When I began working with sales teams, I thought gamification was gimmicky, expensive and provided short-lived results. However, as I’ve worked with more and more sales organizations, I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of gamification.
Over time, I’ve observed that most sales teams fail with gamification for two reasons:
- They’re not strategic in their approach.
- They don’t understand what motivates their salespeople.
Here are seven secrets to help solve the mystery of gamification:
1. Spiffs don’t have to be expensive
I have a friend who works for an inside sales team that’s notorious for how many spiffs they do. When I asked him if spiffs were expensive for management, he described a game where at the end of the day, the top 10 reps come to the front of the office and have a putt-off.
Whoever makes their shot gets $5. “It was $5,” he said. “But it was fun and nice to know that I won.”
There are many examples of good, yet inexpensive, spiffs.
Because of how many people use Amazon, $25 gift cards for the largest online market go a long way.
Meals at a local hot spot can be surprisingly effective.
Movie tickets can be bought in bulk for a bargain at any local Costco.
Branded T-shirts, hats and other clothing items are affordable gifts that winners can wear proudly.
Desk plants, certificates and other cubicle memorabilia are badges of honor in the workplace — all items that don’t cost much.
The idea is to reward reps with some tangible prize.
2. Send a message with consistency
Another myth is that too many competitions can diminish the impact of sales gamification. The fact is, however, that people are always in the mood for winning prizes and receiving recognition.
It isn’t the volume of games that deter sales reps, but factors like the type of game, rewards, how competition is positioned and if reps feel they have a chance to win.
Reps are enthusiastic about competitions that align with their goals, that reward the right behavior, and that set challenging but realistic benchmarks.
After ensuring the competitions are set up for success, it’s imperative that they are consistently held. Consistent gamification changes office contests from a gimmicky, one-off event to a strategic part of team culture.
Consistency sends a message to the team that games will be used as a tool to motivate, reward and recognize reps.
3. Use data-driven gamification
Many sales teams fail to apply data to their games. At XANT, we measure everything we can about sales and we apply that data to everything we do, including gamification.
One data-driven game we implement with our clients is the “Power Hour.” This is a typical call block, but it’s during the two hours of the day when the sales team has its best connect rates.
By following this simple practice, one team I worked with increased connect rates by over 30%. After that experience, I was sold on data-driven games.
There are many other data points that can be used when designing games or competitions.
- When does your team have the highest or lowest call volume?
- What day of the week is best for setting or holding appointments?
- How many new opportunities does your team need to reach revenue goals?
4. Reinforce the right behaviors
Sometimes sales contests reinforce the wrong behaviors.
As a best practice with our clients, we never discount the importance of sheer call volume. Dials lead to conversations, which lead to sales.
However, we always place more weight on activities that take place toward the bottom of the sales funnel. This ensures that reps are focused on the most important metric — sales — and is a signal to reps for how they should mentally weigh their various daily activities.
5. Benefit from team games
An underrated element of gamification is the opportunity for team games. Team games are especially effective because they drive motivation through camaraderie.
Reps work hard to not let their teammates down, and feel motivated by a cause greater than themselves. Dividing the floor in teams and pitting them against one another infuses the office with energy and creates a culture of teamwork and competitiveness.
6. Rely on lottery games
Lottery games are great for rewarding distinct individuals, while allowing more of the team to have skin in the game.
For example, a contest for the most calls in one day allows for only the top dialer to be rewarded.
However, if you do a lottery competition for any rep who reaches 80 calls, there are multiple reps who can have skin in the game.
In addition, you can use lotteries to push toward goals. For example, if the average is 60 conversations, but you’d like it to be 80, doing a lottery game for those who reach 80 conversations pushes the entire floor toward that goal.
7. Public recognition is greater than money
I worked for a client where all games were communicated via email.
The VP of sales was copied on these emails and actively participated in the conversation. He even invited the winners to eat lunch with him or get drinks after work.
The reps knew their VP was not only aware of their performance, but that he recognized and appreciated their hard work and success.
In a recent article by Harvard Business Review, it was found that employees at companies where praise is part of the culture are dramatically happier than employees at companies where there is a lack of public recognition.
The same goes for salespeople. They will value recognition over spiffs. Public recognition helps salespeople feel appreciated and valued for their constant grind, and gamification provides the opportunity to create a culture of praise within a sales team.
When your reps go to the end of the world for you, it’ll be your loyalty to them — exhibited through public recognition — that will carry them there.
What will your gamification strategy be?
XANT’s research has found that by incorporating real-time points and leaderboards, sales teams can achieve up to a 38% increase in sales activities.
Strategically apply these gamification secrets to your team, and let the real fun begin.