What is Gamification?

One of the trending topics in business is gamification. If you are not familiar with the term, in short, gamification is the application of game mechanics to non-game experiences that can drive an audience to a desired behavior.The size of the audience available through gaming is enormous and rivals television as a medium.

According to Forrester, gamers span just about every demographic. [tweetmeme source= “insideview” only_single=false]

  • 65% of Xbox gamers are male
  • 59% of “social gamers” (like Farmville…) are women
  • 23% of the “social gamers” are Boomers between 45 and 65 years old.

In general gamers are also more motivated to have ‘connections’ with people than non-gamers. In the world of sales, connections and engagement is key to driving pipeline growth and creating new opportunities.

A few definitions of gamification:

  • A game is structured play, usually for fun.
  • Gameplay is interaction inside of a game.
  • Game Mechanics are constructs or tactics commonly used in games to encourage gameplay. These are things like badges, points, leader boards, levels, challenges, achievements and virtual sheep you can put on your virtual farm.
  • Game Dynamics are strategies commonly used in game design based on psychological motivations. These include things like “Appointments,” in which someone does something to gain a reward, “Avoidance,” in which someone does something to avoid a punishment, or the “Free Lunch” dynamic, in which people feel they are getting something because of their behavior.
  • Currencies are ways to give people incentives based on various motivations in a digital world: the need for financial reward, the need to do good, the need to help one’s community, the need for recognition and influence, the need for pleasure. We can assign currencies to each one of these motivations to reward people for desired behaviors.

Gamification for Sales

Turning the sales process into a game is not a stretch of the imagination for companies. In may ways companies with B2B sales people have already added game mechanics into the process on a small scale. Glenngary Glen Ross has an amazing scene in the beginning of the movie where Alec Baldwin is addressing the sales team where is explains First Prize is a Cadillac and Second Prize is a set of steak knives. This is how most businesses gamify sales to date.

  • Commission checks
  • Presidents Club
  • Spiffs

These are all typically based around revenue for a company and these game mechanics drive the behavior of the sales team to sell more. This is where most companies end the game process but that is about to change.

Companies like Xactly have developed an application that drives compensation management , most typically marketed to businesses that have become buried in spreadsheets trying to track sales teams and their commissions. That’s a big enough problem to tackle for companies but their application has some functionality that brings gamification to the sales teams directly. At a recent event I heard Xactly discuss how their customers base compensation and commissions on a series of behaviors that lean more ‘reward’ to the sales person if they do things such as close a deal early in the month or if they sales can close a deal within a specific time frame.

This opens up a lot doors into how companies could introduce game mechanics for sales even extending beyond revenue events.

Game On for B2B Sales

Research shows that financial rewards for gamers is only one incentive and not even the primary factor that people play games. We saw this internally at InsideView when we wanted to drive social media adoption by the company. The only game mechanic we had to put in place was a monthly email that highlighted to most active employees on Twitter. The internal competition to be in First Place drove up the number of updates from employees 312%.

Sales teams could, and I think should be incentivised for a number of activities outside of just revenue generation. True, the primary responsibility for sales teams is to close deals but within that process of selling there are a number of activities or tasks that can be measured and applied with game mechanics to drive even more productivity. Image a sales team that saw their work as a game and wanted to unlock as many achievements as possible to be recognized publicly and financially?

I hear more and more companies trying to add a layer of gamification to their sales processes. There are several ways to do this and the achievements and metrics are different depending on each companies desired goals.

  • Number of calls
  • New opportunities created
  • Engagement on social media
  • Discussions created in company communities
  • Leads generated by online/personal social activities.

The list can go on forever. The truth is that they are almost limitless and all drive business metrics across different departments.

Is your company thinking of implementing gamification to sales or have any game mechanics that have been working so far?

Advertisements