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  March 1, 2016

Gamification in Sales: Do’s and Dont’s to Make Your Gamification Project Succeed

Gamification in Sales, defined as “the application of competition and leaderboards to motivate sales behaviors”, is a hype technology that has received extensive attention in many sales organizations over the past few years. Analytics reports predict global Gamification market to grow at a CAGR of 68.4 percent over the next 3 years [1]. However there are no more doubts about the benefits, gamification mechanics is often misused. Successful Gamification projects require user research and great planning.  Here are some practical tips to make your Gamification in Sales project succeed:

1) Start with meaningful metrics

One of the first things you need to do in Gamification projects is choosing business objectives, that can be aided by gamification.

  • TO DO: Use your CRM’s reporting capabilities and other sales automation systems to find the right sales insights and identify gamififcation objectives.
  • NOT TO DO: Track the wrong metrics like sales KPI’s. Gamification is about encouraging certain behaviour, such as qualifying leads, preparing offers, meeting customers etc. The end result of these behaviors is more sales, but tracking actual sales won’t motivate a certain behavior.

2) Pick the sales behavior to motivate

It is important to identify and motivate the correct sales agent behavior. People like winning and game rules can be “gamed” or taken the wrong way. Therefore a poor defined behavior might result in unintended consequences.

  • TO DO: Analyze the behaviour and actions of your top performers and actively encourage what has proven to work in your sales team. Data and statistics about top performers will help you design what behavior you want your sales staff to take on board.
  • NOT TO DO: Encourage a “quick-fix” behavior. An example here might be a contest that encourages reps to close deals faster. This may have the unintended consequence of sales agents cutting margins too much to close deals. At the same time Gamification, which incentivizes more customer meetings guaranteeing significant revenue growth.

3) Setup clear communication and support

It is important to make contests and competitions transparent, with clear goals and objectives.

  • TO DO: Have a tutorial in place to teach you sales team the basics about contest setup and game mechanics. Implement notifications and pop-up messages to encourage the actions or motivate for further results.
  • NOT TO DO: Forget about technology setup. Because gamification is a software-based solution, it is important to choose a provider, who can plug gamification solutions into current systems and utilize existing sales data.

4) Use multiple different game mechanics

Use multiple different game mechanics, as each “player” may be motivated by different types of encouragement.

  • TO DO: Apply multiple motivators and different game mechanics such as team and individual accomplishments. Consider different game elements such as leaderboards or progress bars, points or virtual currency, missions or quests, badges, levels of attainments and competencies linked to games.
  • NOT TO DO: Focus only on cash rewards and gift cards. Most of the time sales agents are far more driven by recognition and competition, not rewards themselves.

5) Use both competitive and collaborative contests

Gamification is about finding the balance between the individual and the group. Focusing on competition alone sends a signal that caring about how your peers do their job isn’t important.

  • TO DO: Set up you gamification so that salespeople would always have a real-time view of not only how they’re performing, but also how their performance is stacking up against their co-workers.
  • NOT TO DO: Focus on competitive contests only. Cooperation based gamification and team challenges can sometimes address overall sales increase much better than the simplistic “sales contest”.

6) Focus on middle performers

If you want to improve your overall sales team results you should invest in the middle 60% performers: when coached, they have the highest performance gains.

  • TO DO: Personalise a gamification contest, make each player feel like the hero of his or her game. Focus on showing individual progress versus their personal goals and use the relation to someone else only to boos competition.
  • NOT TO DO: Discourage and discriminate new players or less competitive people. Make sure that the sales people are compared to peers that are similar to them, not just the top performers.

7) Have fun and congratulate achievement of the target

Never underestimate how important recognition is for the happiness and engagement of sales people.

  • TO DO: Keep results public and track sales agents activities in real time. Communicate the contest results to everyone in your sales team and transparently show how sales agents are doing compared to others.
  • NOT TO DO: Let your sales agents get bored. No gamification content should last longer then 30 days, but you can still setup several contests at the same time.

In a review carried out by Salesforce.com last year, 90.4% of companies saw improvements thanks to their gamification initiatives. Apparound has demonstrated that implementing Gamification in Sales can bring an increase in sales performance of up to 50%. Companies like Vodafone have equipped their sales force with CPQ sales solutions and have already seen a rise in sales performance using the included Sales Gamification module. Learn more about Apparound Sales Gamification at www.apparound.com.