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Competitions, rankings, and leaderboards. They're everywhere online. You see them on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. There’s no denying they work as a motivational tool to encourage users to share more content or become more engaged in their networks. Sales gamification is a skill any salesperson should have under their belt — it's a great way to boost performance, just like any good game would. And by game, we mean business game — not the fun kind you play at home when you're bored. It can be difficult to articulate how exactly sales gamification dashboards and leaderboards could improve your sales team's performance, though—so here's a quick rundown of what exactly makes a good leaderboard.
“Games make us happy because they are hard work that we choose for ourselves, and it turns out that almost nothing makes us happier than good, hard work.” ― Jane McGonigal.
Simply put, gamification uses game design elements and psychological principles in a non-game environment (or real-world problems). The term "gamification" was introduced in 2002 but first gained widespread usage in 2010, specifically referring to incorporating social/reward aspects of games into the software. Today, in addition to many companies using this technique, many businesses create gamification platforms.
Any form of gamification is intended to leverage people’s natural desires such as socializing, learning, competition, achievement, altruism, status, or self-expression. At its core, gamification satisfies a basic need for self-fulfillment and satisfies the participants intrinsically.
Games generate a flow effect in their participants, leading to involvement in the activity. Besides, we humans want to feel valued. We are competitive and need dominance and fame. With gamification, we trick ourselves into becoming productive as well as having fun while we complete challenges.
The History and Psychology Behind Sales Gamification
In the early days of sales gamification (2005 - 2011), achievements were given in avatars and badges. With more innovation coming into the market and the advent of dynamic, engaging software, 2011 - 2014 was an age of sales leaderboard dashboards, points-based rewards, and more flexible metrics. 2015 onwards was when sales gamification eventually moved towards a more holistic approach. In the present context, sales gamification is not just focused on competition but has emerged as a tool for enhancing business collaboration and maximizing business outcomes. Current-day sales gamification systems consider the elements of the ‘Quantified Self’ in employee development.
Take, for example, digital sales gamification dashboards. Many sales leaders swear by the efficacy of sales leaderboards. Sales leaderboards work on the principle that salespeople thrive on competition. These digital sales leaderboards help in performance management and provide a way to track how everyone in the team is doing. They track defined KPIs and ensure rewarding and recognizing employees on their achievement vs. targets. It provides an avenue to track live sales data and makes it easier to run sales competitions. The live data keeps everyone informed and working to stay in the running.
While sales leaderboards did a great job at keeping the scores and motivating employees to put in their best efforts, present-day gamifying, which involves the entire sales process rather than just the leaderboard, shifted the perspective to a new level. It brought the concept of self-improvement and removed unnecessary hostility between team members. Instead, it focuses on collaboration for team challenges, working on various aspects of a sales process from the start rather than just closing a deal, and the opportunity to chat, cross-learn, and congratulate fellow teammates, among many other benefits.
According to a Salesforce blog post, 71% of surveyed companies using sales gamification tools report 11% to 50% increases in measured sales performance.
Why does Sales Gamification Matter?
There is no denying that businesses are taught to be customer-focused, but real results follow from engaging their workforce. Deploying technologies that change employees’ mindsets and behavior and shape the organization's culture brings real transformation.
Gamification is not just a goal-driven method to track metrics digitally. Still, it is a method to actively engage employees to excel and innovate in their daily tasks and achieve objectives. Gamification enables recognizing and rewarding positive behaviors incrementally and unconsciously to build a mindset for winning.
- It transforms ordinary tasks into interesting and fun experiences.
- It gives a fresh look to repetitive tasks and doesn’t make them look like chores.
- Improves adoption of new processes.
- Provides players a map of their performance and where they are headed to.
- Setting goals and competing against oneself to improve.
- Employees are likelier to try new and risky sales tactics to get ahead of the game!
Now gamification is increasingly being introduced to various business departments like customer services, training, marketing, IT, etc. Still, only one department across organizations has been using it for decades in some form or another. Yes, you guessed it right, it’s the sales department.
The sales department has always applied game mechanics to drive the selling process - from awarding prizes for those clocking the highest sales to using sales leaderboards, email dashboards, live scores/TV-style broadcasts, built-in rewards marketplaces (points accumulating systems), etc.
Each system works on healthy competition, which is extremely important in a growing sales team. It is perhaps one of the best motivators (in addition to rewards and recognition). Anyone who has played a video game can tell you that there’s always a desire to reach that next level. So it’s fair to say that sales can increase when we gamify activities, especially in closing a sale.
