Gamification in sales

Articles - February 1, 2018

Gamification in sales

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Gamification in sales

Sales is not the most engaging and rewarding function in an industry, in the eyes of the majority. Sales employees are given targets at the starting of the sales cycle and their performance is evaluated according to the outputs generated (sales closed successfully) at the end of the cycle. There is limited to no effort made towards engaging or motivating the employees throughout the sales cycles. As a result, sales trajectory of the employees at most organizations observes a hockey stick effect i.e. during the first and second quarter of the cycle there is limited output from the sales teams, while the third and the fourth quarter of the cycle are loaded with application submission from the sales employees. Such an approach of the sales employees often results in miss-selling of the products to the end-customers. The employee sells the products to the customer, without understanding the customer requirement properly, just to achieve the performance level to be eligible for incentives of the cycle. 

Following figure depicts the pattern of achievement of sales target in one cycle –

The key to solve this problem is to effectively engage employees on performance related topics – raise the motivation level of the employees to achieve interim objectives in small increments and provide them almost real time feedback. Senior managers should provide non-monetary rewards and recognitions to motivate the employees. Immediate managers and team leaders should celebrate the small wins of the sales teams frequently during huddles and through other internal communication channels. Product managers and designers should invest in latest tools and technologies like Gamification in order to provide engaging experience for its employees. According to a recent Gallup survey – organizations spend 1000 times lesser for engaging its own workforce as compared to engaging customers. The theoretical link between employee engagement and organization growth can be visualized through the following Engagement-Profit chain – 

But still there is little to no emphasis on improving the employee engagement at workplace. In this scenario, Gamification can be a very useful technique for engaging the employees in serious work at workplace. Gamification uses game elements and game design techniques to solve serious problems and develop desired behaviours among the employees at workplace. The key elements for developing player psychology using gamification is to provide right level of motivation according to the player’s perceived ability, coupled with actionable recommendations – triggers.

Fogg talks about such a model for behaviour change in his paper “A Behaviour model for Persuasive Design”. The paper provides a perspective of making effective behavioural changes by keeping the user sufficiently motivated, adjusting according to the user’s perceived ability, and introducing triggers to perform. These three elements also have subcomponents –

  • Motivation –  Pleasure / Pain, Hope / Fear, Social Acceptance / Rejection
  • Ability – Time, Money, Physical effort, brain cycles, social deviance, Non-routine
  • Trigger –Spark, Facilitators, Signals

Fogg in his paper asserts that these three factors – Motivation, Ability and Trigger – should occur at the same moment, otherwise the desired change in player psychology will not happen.

Gamification can be effective in implementing such a persuasive design. Motivating player’s behaviour and engaging player is at the core of Gamification. Gamification enables to track the motivation level of every user and quantify their perceived ability to complete a given task. With appropriate technology implementation the customer journey can be analysed on the technology platform and actionable insights or triggers can be provided to the player which will enhance the probability of the user to engage with the platform and enhance his ability in the desired dimension. Such activities performed repeatedly over time will elevate the overall productivity level of the game players (employees of the organization). The magic happens when a significant section of the employee improves their perceived ability (read: productivity), and that when the overall organization becomes more productive with a closely connected and engaged workforce.

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