Companies are constantly looking for a way to increase sales and productivity from their workforce. A popular way to spark motivation and competition is through employee sales contests or incentive-based plans. In theory, these contests are geared to include every employee at the sales level in the organization and are thought to boost motivation across the board. But, sales contests receive substantial attention regarding their effectiveness from the academic and professional press due to some unethical incidents happening at large corporations. There have been many studies regarding the effectiveness of contests, but many have inconclusive results and do not produce a definite answer. Because of this, further research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of such contests used in the professional world. Further research would require a study that is much longer in length, as there are many variables that are behind the psychological factors associated to sales contests.
I conducted a study on the effective design, implementation, motivational factors, and takeaways upon completion of such contests. The purpose of this study is to find out whether or not sales contests are an effective way of motivating a diverse workforce. The results suggest that sales contests are a hyper-efficient tool to increase employee motivation but must be prepared for and implemented correctly in order to achieve efficient results. I recommend that sales managers use contests as a tool to gauge the motivational and behavioral changes in their employees resulting from such contests, instead of just trying to gain more revenue. Also, to combat the growing threat of unethical behaviors as a result of running sales contests, leaders need to implement appropriate measures, like unethical behavior diversion courses.