This is a guest post by Rajat Paharia, Founder and Chief Product Officer, Bunchball
Since their introduction, the ability of Customer Resource Management solutions to dramatically enhance sales performance has been consistently demonstrated. Yet salespeople still frequently resist using these tools to their fullest potential, the result of which can be overlooked opportunities, missed quotas and reduced profitability. Executive management, suffering from limited visibility into pending sales transactions, is all-too-often forced into quarterly last-minute scrambles to push through deals.
Executives have long been searching for an answer to this problem, and many have found it in gamification – a proven solution that drives CRM adoption and utilization among sales professionals as it motivates teams, boosts participation and increases company loyalty.
Gamification is the integration of game mechanics and theory into non-game applications and processes in the workplace. Simply put, the concept applies a game-oriented approach to non-game activities, making them more engaging. Game mechanics motivate participants to get involved and solve problems.
Today, gamification is being integrated into a wide range of business functions, including sales and marketing, customer engagement, employee incentives and workplace performance. When successfully implemented into the sales process, gamification supports improved CRM adoption and usage, along with company-wide collaboration to support the sales effort. The result: sales pipelines are stronger, sales quotas are achieved, revenue is higher and profits are greater.
Driving Collaboration across the Sales Team
The key to gamification success is to remain focused on strategies that will, without fail, successfully align teams and their activities with business goals. A gamified sales culture drives collaborative behavior among the sales team, incentivizing them to share information openly and frequently with each other, with executives and with appropriate external departments.
In a gamified culture, sales professionals assist one another wherever possible by providing pertinent information, illustrating their own accounts as successful examples to new qualified leads, or providing insight as to how a new prospect might be best approached. There is no limit to the knowledge that can be shared among sales professionals and when sales teams collaborate, revenue is directly impacted—more deals close, deals close faster, the individual deal value rises, and overall sales volume increases. A collaborative sales team is, in fact, an effective revenue driver and a significant competitive advantage.
Five Critical Features Every Gamification Solution Must Have
1. Rapid installation and integration. Select a program that plugs directly into your CRM solution, so information can be shared automatically. An app that’s native to your CRM system employs the same interface already used in your organization, so employees won’t need to learn anything new. Integration with reward vendors will further simplify administration.
2. Easy customization. Every company is different and each will require a level of customization. This should be inherent to the solution and attainable through a series of easy clicks—no additional coding required.
3. Simple configuration and personalization. Different departments within an organization will have a variety of different missions, so the program must be easily configured to fit the group. Marketing activities, for example, will differ from sales activities, so each group will require department-specific customization. Similarly, the activities of a sales engineer will differ considerably from those of an account executive, so personalization to fit the individual role will also be required.
4. Facilitate team competition and collaboration. A key goal of gamification is to encourage communication and drive participation. Your solution must cultivate both at its core.
5. Rich analytics. The ability to measure the success of the program is essential in determining how to maximize its potential in existing and future use scenarios.
All of the above are essential components in an effective gamification program, but perhaps nothing is more important than selecting a proven gamification provider. Experience in this field goes a long way in helping organizations to identify goals and desired behavior and works to ensure that any gamified processes are aligned with overall corporate strategies.
Create A Sales Culture that Consistently Delivers
Gamification isn’t about games–it’s about sales results. It’s about measuring and motivating–setting goals, tracking progress, and rewarding performance. It can drive the behaviors in your sales force that will help the business to be successful, and at the same time, drive non-sales employees to participate and support the sales team by providing leads, social media outreach, timely information and thoughtful collaboration.
Chances are your company already employs some game mechanics in the form of traditional sales contests. But you can build on those contests by creating automated, scalable gamification programs that reward results as well as the activities that lead to those results. This can be easily done with the right provider, and in fact, the success of your company may depend on it.