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How to Motivate Sales Teams with Gamification

How to Motivate Sales Teams with Gamification

Aaron Moncreiff


Sales teams thrive on competition, but a ruthless work environment will inhibit teamwork and hurt performance. A truly holistic incentive structure will motivate your sales team by recognizing the workers that bring a high level of performance and integrity to the team year after year.

A gamification platform like Bunchball Nitro can provide the tools necessary to not only track your sales team’s performance metrics, but also motivate excellence that goes far beyond simple sales stats. By quantifying team-based interactions and validating peer-to-peer feedback, the Nitro platform creates an incentive structure that rewards teamwork and recognizes your team’s standout collaborators.

Finding What Motivates

The sales field tends to attract competitive, results-driven workers, making sales teams prime candidates for office competitions and performance-based bonuses. But when designing your incentive structure, it’s important to remember management guru Peter Druker’s insight: What gets measured gets managed.

When it comes to motivating your sales team by rewarding performance, it can be difficult to apply a single yardstick without skewing the team’s behavior in unproductive ways. No one KPI can define a good sales team, and focusing exclusively on any single measure of performance can create unintended consequences that hurt your company.

Relying on short-term contests and SPIFFs is common practice for motivating sales teams historically. Not only are these practices expensive and hard to measure, but the problem with short-term contests and SPIFFs is that they only motivate a short-term behavior change. Long-term, motivation and productivity will start to lag. Contests and SPIFFs also reward the individual, rather than the entire sales team.

If your incentive structure is focused solely on bringing in new clients and generating new business, you risk encouraging workers to play “small ball.” A sales team that is pumping up their stats by churning out leads and landing one-time deals will lose focus on servicing repeat customers, neglecting the deals that ultimately bring in a much higher lifetime value.

Choosing to solely reward the maintenance of long-term customer relationships risks the opposite behavior—when performance bonuses are funneled towards the sales team that services repeat customers, poaching can start to look like a good strategy. After all, cultivating new accounts can be a gamble; team members will soon recognize that it would be far more lucrative to undermine their more successful colleagues and steal a valuable account.

Poaching is incredibly corrosive behavior—you want an incentive structure that motivates your sales team by rewarding teamwork, not backstabbing.

One Structure, Many Behaviors

A comprehensive gamification platform solves this conundrum. A platform like Bunchball Nitro can quantify and reward the sales team’s achievements along multiple axes simultaneously—even the behind-the-scenes cooperation that is vital to the team’s success. As a result, you get a holistic overview of each team member’s performance, as well as a powerful toolkit for motivating a wide range of productive behaviors.

Gamification lets you set multiple priorities for your sales team—you can create contests for opening new accounts, while simultaneously rewarding the team members that stay on top of client maintenance. By tracking the lifetime value of deals, Nitro lets you reward everyone who pitched in and laid the groundwork for closing lucrative contracts.

Nitro also allows the team to engage in a continuous “360 Review” feedback session. The platform allows team members to allocate bonus points, award special badges, and give trophies to colleagues that have helped them achieve their goals. The team’s own members, after all, are the most knowledgeable about who is making unseen contributions and picking up slack at crucial moments.

Gamification can incentivize a level of teamwork that might go unseen in traditional sales contests, allowing for more sales motivation.

Motivating Your Sales Team

Bunchball Nitro helps you motivate sales teams by moving the incentive structure from short-term churning to the creation of long-term value, and from cutthroat competition to collaborative team-based sales. Finding the right mix of incentives for your sales team can be challenging, but Nitro helps you measure what really counts.

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