It’s a play that helps us do serious things better – Daniel Debow.
By definition, gamification involves inserting game-like mechanics in any non-game environment to engage and motivate people to achieve goals. It involves applying game-design elements and game principles to make difficult tasks palatable. It makes the players take action, motivates them to take any action, or guides them to take action by leveraging our inherent desires for status, achievement, socialization, competition as rewards.
Gamification employs one fundamental psychological principle of positive reinforcement to nudge behavioral response (or action). This principle involves increasing the occurrence of a behavioral response by offering a reward for the response. By gamification, managers set milestones of business objectives, and employees receive positive payouts on achieving those goals.
Today, gamification finds usage in a lot of companies and their various business functions. It helps in increasing the return on investments for organizations. For this reason, a research report by MarketsandMarkets, projects the gamification market to grow from USD 9.1 billion in 2020 to USD 30.7 billion by 2025, a whopping Compounded Annual Growth Rate of 27.4%. Implementing rewards and recognitions over performance results in better employee engagement with increased productivity and drives more interaction with your brand for customers.
To implement gamification for employees, few basics need to be in place:
1. Clear business goals: One needs to have a deep understanding of business outcomes through gamification. For example, it can range from more engagement and viral growth for marketing to increased absolute numbers for sales to better employee onboarding and training for HR, etc.
2. User data: This involves data generated by users based on their present interaction with various systems. This data is used to drive actions through gamification, which supports business goals.
3. Defined target audience: Understanding of target audience for gamification, their current behaviors, and motivations will help to design a better experience.
4. Variable rewards: Brains are wired to take action and align behavior in response to rewards. So do an apt mix of intrinsic (e.g. social status, rank, progress) and extrinsic (e.g. gifts, prizes, money) rewards.
What is Sales Gamification?
Sales are one of the most touched functions in terms of applying gamification to achieve business objectives. This may start from something as simple as communicating to a sales representative his/her daily progress vs. target in terms of achieving absolute sales numbers as compared to his teammates verbally, in visual form via spreadsheets, graphs, and rewards to be won when they complete their quota (zero to little gamification) to presenting well laid out individual, team level, city level or even country-level challenges tied to monthly, quarterly and annual targets with multiple business metrics being tracked in real-time. Here, different forms of personalized rewards and recognition are collected on achieving each milestone, hence making the entire sales process a big game to be won( complete gamification).
Human beings are goal-oriented and competitive, and working in sales enables them to play to this natural tendency. What more than adding the thrill of a game that challenges them to win?
Sales Gamification Ideas to Improve Sales Performance
Your ambitious and competitive sales teams might have team members who mostly love to compete against each other, while others may like competing against themselves more. But one thing common here is that both these types of team members have a desire for growth. Sales gamification allows you to motivate both types by providing an external environment to support this behavior. It blends extrinsic (the desire to be better when compared) and intrinsic (the desire to improve your skill-set) motivators in a system of rewards, thereby nudging behavior that supports business objectives.
Sales gamification makes the work fun. This results in more and better work, hence driving performance up. Without the employees directly noticing it, gamification of sales processes changes the engagement rules, and employees change the behavior as a result. It increases sales reps' perceived ability by making difficult tasks simpler either through practice or by reducing the activation threshold of targeted behavior to complete that task.
There is no doubt in saying that sales gamification plays an important role in enhancing overall productivity and motivation, but its efficacy in any organization relies on successful implementation.
First, you need to identify steps in your sales process that are crucial in driving the numbers up but are not getting enough attention from the sales reps. These are the key steps around which you need to build your gamification elements.
It will be beneficial if the below-mentioned levers are taken care of while designing your gamification strategy to push your sales numbers up and keep your sales team working together in tandem:
Continue to raise the intensity of rewards as the levels go up.
Neuroscience says that rewards trigger dopamine release, and the same level of rewards over time results in lesser dopamine release due to habituation. The more challenges, higher or unknown rewards you present to your team as the levels progress, the greater the dopamine release, and they will hence be more motivated and continue to participate and make attempts at higher goals.
Align rewards with organization goals
No one is interested in a movie with less drama and no plot. The same goes for your reward system. If you start a competition with little logic, base rewards on scoring high in random activities, and start a gamified competition with no clear vision, you cannot keep the sales teams motivated for too long.
On the other hand, if you create a point-based reward system in alignment with the organization’s larger goals and daily activities which sales representatives need to do, your sales teams will be chasing the rewards as they will be able to see clearly how winning in the game is also enabling them to tick necessary items in their daily to-do lists.
You may include entering leads data, stages of client meetings, upselling, prospecting, etc., in an increasing reward for completing each stage.
When gamification enables visual leaderboards to show how employees rank compared to other team members and social media-friendly shareable content on winning a challenge while you support the teams by celebrating small wins, the sense of self-worth is amplified in the team members. This helps push your already motivated sales teams to achieve the next goal and infuses positive team spirit.
The world is increasingly moving towards dynamism. Gone are the days of spreadsheet-based plans, simple graphs, and charts with little to no engagement. Games enable your sales representatives to see KPIs, remaining targets, and bonuses in a new light as levels to unlock badges to earn, win tally, or empower their game avatar, etc., thereby improving engagement with the whole sales process.
On putting these levers to practice and using Xoxoday’s incentive gamification software, Compass, one of India's online food delivery companies that Xoxoday worked with improving productivity and engagement for its 1.2 lakh strong delivery partners fleet.
The problem was aligning each of its geographically dispersed (120 locations) 1.2 lakh delivery partners who worked out of their delivery vehicles on organization values and strategic priorities. Due to these operational challenges, it was extremely difficult to unify and implement initiatives and track their activities. Even worse, local management teams' regional partner rewards programs were time-consuming and running into operational overheads with limited efficacy.
So the company turned to the gamification of the process and set up a plan using Xoxoday Compass that rewarded delivery partners with points on achieving each milestone, which was designed on its key business metrics for delivery partners’ performance and efficiency, which included attendance, shift completion, and quick delivery time. Compass provided detailed data reporting and analytics tools to track the enormous amount of incoming data from these 1.2 lakh users on these key metrics. Also, it provided customer support for the entire fleet since the support was necessary to drive the tool's adoption directly.
The points-based reward system instilled an interest in delivery partners and led them to start using Xoxoday Compass to evaluate their achievements. To increase adoption and usage, existing privileges like Insurance, doctor on call, educational scholarship, and personal loan facility were incorporated on Compass, making it a unified platform.
Compass’ Feeds & Announcements feature enabled updating each and every delivery partner on the most recent rewards scheme and initiatives, instantaneously, with zero operational overheads.
As a result, in just six months, the percentage of partners rewarded (which meant achieving business metrics) went up from 14% to 86%. Rewards redemption increased from 26% to 70%, which indicated engaged partners who revel in their achievements.
This robust implementation of Compass by Xoxoday led to cost savings in implementing incentive and benefits programs across 120 locations and helped in achieving incremental operational efficiencies due to regularised attendance and efficient delivery times.
To sum up, gamification (when implemented well) is an almost fool-proof way to encourage teams to deliver improved performance and get noticed, and show off their work in the process. With sales teams, gamification is an even better strategy to adopt to drum up higher sales and better results across the team.
In the end, what matters is the business outcome. Gamification can help your sales teams bring in additional revenue without sacrificing individual success and have the feeling of play at work, without disturbing their workflow.