Keeping sales people motivated and engaged is the key challenge for businesses of every size, and failing to do so will seriously hurt small businesses, which often have smaller teams and a larger dependence on sales productivity.
Lack of engagement and motivation on your sales team will result in lackluster productivity, wasted talent and resources, and reduced profits.
Businesses must find ways to actively engage sales teams, or they risk losing top performers and building an underperforming team with a high turnover rate and low productivity.
One of the reasons this is a challenge is that sales people spend a lot of time in the field, which can make them feel disconnected from life in office. As a result, they may miss out on the camaraderie that comes from spending time with teammates.
Sales gamification is one way to combat that feeling of isolation among sales teams and actively engage and motivate team members to perform better through friendly competition. What’s more, businesses that have engaged employees see a 20 percent increase in sales.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the elements that make up sales gamification and learn how it can help motivate and engage your sales staff. We’ll also go over some recommendations for implementing sales gamification software solutions to ensure success.
What is sales gamification?
Sales gamification is the process of turning an ordinary sales task into a game through the use of gaming elements.
Gamification generally applies to the use of gaming elements, such as points and badges, to improve worker performance in non-game tasks.
Therefore, applying game mechanics (such as leaderboards, badges, and levels) to sales tasks to motivate and engage sales teams, drive high performance, increase competition, and instill more positive behavior in general, is known as sales gamification.
Simple awards or recognition for reaching a milestone do not qualify as gamification if there is no gaming element involved.
Competition is already a big part of sales, so gamification is a great strategy for engaging sales teams.
|Leaderboards||Public display of each team member’s standings or points.|
|Badges||Visual representation of specific achievements.|
|Points and scores||Method for tracking the successful completion of an action or task.|
|Levels||Multiple stages in the game.|
|Challenges||Represents tasks that must be completed within the game.|
Defining the problem: Why small businesses need sales gamification
More and more businesses are adopting gamification, and it’s not just large enterprises. Gamification can work equally well for small and midsize businesses (SMBs).
In fact, the employee-centric nature of gamification can fit perfectly into the unique culture of smaller businesses and startups.
4 challenges that almost all the businesses face when using traditional methods to manage their sales staff
1. Traditional incentives engage only 20 percent of your sales force
Traditional sales incentive programs are often one-size-fits-all. They reward only top performers (about 20 percent), and they overlook the middle 60 percent, which is responsible for between 65 and 85 percent of the sales quota. In addition, traditional sales awards make salespeople compete against themselves, which is less engaging and more stressful.
2. Your sales managers don’t understand how to motivate
Most sales managers fail to understand what motivates performance beyond financial incentives. Monetary incentives may drive some salespeople to perform better, but they often leave out the majority of your team.
For example, if you have an incentive plan in place that rewards only the top 10 percent of your salespeople, those who fall just under that mark and never receive the incentive will see lowered morale in the long term. After all, they’re also contributing, even if they just miss the top 10 percent.
And, if you’re failing to motivate the rest of your sales staff, you are underperforming, since unengaged sales people will put only 60 percent of their total effort into the job.
3. Your training processes aren’t as effective as they could be
- Failing to explain “what’s in it for me?” to participants
- A lack of ongoing reinforcement
- Too few posttraining activities to help employees contextualize what they’ve learned
Studies show that continuous dedicated training can result in 50 percent higher net sales per employee.
4. You’re failing to foster your employees’ competitive spirit
Lack of motivation and engagement among employees can result in lack of competitive spirit and zero zeal to work with efficiency. Small businesses can tap into the ambitious side of their salespeople by adding a healthy dose of competition with gamification.
According to a recent Gallup study, 85 percent of employees are performing below their potential in terms of both value to employers and their sense of fulfillment from work.
Rewards or incentives aren’t the only motivators for salespeople to perform better—the competition itself is a motivator.
How to successfully implement sales gamification in 5 key business functions
Small businesses can leverage sales gamification in numerous ways, and the benefits can be great when done right.
If you’re looking to apply gamification in your sales process, here are few recommendations to help you with a seamless implementation in these five key business functions:
Training your salespeople
- Set a clear goal for the training program. For example, to boost sales by a certain percentage with a set deadline, or to increase completion of training modules.
- Don’t create a training program that feels too juvenile, but don’t make it so difficult that your team won’t engage. Some tips to ensure success include offering hints, providing short demos on how the system works, and giving users multiple chances to answer correctly.
- Make sure your gamified training is goal-driven, but keep the goals realistic. Award points when an agent answers a question correctly, and reward course completion with badges.
- Scenario-based training and video-based games can be helpful for salespeople.
View of how GamEffective uses graphical narratives (inspired by popular gaming themes such as racing, fantasy, and sports) for knowledge retention. (Source)
Motivating your salespeople
- You can use gamification to celebrate wins, rather than to make people feel like they’ve “lost” the game.
- Choose gamification strategies that fit into existing workflows and tasks. Don’t add tasks for your team, because they will likely skip them if they don’t see them as necessary.
- Keep your audience in mind when adding gaming elements. Devise different gaming strategies for new users versus more experienced sales staff.
View of how Hoopla transforms sales data into leaderboards that helps motivate the salespeople (Source)
Engaging your salespeople
- Clearly state the financial and nonfinancial incentives for “winning” in any gamification scenario. According to Rajat Paharia, former chief product officer at Bunchball, every would-be player considers the incentives before they decide whether or not to engage in a game.
- Introduce a variety of nonfinancial rewards, such as badges, standard points, and leaderboards, along with more tangible rewards. You can introduce a “rewards store,” in which employees can redeem accumulated points for items from company-branded paraphernalia to a stay at a luxury resort.
View of a face-off challenge in Hoopla that helps improve the engagement and motivation of sales reps and to boost friendly competition (Source)
Driving competition and a high performance culture
- Don’t introduce gamification into your sales processes just because a competitor is doing it or because it’s the latest trend. In other words, use gamification strategically and with a clear purpose and goal you want to achieve.
- A quick-fix sales gamification module that’s poorly implemented is a useless effort, but if it’s done right, gamification can improve sales performance.
- Don’t create competitions just because they are easy to run. Understand the “why” behind the strategy, and make sure your team does as well. Before you run a competition, ask yourself:
- What problem are you trying to solve? Is there another technique that could yield better results?
- What is the intended message for your salespeople, and what kind of behavior do you want to encourage?
Side-by-side comparison of individual rep performance, deals won, calls made, revenue generated and more in AgileCRM (Source)
Bring sales gamification into your workforce
“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.”
Jessica Miller-Merrel, HR veteran and founder of Blogging4jobs.com (Source)
Pokémon Go, which took the world by storm, is a perfect example of how a very simple game
can capture people’s undivided attention and keep them engaged across geographies.
Gamification, if applied the right way, can provide sales people with value, recognition, a sense of purpose, and help to develop their problem-solving and decision-making skills.
Note: The information contained in this article has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. The applications selected are examples to show a feature in context, and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations.