What is Sales Gamification?
Sales gamification is the process of turning routine tasks of the sales pipeline into a game. Gamification is sales harnesses the human instinct for competition and the natural desire for recognition to motivate sales teams and boost their performance.
Some of the sales tasks that you can gamify with contests, points, leaderboards, badges, and other game elements include calling prospects, following up on leads, sales meetings, training, and closing sales.
When used well, gamification can drive desired behavior and boost performance. It makes boring, mundane sales tasks more exciting. When you incorporate game-like elements into a sales task, you improve concentration and spark a more intense desire to meet targets.
Why Sales Gamification Works So Well
When sales leaders use gamification in sales they are trying to harness the theory of positive reinforcement. People are more likely to repeat actions and tasks that contribute to their success and avoid those that harm it.
For sales teams, badges, prizes, and trophies represent the positive reinforcement that is used to encourage behaviors that lead to sales success. What better way to reinforce positive behaviors than with friendly competition?
The sales process can become tedious due to the repetitive nature of like cold pitching and following up on leads. Gamifying some of these tasks:
- ignites a competitive spirit among your sales reps,
- fosters a sense of accomplishment with each accomplished task,
- improves engagement,
- creates a sense of belonging, which
- boosts morale in the whole team.
How Is gamification Used in Sales?
To motivate sales teams, sales leaders often tie in rewards that teams can receive after successfully completing tasks. That improves engagement during tasks, boosts overall job satisfaction, and increases sales.
Real-time feedback on accomplished goals and targets met spurs teams to work even harder. Some of the sales accomplishments you can gamify with points, difficulty levels, ratings, milestones, badges, and other game elements that foster feelings of immediate recognition including:
- booking meetings with leads,
- Re-engaging cold prospects,
- Closing a sale,
- Meeting a sales goal.
Gamification was first used in the software industry where it has a natural fit, but it has since been adopted by sales leaders in other fields.
To cite a few gamification examples is used in software:
- if a developer gets a user to perform a certain function a certain number of times, or use the product in a certain way, it increases the likelihood of that individual becoming a long-term user,
- If an Android/iPhone game can get a user to play 10 levels on your first go, that user is X% more likely to make an “in-app purchase”.
- An invoicing SaaS can increase the lifetime value of a user if they create X invoices in the their first month.
Marketing and sales teams can use certain elements of gamification to motivate leads within the funnel and the team selling those leads. This post will focus on how to motivate your reps.
If you’ve ever played role-playing video games, you understand that mini-games help you break up the content and keep you motivated to move onto the next phase of the game. Essentially, this is what you’re doing when you install little indicators and mini-games into your sales process.
5 Essential Steps to Implement Sales Gamification
Three things matter when playing games:
- The prize
- The goal
- The rules
If you want to rally around your gamification program, they’ll need all three of these.
Let’s take a look at them individually:
1Choose your reward (the prize)
Don’t panic. This doesn’t mean you have to start buying expensive swag and vacations for your team. But you do have to understand what matters to your team, otherwise, your rewards aren’t going to be motivating enough to push your team.
Sales gamification is not about coddling your poor-performing reps into better performance, either. It’s about raising the bar and sometimes that takes a little incentive.
There are a few different types of incentives to consider for your team:
Some of the more discreet forms of recognition are things like a progress bar during training or a handwritten note from the CEO. This is for both individual or cooperative play.
For instance, you hit the revenue target as a company and write out personal thank-you notes to every sales-facing employee. Your hand would hurt, but think of what it would mean to your crew.
Here’s a great resource with 13 simple ways to recognize employees via YouEarnedIt.com
Picking a prize for winning needs to be set before the game begins. It can be continuous, but that requires it to be something worth winning multiple times.
Typically, the best-loved prizes (by the majority) are things that deal with food or time off. Let’s do a couple of examples.
Work from Home: The individual that has the [insert goal and metric here] at the end of every month can work from home every Wednesday the following month.
Food Truck Lunch: If the team hits a goal, get them food. Have a food truck come by and feed everyone with craft tacos. You could even take it up a notch by telling them to go home right after lunch.
Picking a prize for winning needs to be set before the game begins.
Snack nation put this massive list of 121 ways to reward your awesome people.
2 Choose your metric (the goal)
This one is tricky. But what’s crucial is to make sure the goals are clear and timed. They should feel achievable, too. So a yearly goal should, for example, be broken down into weekly, monthly, and quarterly targets and milestones, perhaps with badges awarded at each.
To set the right goals, ask yourself; what do you need more of right now? While I can’t speak to your individual needs, we can do an example to help you work this one out on your own.
Problem: Close rate is reasonable, but the number of qualifying calls is too low to make your revenue target.
Research: Upon a closer look, you’re contacting a good amount of leads (via cold email) just not getting enough conversations started due to poor open rate.