What is a Sales Leaderboard?
A sales leaderboard tracks the performance of the sales team against business goals. It allows visualization of performance in a board view to easily determine which team members are ahead of their targets.The leaderboard visualizes performance, allowing you to spot trends easily.
Losing track of your sales team's performance is easy when you have a large team and are in charge of multiple business units. There is no easy way to find out who needs help and who is doing well without calls, emails, and spreadsheets. That's one of the areas where using sales leaderboards helps.
Sales leaderboards are helpful to view in a board view. This way you can easily spot trends, which is more difficult to do in a spreadsheet. Sales leaderboards help track your team's weekly/monthly/annual performance.
Adding a pinch of gamification to these sales leaderboards helps to improve the performance against others in the organization and incentivizes your team to beat their above sales targets by igniting the spirit of competition.
Keeping that in mind, let us now look at the various elements and building blocks of sales gamification leaderboards and how to design an effective sales gamification strategy.
Three Elements of a Sales Gamification Dashboard Leaderboard
Sales gamification leaderboard charts can help businesses hit their numbers. Moreover, Dashboards are a simple and easy way to break down complex data into something that a sales manager can understand. For sales gamification to work effectively, three critical things are needed:
- Context: The gamification element needs to relate to the industry or specific topic.
- Value: Participants should feel that they are getting value from the activity. It could be rewards, knowledge, status, or anything else that translates into real value for the participant.
- Success: No one will complete the challenge if the gamification strategy is too complex. This can create frustration. So make sure that the end goal is achievable, even if it might be difficult.
Building Blocks of a Digital Sales Gamification Dashboard
Various elements are used as basic building blocks in gamification applications. These elements motivate users to perform the desired task outside the game context. Some of the widely used elements of sales gamification dashboards are:
Points are basic elements of a gamified application that serve the purpose of feedback. Points are assigned to specific tasks that are required of teams to close. Usually, one can take advantage, and more points can be assigned to a less desirable or higher task on the difficulty levels.
Badges are visual representations of achievements. They let the sales team show off what they’ve done and helped them feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Leaderboards are competitive indicators as they rank players according to their relative success, measuring them against a certain success criterion. This increases competitiveness between participants and gets participants to outdo each other as they progress.
4. Performance Graphs
These provide information about the players' performance compared to their preceding performance during a game. It helps the player focus on his/her improvement over time.
Avatars are visual representations of players within the gamification environment. They can be chosen or created by the player.
Designing Sales Gamification Strategy
To reap the real benefits of sales gamification in the current scenario, one should define transformation objectives, metrics, and desired outcomes. The focus must be on what kind of behavior you want to reinforce and apply gamification techniques accordingly.
It is advisable to design your sales gamification strategy to work on two of the strongest human psychology drives: scarcity and a sense of accomplishment. Here is how to do that:
1. Sense of accomplishment
Awarding points for activities and behaviors that enable success, not success itself. In terms of sales, this could be translated to adding leads data correctly, CRM adoption, helping out a teammate, etc. Finding games/processes that actively engage different generations across the workforce since the sales team may mix baby boomers, millennials, and other different age groups. Promoting collaboration on team challenges.
Allowing a loss of points too, and not just the gaining of them. Loss prevention is a strong motivation to improve and be more careful. Sales gamification leaderboards become quite useful in companies having sizable sales departments as they will have enough players to create teams and compete. Rightly so, sales gamification brings great results, such as encouraged collaboration, improved communication, new habits, data consistency, and motivated teams.
A Word of Caution
Organizations should look at gamification as a long-term strategy that targets behavior change with entertainment and engagement. The gamification platform should empower employees to reach higher levels of productivity and performance. This should not be treated as something that can bring sales results overnight.
Gaining a better understanding of each team member, his/her intrinsic motivations, personalizing rewards, and employing game elements can help boost sales performance and let businesses get the most out of each member of their sales team.
Did you know? Xoxoday Compass, our gamification engine, comes packed with gamification features that will put your team back on the burner - with active involvement from all of them! Compass, our sales leaderboard software, can set the stage for greater collaboration and increased motivation across the board, from game mechanics to leaderboards, contests, nudges, and notifications.
We commonly think playing games is so much fun that people do it voluntarily when it’s the other way around: because the gameplay is a voluntary activity, it satisfies our need for autonomy, and that is part of what makes it fun.” - Sebastian Deterding.