October 11, 2016

How Gamification Works for Sales Enablement

Written by Awais Ahsan

Sales Enablement Gamification.jpg

We always hear that sales reps simply do not use the sale tools, content, and data sheets that are created to help them sell.  In fact, IDC says that as much as 80 percent of content goes unused by sales teams. One simple and effective way to fix this problem is gamification. Gamification uses quizzes, quests, leaderboards and prizes to encourage sales training and development.  

Think about the personality traits of the typical sales team. In general sales teams are more competitive than the rest of the company, and sales reps are more likely to have competed in sports as kids. Sales reps are goal driven. We know these things about B2B sales professionals:

  1. They are achievement-oriented. According to Harvard Business Review, “Eighty-four percent of the top [sales] performers tested scored very high in achievement orientation. They are fixated on achieving goals and continuously measure their performance in comparison to their goals.”
  1. The Canadian Professional Sales Association says that “ego-drive” is another important attribute of sales people. Ego-drive is all about winning and being competitive. People with a high ego-drive are always looking for ways to measure themselves against their peers.
  1.  Dominick Hankle, a psychology professor said most good sales reps are extroverts. They crave interaction of any kind as a way to keep their energy up throughout the day.

We also know that money motivates sales reps. Making as much of it as possible, through quota attainment, can seem like the singular goal of most sales reps. And really, that’s a good thing for the business.  Sales enablement managers know that sales training content can help these very same reps make quota, and do so faster. But, for reasons of logistics, convenience or established behavior patterns, most reps do not make sales training content a regular part of their process.

While sales reps may not be making room in their day right now to use sales enablement tools, it is possible to change their behavior by playing to the very same characteristics that drive them to strive for quota. That’s where gamification comes in.

Salesforce.com says that 71 percent of companies saw a measured increase in sales performance once they introduced gamification. So what exactly is this new behavior motivation trend that is changing the way sales teams train and learn? Gamification turns learning into competition and plays on the sales reps natural instinct to compete.

Here are three examples of gamification in action:

  1. Leaderboards - Companies have placed sales training leader boards on the front page of their salesforce application so that each rep can see how they stack up against their peers when it comes to using sales content or completing learning paths.
  1. Learning Quests - Other companies choose to incentivize reps individually, presenting badges and certificates each time a rep completes a “learning quest,” which is a customized learning path.  
  1. Selling Competitions - In other organizations gamification encourages sales reps to use content with their prospects and customers, with awards and merits handed out to the reps that leverage the most sales tools in their successful prospecting.

Regardless of specific approach and tactics, all gamification programs play on the sales rep’s basic desires to achieve and win.

It is important to note that while gamification makes learning fun, it also makes learning effective. As reps complete learning paths or discover additional sales content as part of the game they become more knowledgeable about the products that they promote.  They also become more likely to incorporate those materials into real-life selling scenarios, and as a result, they become more successful.



Awais Ahsan

Awais is Director of Marketing at Content Raven. Having taught math for 10 years, he is passionate about Education, Training, & Technology. Awais holds his MBA from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University.

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