This white paper focuses on one aspect of a huge concept—gamification and sales, a match so good it should have its own dating show. Feel free to share this post with your network (LI, Twitter, Facebook).
Benefits of Sales Gamification
You’re reading it everywhere--workers suffering from a critical lack of engagement. Attention spans are down (a recent study showed that human attention span is 8 seconds on any one single thing, as opposed to a goldfish’s 9 seconds) and more than half of the workforce is actively disengaged from their jobs.
While gamifying everything may be impractical, it can be incredibly effective for encouraging specific behavioral changes. And the game doesn’t have to be elaborate—a daily online pub quiz to review new concepts or a leader board to show individual and/or team improvement on closed deals can increase focus on the KPIs your company wants to improve.
Another benefit of gamification is the availability of instant feedback. For example, if you are deploying and supporting new-product training, you could structure a role-play where the salesperson introduces the new product to a client. During the role play, an observer can offer help and feedback right away, and the participants can try it again. It’s a relatively low-stress way to encourage knowledge transfer with real-world application.
Gamification can also promote a strong team culture, especially if the game incorporates a team aspect with some friendly competition.A shared team culture presents a powerful bonding opportunity.
And games are fun. Who doesn’t want to have some fun at work?
Gamification and Sales Training
It is a fact universally acknowledged that sales people hate going to traditional classroom training programs. And little wonder—instead of being in the field, they’re sitting for 6 hours in a conference room, sometimes for days on end, watching PowerPoint presentations and having group discussions. A clear-cut sense of WII-FM (What's In It For Me) is low and engagement is even lower.
It’s also a fact that salespeople love winning. And that’s where gamification comes in—by framing the learning process as a friendly competition and adding incentives for success, you have a better chance of gaining and keeping learner engagement and increasing learning transfer.
- Onboarding Sales Simulations—If you want new hires to feel at home right from the start, ease them in with a realistic sales simulation. The sim can be as simple or elaborate as you like—from a one-on-one salesperson/customer role play with an experienced observer who offers feedback afterwards to a multi-player scene involving sales and client teams that incorporate client curve balls, new product findings, and even a sudden report of a merger. Whatever happens in the field can happen in the sim, and it’s a safe way for new salespeople to practice.
- Product Training—Usually presented as a classic (and deadly dull) information dump, product training can benefit from a makeover. Put your corporate spin on such classic games as Jeopardy, The Weakest Link, or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Game structure can mirror the way the sales group works, whether it be team-based or individual competitors. Have prizes the players can see—anything from bags of candy to serious swag—so they know
- Introducing New Methodologies—The “new best way” in sales methodology seems to come along once every few years. If you’ll be rolling out an updated sales-process initiative, consider wrapping it up in a game package. Things like daily email or text-message quizzes are great ways for sales people to review new concepts, and you can have a leader board that shows who’s ahead in correct answers. And again, awarding prizes for the most right answers is a great incentive.
- After-Class Behavioral Reinforcement—Leader boards are also an effective, easy way to keep the momentum going after any formal training is complete. Leader boards can focus on anything you want—new leads generated, most-improved sales totals, KPI achievement, CRM completion—just decide on the behavior you want to encourage and how you’ll measure success, and let the leader board do the reporting. And again, it can be individual or team-based scoring. And don’t forget prizes for the top scorers!
Does Gamification Work?
As with all training approaches, the answer to that question is “Yes—if you do it right.” For example, HP realized revenue growth of $1 billion by applying gamification to improve results of their reseller channel. InsideSales.com’s cash-based incentive program for setting appointments and qualified opportunities saw measurable increases of 3.4 percent and 19 percent, respectively. And Comcast Cable ran a contest to see who could log the most appointments in Salesforce, with a prize of dinner for two. The result? A 127% increase in the number of appointments set each day.
So yes, gamification can have significant positive results as long as you take the time to do it right. Some guidelines include:
- Incentivize the right behavior. Reward the salesperson when he/she performs the way you want.
- Be consistent. Gamification is effective when it’s fully integrated into the corporate culture. On-off gimmicks create temporary energy—if you want long-term benefits, a game should reliably be afoot.
- Change it up. Being consistent doesn’t mean the game remains the same. There are so many ways to incorporate gaming strategy—look at all the different types of game shows and sports and MMORPGs out there. Keep your salespeople on their toes by switching the playing field.
- Measure, Measure, Measure. And use the data you collect to continually hone your game.
Distilling a topic like “gamification” down to a three-page article is like trying to squeeze the world’s biggest cat into a jelly jar—nobody wins, not you or the cat or even the jelly jar. A well-regarded expert in the field of gamification, Dr. Karl M. Kapp, has shared volumes of research on his website and has even shared insights on TEDx. If you are interested in this topic, be sure to check out his work.
Gamification is not a new trick—it’s been around for a long, long time. Don’t let the myth that games are frivolous time wasters keep you from trying game theory to improve sales performance!
327 Solutions leadership has been in Training and Development for over two decades working with Fortune 100 clients helping our customers reach their goals. We are The Agency for People and Talent Development Leadership™ supporting the Fortune 100 through placement, consulting and training.
To discuss how 327 Solutions can help you with Gamification Design and Implementation, please feel free visit our website at www.327solutions.com
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Originally posted on LinkedIn Publisher