Metrics: The contest would be for your sales team to come up with the best subject line they can (obviously this would be for smaller teams, or you could have groups work together). You run a couple hundred with each subject line and the one that results in the highest open rate wins.
This would be an example of a short-term game, but you’ll have to determine the metrics that fit the company’s goals best.
3 Set the terms (the rules)
Clearly lay out what you want to happen and how you want your sales team to go about it.
Without boundaries, you may have a “the ends justify the means” type of situation with your sales gamification program and end up with a potential ethics issue on your hands. The game rules should be basic, presenting the key things that employees need to know.
- Timeframe (monthly, one time, date?)
- Do’s (specific best practices)
- Don’t(s) (Don’t buy leads, work off the clock, etc.)
4 Be Consistent
You can test the waters with small games (like the one we mentioned earlier), but don’t start a long-term program unless you’re willing to roll with the punches and keep it going.
Gamification in sales can improve morale and performance, but it may accomplish the opposite if you jump ship within a couple of months and fail to fulfill your promises.
Set reminders, pre-purchase the prizes, check in on progress — do whatever it takes to ensure you hold up your end of the bargain as the team leader. That leads us to our last tip for implementation.
5 Automate your sales gamification with an app
The last thing you want hanging in the office is one of those thermometers that you fill in with a red marker. You know the ones like you got the template from Windows 98.
I’d argue the case that you won’t be consistent unless your sales gamification involves automation.
You’ll forget to create that spreadsheet, run those numbers, and maybe even see who was the winner. Then, someone from your team will remind you and you’ll say, “oh, yea…give me until the end of the day”.
Then, everyone will be the opposite of motivated.
We could put together a list of the top apps to help gamify your sales process, but TenFold already did it. They’ve listed their top 15 right here.
7 Sales Gamification Ideas To Try with Your Team
If you have been in sales a long time, some of the tasks probably now feel monotonous or too routine. They don’t fire you up to get the job done as they did before. These are perfect targets for gamification.
Here are sales gamification ideas you can try at your business today. We have broken these down into three categories:
Cooperative play (teams working together)
1 New Product/Service Launch:
Trying to get traction behind a new feature/product/service can be difficult if your sales team isn’t focused. They know the scripts for your current stuff and don’t want to risk their commissions by spending too much energy on the new products. Contests, metric tracking, and incentives (e.g. gamification) can work beautifully to rally their efforts around the new product.
2 Revenue Targets:
Trying to grow your business typically involves more ad spend, infrastructure, better sales funnels, etc. But if you’re not looping the sales team into the push and getting them excited about growing, you’re doing the company (and your reps) a disservice.
This one is tricky if you have a more complex sales team. Sales development may not necessarily close deals. This means that the metrics will have to be different depending on the size of your team. Small companies could just rate the number of qualified calls that go to the closer/owner.
Businesses can have a lot of problems, but there are few (if any) that are more destructive than a sales team that isn’t constantly prospecting for new leads.
Sales reps that run out of fresh leads end up in one of two places. One, scrambling to find more quality leads. Or two, buying a list of poor-quality leads. Constantly tracking, recognizing and rewarding prospecting can break the roller coaster ride.
Make the mundane fun-dane
Bringing on new reps, implementing HR training, or refreshing the team on new/upcoming products. Gamification in sales training is one of the easiest ways to increase participation while getting the point across.
6 CRM Upkeep:
We’ve all dealt with the reps who are great with people, but not so great with the backend. Inputting data, keeping contacts updated, you name it. All can be gamified and rewarded to keep the CRM clean and effective.
Hustle and hard work move the needle. But there’s a huge difference between working effectively and just working.
Conversion rates, close rates, open rates, responses—all of these things can be tracked. Those who are more efficient can help others improve by sharing tactics. This makes gamification even more valuable to businesses.
Everything can be gamified and rewarded to keep the CRM clean and effective.
Ready to Use Sales Gamification In Your Business?
Sales gamification is a valuable tool you can use to motivate your sales reps and turn them into engaged and productive teams that are more geared to chase down targets.
You’re probably already using some elements of sales gamification to motivate your team, but maybe you don’t have a process. There are now available all manner of sales gamification software that you can use to automate and simplify the process.
What are some of your favorite ways to get better performance from your team?
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We’ve all played video games (some a lot more than others). The activity helps us to explore our creative sides, exercise our brains, and to experience the thrill of winning.
The appeal of gaming is now being harnessed to great effect in sales and marketing. Companies are using sales gamification to improve customer retention, lower the sales cycle, and improve team performance.
This article will explore gamification in sales and share a 5-step process gamifying your sales process. We will also discuss 7 areas where you can deploy gamification as a strategy in your sales function.