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Using Gamification to Improve Sales Effectiveness

Using Gamification to Improve Sales Effectiveness

Chris Sullivan


By Chris Sullivan, Vice President, Sales, Bunchball
Chris Sullivan@Sully63 

As someone who has worked in sales for more than 20 years, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to develop, and then nurture, effective sales teams. MHI Global summarized the challenges quite nicely in its recent report, which identifies three specific attributes as the cornerstones of a performance-oriented sales culture: Customer Core (how an organization engages with its customers), Collaboration (how people at an organization work with customers and together) and Calibration (how an organization measures, recognizes and rewards accomplishment).

But here’s the problem: The data collected in the study indicates that less than half of those polled feel confident that their companies are working optimally in these three areas. Check out these findings, where I list MHI Global’s reference point for each attribute, along with the results tabulated for World-Class Performers and All Respondents:

  • Customer Core reference point: We clearly understand our customer’s issues before we propose a solution. 93% of World-Class Sales Performers; 48% of All Respondents.
  • Collaboration reference point: Our organization collaborates across departments to pursue large deals. 94% of World-Class Sales Performers; 43% of All Respondents.
  • Calibration reference point: Our sales performance metrics are aligned with our business objectives. 93% of World-Class Sales Performers; 48% of All Respondents.

Why is it so difficult to optimize sales performance today?

Well, for starters, success now involves much more than traditional salesmanship. A wide variety of other factors–like training, systems, operations and team management–have begun to dramatically impact revenue (despite the fact that many deal-driven sales reps feel these activities are nothing more than administrative “busy work”).

Plus, management of the sales function is becoming more complicated than ever. A modern sales force may be comprised of direct sales teams, indirect sales teams (partners, affiliates, resellers, distributors, etc.), distributed sales teams or a combination of all three.

And on top of all that, there’s the simple fact that companies have never been very good at motivating their sales teams to begin with.  Hardline approaches (“Do this or else!”) and traditional incentive programs (contests, SPIFFs, etc.) only work in the short-term, lead to unintended behaviors like “sandbagging” and miss the mark completely with regard to key factors, like those mentioned in the MHI Global report (customer engagement, collaboration and calibration).

What’s the solution?

At Bunchball, we’ve seen that gamification can lead to real, measurable improvements in business performance, including increases in engagement, improvements in training and higher win rates from sales teams.

For example, one of our customers, a Fortune 500, multi-national IT company, created an engaging environment within to onboard a new inside sales team, encourage best practices and proficiency.  Not only did they see a 65% increase in weekly users of, but average days-to-close dropped 54% while the rate at which opportunities converted to closed or won increased by 14% –all within one month.

How does it work?

In a nutshell, gamification combines three essential components–big data, interactive design and the latest research about motivation–to create powerful, data-driven tools for business. So whether your sales teams are direct, indirect, distributed or a combination of all three, gamification allows you to leverage motivation and ambition as a means to help them improve. And by “improve,” I’m not only talking about quotas, but also engagement, collaboration, learning and onboarding–all of which are proven drivers of revenue growth.

Time to get started

There’s no question about it: Sales managers have their work cut out for them. Today’s sales teams are more complex and under more pressure to perform than ever before. But thanks to new business tools like gamification, you can rise to the challenge. Isn’t it time to update how you motivate your sales team?

For much, much more about how gamification can optimize sales effectiveness and additional real-world business results from Bunchball customers, please download our new white paper, Using Gamification to Optimize Sales Effectiveness.


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