Gamifying the sales process may sound like yet another short-lived, gimmicky rewards programme for your sales team, but its increasing sophistication, coupled with its adoption by many of the world’s top companies, is proving otherwise. Gamification is the application of game design elements such as ranking systems, points-based league tables, and achievements unlocked upon the completion of certain tasks, to a non-game context. It has been increasingly applied to sales and marketing processes across a range of industries including tourism, HR, and education. The aim? To inspire competition, productivity, and collaboration in the workplace.
Claims have been made that gamification is at odds with traditional business practices. However, if you are a sceptic, you would do well to review the considerable benefits of gamification before writing it off.
Sales is a lot like sports; it’s competitive, goal-orientated, and best played by those who want to win. Sales managers have always used contests and various incentives to drive team performance and recognise the best salespeople. Gamification can be seen as an advanced, tech-powered version of the age-old sales contest that often appears in the form of software applications. These applications are built to integrate with your existing systems in a way that cleverly complements today’s digital business infrastructure.
With gamification, you can motivate and engage your sales teams by using apps to run contests. This enables managers to tap into their sales reps’ ambitious natures and ignite some healthy competition. You want your sales teams to feel motivated and invest time into constantly improving their performance. This will help build stronger teams that are focused on the same end goal and working better together to achieve it.
When individuals and teams are more emotionally invested in their performance, it helps to develop a workplace culture based on success. This can then be tracked and measured in a way that is easily understood, and which can be applied to employees at all levels, from new account managers to long-serving senior executives.
Going for gold
All too often, the efficiency of the sales process is reduced using poor and inaccurate data. Gamification can combat this issue by getting your sales teams more involved in the overall sales process. The most successful sales gamification strategy is one that understands how to highlight and encourage meaningful behaviours that address key business objectives. This could be as simple as incentivising your teams to add important notes to your CRM system after a key customer interaction. Managers can directly influence these behaviours by adding a reward or competitive element to the process. With better quality data saved and stored on the system, transparency is improved company-wide and your employees will be able to manage their sales processes, forecasts, and customer relationships with better results.
By stimulating continuous skills development in a competitive environment, and rewarding the positive results, gamification can contribute significantly to your business growth. The benefits of incorporating gamification into your sales process are not to be ignored. Before adopting it outright though, bear in mind the following do’s and don’ts.
…track, measure, and feedback
Be sure to use gamification to gain better insight into the behaviours and techniques of your salespeople. This will help you identify common areas of success, as well as where processes can be improved. Recognition is an important intrinsic reward, so offer it generously and publicly when certain behaviours have resulted in success. This will keep people motivated for longer and encourage other employees to strive for the same. Extrinsic rewards, such as a cash prize, are better used as short-term motivation.
…keep it fresh
Any game can become boring very quickly if it doesn’t remain challenging, fun, and relevant. Refresh the rules from time to time, make it harder, and try different game mechanics to see which work best. For example, instead of a leader-board, use a badge system to reward users for completing specific tasks. Always add new incentives, and make sure your sales team stays motivated to use a gamified system.
…encourage participation at all levels
Gamification must foster collaboration across the whole business. It’s not just a tool for new or struggling sales reps to help them up their game. Experienced sales reps need to lead by example, adopt the new system, and mentor newer reps to help them use it to improve their performance.
…treat it as just a game
You run a business, not a video game arcade. Your gamified sales process needs to show a return on investment. To do this, make sure that it aligns with and supports wider business objectives, whether this means increasing sales by 20 percent over a six-month period or achieving a 90 percent customer retention rate. If you don’t see the results you want, you need to think about why - and revise your gamification strategy accordingly.
…use an overcomplicated system
Too many different mechanics can confuse the core experience of gamification and make it difficult for your sales teams to understand their progress. Overcomplicated features can also be off-putting and time-consuming. Pick a system that is simple and in line with your business’ specific needs. Ultimately, you want to incorporate only the design features that highlight the best behaviours for targeted business growth.
…treat gamification as a fix-all
If your sales performance is disappointing, don’t expect gamification alone to solve the problem. Your sales reps will not appreciate being limited to using one tool or system. Instead allow them to explore and utilise a range of technologies, including CRM and predictive analytics, in addition to gamification to achieve the best results.
When properly applied, and put to good use, gamification can turn a dull, static sales department into a dynamic, goal-scoring team. A healthy dose of competition could give your organisation’s bottom line just the boost it needs.