Gamification sounds like a buzzword, something gimmicky to people not familiar with the term. At one point, gamification was exactly that–a gimmick. This term was used liberally to label many different things, most of them not related to actual gamification.
Over time gamification evolved. Today, we define it as the application of game-design elements, competitions, and leaderboards to motivate behavior.
In our case, we are trying to motivate sales behavior and inspire sales teams.
If you don’t believe gamification is for you, just take a look at some corporate giants such as PayPal, SAP, and many others already reaping the benefits of gamification. They all leveraged gamification theory and created legitimate business results, like boosting conversions up to 7x.
Gamification is easy to implement and benefits can be staggering when done right. If you’re still not sold on the idea of gamification, consider these benefits.
Many sales reps work remotely or independently.
They can feel left alone and devoid of collaborative company spirit. Some actually prefer it that way–only because they have never actually connected with their colleagues.
Gamified processes can change that by connecting sales professionals and encouraging collaboration. Running integrated competitions or sales contests helps sales reps feel more connected to their team. Being a lone wolf might seem great until you have a whole team composed of lone wolves.
While gamification promotes competition and recognizes top performers, it also builds a collaborative environment. Increased collaboration inevitably helps your sales reps to connect and share their knowledge. Your sales reps will have an open dialogue about best practices helping them rank high on the leaderboards. This process happens automatically, through everyday communication.
It doesn’t require a conscious effort on the behalf of your sales reps. It just happens.
Furthermore, gamification motivates low-level performers to seek help and coaching from higher-level performers or their peers.
This is a winning situation for everyone involved. Soon you will have sales reps who had never even met before start congratulating each other on their results.
Ultimately, gamification connects your sales reps and promotes their good behavior while it seeks to correct bad behaviors.
According to the Gallup’s State of the American Workplace reports 70% of people label themselves as disengaged or actively disengaged at work.
Everyone who has been longer than a day in sales knows firsthand how challenging a career it can be. Also, how incredibly rewarding it can be when everything is done right.
While your most recent success offers emotional and financial excitement, everyone knows how paralyzing bad days and dead ends can seem. This leads to a downward spiral of a further disengagement. If left unchecked, this leads to those situations where people just walk away from their job, never to return. According to OfficeVibe and their latest infographic, 89% of employers think their people leave for more money, but only 12% of employees actually leave for more money.
The best way to combat those feelings of disappointment (and let’s be honest, boredom too) is through gamification. Adding a healthy dose of competition through gamification will create a captivating work environment.
“Injecting fun into something that is generally seen as boring or task oriented not only can increase engagement but also drive innovation and productivity, which is something your company desperately needs,” says Jessica Miller-Merrel, workplace social media expert.
Better Competition and Recognition
To be a successful salesperson, you must be competitive. Either you will win, or your competitor will. Luckily, salespeople are competitive by nature and they are always up for a good, friendly fight.
Gamification helps employers and sales managers to tap into the ambitious side of their employees. Most of the time, it’s not the prize that encourages salespeople to succeed–it’s the competition itself. An objective way to measure their success against their colleagues. An opportunity to see how they stack up against their peers.
Tracking sales reps’ activity in real-time and having a public leaderboard awakens sales teams’ competitive nature, kicking it into high gear. This gamified process publicly rewards top performers on your teams. It motivates those at the bottom to catch up and outperform their peers.
Prizes for winners should be of little importance or even symbolic. Ensure that the salesperson efforts are intrinsic and not driven by the expected outcome.
Incentives are valued more when they are “won.” If your employees work hard to win the prize and get recognition, they will value it even more. Make sure you have tiered and related rewards. If only 2-3 members of your team win the prize, it will ruin the competition for other employees. They will ultimately lose interest in the whole process.
Sometimes, sales reps just don’t feel comfortable approaching their superiors and asking for advice. It’s normal. Sometimes they are just shy or they don’t want to bother them. This doesn’t mean they won’t ask for help somewhere else. With gamification, it’s more than likely they will ask their peers for advice.
