What’s All This Talk About Gamification?


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The issue of CRM adoption seems to come up a lot these days. After all these years, many companies are still having a substantial challenge getting their sales forces to align and comply with corporate CRM policies and procedures.

I’ve written a lot about sales process automation tools like Dealmaker, White Springs, and Revegy, and the significant value they provide to the sales rep.

But there are other approaches companies are taking to get their sales reps to focus on CRM compliance as well as other important things like skills development. One of those approaches is gamification. (Here is a recent article about it by a Gartner Analyst.)

Enter Bob Marsh, CEO of LevelEleven. LevelEleven develops easy-to-use software tools that help sales and other managers keep their teams focused on the right things. Their flagship product, Contest Builder, was an idea generated by the ePrize team who implemented salesforce.com within its own sales organization.

Bob is an expert in gamification. Here is an interview I did with him.

Dave Stein: Gamification is a trending topic right now and a bit of a buzzword in the industry. But what exactly is gamification and how does it apply to business and the enterprise?

Bob Marsh: The concept of gamification revolves around applying game-like activities and contests to a non-game setting; it is the blanket term for stimulating and rewarding participants in non-game contexts. In business and the enterprise, gamification is a new form of incentivizing employees in order to motivate behaviors and drive innovation. Over the past year businesses have seen first hand the positive impact gamification can have.

But while gamification might seem simple and basic in theory, applying gamification to your business and designing a program tailored to fit your enterprise and it’s unique challenges takes time and careful thought.

DS: Getting more specific; how can the sales industry benefit from gamification?

BM: Salespeople are fundamentally competitive, so gamification plays right into their ambitious nature. Offering fun, simple contests aimed at engaging sales reps to do things like complete data entry fields or sell more of a new product ultimately enables them to feel successful in their daily job, and also provides reps with recognition. In sales, participation in motivational reward campaigns is not much of an issue. In fact, we’ve found that sales reps are almost more motivated by the contest itself and the acknowledgement, rather than the actual reward.

DS: How have you seen gamification impact this industry thus far?

BM: Gamification is making an impact across various industries from marketing to healthcare. But has been especially effective in enterprise sales, due to the competitive nature of sales reps that I mentioned.

In fact Carter Lusher, research fellow and chief analyst at Ovum, recently noted, “Using gamification tactics in enterprise sales environments has proven to be an effective tool for motivating teams to focus on the right goals.”

From within our own business, here at LevelEleven, we’ve seen quite positive success. Clients like Comcast, the Detroit Pistons, InsideView and others, have used our product Contest Builder, the #1 gamification app on the AppExchange, to increase data-entry, sales leads and overall ROI. One of our customers achieved 50% of their annual sales goal on a key product, within 6-weeks by applying gamification tactics. With enterprise gamification, businesses are seeing results that impact their bottom-line.

DS: Do you have best practices or advice for sales managers who are looking to apply gamification tactics amongst their sales teams?

BM: Definitely. Here are a few tips for sales managers to keep in mind when considering gamification:

  • Entertain: it is really important to make the contest fun for employees and keep them entertained.
  • Keep it simple: Only pick a few behaviors to motivate – focus on key areas and avoid making too many goals as it can become confusing.
  • Real time results: make sure salespeople always know where they stand and share status updates regularly. Furthermore, encourage team members to share how they are doing – a little trash talking is okay!

I’ve seen first hand what a great tool gamification is to get sales teams motivated and the positive impact this can have on businesses.

Bob Marsh, CEO, LevelEleven
Bob has spent 18 years in sales and sales management. Bob joined ePrize in 2000, was a top sales producer, and played a key role in making ePrize the dominant player in the consumer promotion and loyalty category. Bob secured some of ePrize’s top clients including Delta Airlines, Ford, American Express, General Motors, Comcast, Target, and General Mills. In 2010, Bob led the implementation of Salesforce for the ePrize sales team, which is where the idea for LevelEleven began.

You can follow Bob on Twitter @bobmarsh5

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Stein
Dave specializes in helping his clients win critical B2B sales opportunities as well as helping them hire the best sales talent.Dave is co-author of Beyond the Sales Process. He wrote the best-selling How Winners Sell in 2004.


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