Sales gamification is booming in tech today.
For people who are updated with the latest, gamification would mean to them the incorporation of gaming mechanics in apps and customer engagement. But sales gamification can also mean using gaming mechanics to engage employees.
That’s right. In the workplace! And that’s what this post is about.
Let’s get this straight.
People choose a profession in sales for a lot of reasons. Maybe they got that “sales DNA.” Maybe the job posting came at the right time. Or, truth be told, they also could’ve taken the first job that came their way even if it was to count the bristles of a toothbrush.
Companies are always looking for people to sell for them. Sales teams are always ramping up. Those who show their stripes sooner get promoted to higher-responsibility sales jobs.
One thing’s for certain: Leading a life in sales—selling—is not an easy ride.
It’s one of the most stressful jobs. Just ask anyone in sales or anyone who was in sales for that matter.
If Gallup reported that 51 percent of employees were not engaged in 2014, and 17 percent were actively disengaged, the number must be higher for sales! Especially for quota-carrying positions like closers or lead generation jobs, the day-to-day operations can be a drag if there’s something bothering them or something causing them to be disinterested in work.
Enthusiasm is a crucial factor in sales success. Sales managers are always on the lookout for approaches that will rouse their teams’ spirits.
Gamification is not a fad
So, gamification. How does it work?
It taps on employees’ intrinsic motivators–which is, to say simply, employees motivating themselves. While having a pep talk with a manager or a team coaching session still holds its value in the world of motivation, there is a power in having employees who can motivate themselves.
According to the gamification gurus at Bunchball, there are four things incorporating gaming mechanics provides employees, which in turn push them to motivate themselves and focus.
- A clearly defined goal
- A system of measurable progress toward the goal
- A notion of increased status when the goal is reached
- Rewards for achieving goals
Gamification is being used far and wide by companies big and small. In this post, we’re featuring companies that successfully used gamification to boost the engagement and productivity of their sales personnel.
Using leaderboards for sales gamification
Most sales floors have a huge leaderboard where the performance of account executives and sales reps are displayed loud and proud. Sales professionals tend to be a competitive bunch, so displaying this board publicly is definitely something that can motivate and boost morale.
A company that swears by leaderboards is LiveOps Inc. which runs virtual call centers that house 20,000 agents. They are a huge team of independent contractors located all over the United States. LiveOps began using gaming mechanics in its operations five years ago. By awarding agents with badges and points for completing tasks like closing sales or good call durations, the company used leaderboards to tap onto their agents’ competitive nature and allowed them to compare their performance with others.
In its first year of implementation, call time was reduced by 15 percent while sales improved between 8 and 12 percent.
Since it’s not really a new approach, there is a lot of wisdom and experience available in the field. Here are some common leaderboard mistakes:
- Tracking sales alone. If you’re tracking the dollar amount or closed deals each agent makes and displaying it up your leaderboard, you might be inviting the wrong behavior. Instead of tracking sales per se, the best practice is to track the activities that lead to sales like qualifying leads, repeat calls, and appointment setting.
- Competing against each other instead of racing to the goal. Designing a leaderboard is a serious matter as you can be encouraging unhealthy competition. Remember, there are a lot of factors to consider. Are you considering the newer reps? Are you fueling competition that is individual and isn’t team based?There are a lot of other concerns that can arise when leaderboards are used hastily. Still, with careful consideration of your team and company’s particular situation, leaderboards can be an excellent engagement and motivation tool.
SAP AG: Streamlining work through video games
Business software firm SAP AG actually used gamification to generate gamification ideas! This resulted to a variety of gaming apps that gamified different company goals like environmental conservation and of course, better sales.
The Lead-In-One is an SAP-developed gaming app that uses golf to streamline their lead management system. Sales managers don’t necessarily love the task of assigning leads to account executives.
The iPad app allows sales managers to assign leads to sales reps by playing a golf game. Replacing the tedious task of drawing lots or having to decide randomly, the managers can simply drag a golf ball representing a lead into a golf-hole which represents a sales rep. The information on the lead is displayed when the rep or the manager taps on the little flag attached to the golf ball.
Here’s a video showing how it works:
Lead-in-One was a hit across the software enterprise.
SAP puts a prime on developing more engaging and fun ways to do work and achieve goals. In fact, Lead-in-One is only one of numerous apps that SAP develops for this purpose. Gamification was one of their chosen approaches to achieve their 1 billion user target.
Mario Herger of SAP said, “Video games are very good at providing the right balance between skill and difficulty. It is absolutely critical for SAP to continue adopting gamification principles in order to reach one billion users.”
Gamified training for sales professionals
A joint venture between Nestlé and L’Oreal, Galderma is a pharmaceutical lab for the development and vending of dermatological products. Trying to improve staff’s product knowledge, Galderma presented its workforce with a game. In the game, players are given the choice of working together or individually to advance their pieces along a journey filled with quizzes and role-playing situations. Through the game, Galderma hoped to bump staff knowledge of their products, encourage employees to collaborate, share ideas and exchange tips, and ultimately, build camaraderie.
An interesting note: The game was voluntary—but 92% participated!
After the implementation, Galderma reached all its goals. In addition to that, they enjoyed a good increase in their sales performance.
Keeping employees engaged and streamlining processes to make them more effective and fun for all is not only a good idea but a necessity in today’s business landscape. It’s always a race to who gets to maximize new practices to introduce to operations and reap the rewards early on.
Gamification’s rewards, when done right, reach beyond numbers. A strong and united sales force can only bring wonderful results to your company. We encourage you to look into it to see if its a solution that can do your organization good.
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