions in the logistics industry.


Sales contests have the potential to be powerful motivators when executed thoughtfully. You can breathe new life into your sales contests by addressing clarity, rewards, format, communication, and support issues and boost their effectiveness.

Remember, a well-designed and engaging contest drives performance and fosters a positive and competitive spirit within your sales team, contributing to long-term success.

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Karishma Bhatnagar

Karishma Bhatnagar LinkedIn

Karishma is a passionate blogger who comes with a deep understanding of SEO tactics. When she isn’t working, you’ll find her in the mountains, experiencing the fresh breeze & chirping sounds of birds.