Today's post is by Bob Marsh, CEO of LevelEleven.
When the idea for LevelEleven came to me a few years ago, I had never even heard the word “gamification.” When I first heard it, in conversation about 2011’s Dreamforce conference, I reacted as I imagine most people do: I dubbed it a buzzword and predicted it would come and go.
Buzzword or not, falling into a trendy category has its advantages. In LevelEleven’s first full year of business in 2013, we saw exposure from national media outlets in print and on screen. We landed a dozen speaking opportunities at the world’s largest vendor technology conference, Dreamforce. About 40 percent of our clients became clients because they actively sought out gamification solutions.
On the other end of the spectrum, though, we battled misconception after misconception as we worked to show potential clients that gamification isn’t just some add-on for young teams who want to establish or reinforce a cool culture. It can be. But gamification really goes more like this:
1. It’s not always a game.
It certainly isn’t for the sales leaders at companies like the Detroit Pistons, who use gamification to ensure they’ll hit their goals. The Pistons hit a six-month sales goal in six weeks thanks to sales contests, driving more than $500,000 in sales around a new product. Nor is it a game for sales leaders at any of the other 71 companies (out of 100 that LevelEleven surveyed) who said they see between 11 percent and 50 percent increases in measured sales performance when using gamification to motivate key sales activities.
2. Gamification’s just as effective – or sometimes even more effective – for older generations.
People equate gamification with gaming and thus with younger generations. It makes sense, but it’s not accurate. The desire to compete and be recognized doesn’t expire, nor does the fact that nobody wants to see his or her face at the bottom of a leaderboard.
Sometimes gamification tools are more applicable for more seasoned sales folks, especially if they tend to resist the technology that gamification can help them adopt. In fact, that’s the reason Stanley Black & Decker chose to bring gamification into its environment, which houses employees with an average age of 54 years and tenure of 19 years.
Here are the results driven by Stanley Black & Decker’s first sales contest:
· 29 percent increase in pipeline activities
· 43 percent increase in documented opportunities
· 320 percent updated records
· 70 percent engagement rate (for which live leaderboards were credited)
3. Gamification’s not about motivating everything.
You could call gamification sales motivation, but that just doesn’t sound right. Hire a motivational speaker, get your team amped, and call that sales motivation. As I explained in this recent interview (below), sales gamification goes beyond that. It adds another layer. It uses competition to motivate your team, not just to start performing in general, but to start performing more of the specific behavior that drives your business forward.
For every team, that behavior varies. It may include social-selling activities, such as leveraging LinkedIn connections, or getting in front of the customer through face-to-face meetings. Kelly Services can attest to the potential in the latter option. This company credits competitions centered on face-to-face meetings for $5.8 million in additional revenue.
In the end, gamification really comes down to filling in the blank.
It’s completing the statement, “If our sales team got us more _______, it would ensure we’d hit or surpass our goals and increase our revenue,”and then using competition to motivate certain behavior until getting more of whatever your variable is becomes habit.
Whether the “buzzword” stays or goes, the concept of gamification will continue to stick around. When used carefully, gamification gives sales leaders the power to improve their sales outcome. It can change a business. That considered, maybe the name of the category’s not all that bad, as long as we understand that gamification’s about helping businesses conquer the game – not just stay in it.