This stems from a collaborative element of gamification. It creates an opportunity for increased employee dialogue about best practices, overcoming challenges, and other similar problems. Many low-level performers, after they see where they rank on the leaderboard, will approach their top-performing peers, asking for an input. After all, leaderboard ranking is based on objective data. Gamification doesn’t discourage sales reps; it actually inspires!
Let’s talk about an example.
Low-performing salesperson hesitates to take a new product to the market. And why shouldn’t they be – it’s a new product, they are underperforming on the old products, and they are nervous about pitching. After one glimpse at the leaderboard, they’ll see their colleague successfully selling the product. When they see that this new product can be sold, it’s likely they will approach this top performer and ask for tips and tricks to help them out. This helps them get comfortable with the task at hand, thus increasing their performance in the long run.
Sales might seem like an individual effort, but we all know it’s a team sport. Sales teams must work together and communicate daily to reach their goals. Yet, for some strange reason, communication gets dropped every day.
Today, thanks to the modern technology, we can stay in touch at every moment. But old problems with communication still follow us to this modern day and time. The problem is not the technology, it’s the people that are using it.
One of the many benefits of gamification is a consistent communication between all participants. Using gamification process, your teams will use chat groups, team updates, and alerts to increase their communication.
We all know how hard is it to make sales teams to record all their data and information. Imagine a workplace where employees regularly update their progress, cooperate to solve problems, record their knowledge, monitor data, and encourage each other. Gamification makes this dream a reality.
Sales teams will cooperate to increase their ranking on the leaderboard and they will record every little thing that will help them increase their score.
There is a huge untapped potential in this area and with gamification of this process, the benefits should be obvious.
CRM Adaptation and Usage
We hear this story all the time – it’s really difficult for sales managers to get their reps to use the CRM correctly. And they’re right, it’s a constant struggle.
It’s common to find reps making their own notes, writing them down outside the team’s CRM. When confronted, your reps will give you a lot of excuses, from “can’t be bothered” to that simple “I’ll do it later” (no, they will not).
Gamification is the perfect solution to this problem. One of the numerous advantages of gamification is its direct integration with your CRM. How, you might ask.
It’s quite simple. If your reps are not using CRM, they will not be able to cooperate with their teammates. Better yet – they will not be able to compete against them. Without updating their CRM data they will lose their bragging rights. And we all know how competitive salespersons can be.
By adding that competitive edge to your reps’ sales numbers, you will be giving them an extra incentive to keep everyone updated on their CRM data.
With gamification, those private notes will become a thing of the past and that “I’ll do it later” will become “I already did it.”
Games are fun – that’s why we play them. Some play them because they find the thrill in winning, some appreciate the competition itself, and some want the ultimate bragging rights.
Salespersons are ambitious people, competitive by nature and gamification plays into that perfectly. Small competitions are perfect for sales reps – especially if you encourage some friendly banter. A little trash-talking in a competitive environment will drive reps even further and make them work harder on their goals.
Displaying real-time standings promotes recognition, as well as that colleague banter that we all love and enjoy. Nothing motivates more that watching yourself rise – or colleague fall – in those leaderboard rankings. With public leaderboards, you will provide an excellent way for reps to keep competition on top of their mind.
Many of us enjoy fantasy sports – they give us more opportunities to win. Gamification does the same thing, an opportunity to make mundane days more exciting and an opportunity to win against peers. At the end of the day, you might hear John giving a hearty promise to everyone that he’ll win tomorrow because Lucy only won today thanks to a single point.
The key to sales gamification is simple. Understand why, when, and how to apply it so your sales teams are engaged in a meaningful experience. After you define clear business objectives and align your team sales activity with these goals, you will be more than ready for gamification. It’s a simple act of measuring performances and sharing that information with everyone included in the process.
In the end, your sales teams will bring in additional revenue without sacrificing sales success or disrupting their workflow.