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How to Use Gamification to Change the Behavior of Your Sales Team

February 27, 2022

Nowadays, we live in a highly competitive world. Global markets are overflowing with new brands selling similar products to the same target audience. Needless to say, because of the limited consumer pool, companies need to work extra hard to overcome competitors and secure sales.

The most popular way companies boost sales is by improving their marketing strategies. As a result, contemporary brands are focusing on improving both advertisement strategies and sales team performance through gamification.

But what exactly is gamification, and how can companies use it to change their sales team’s behavior? We’ll answer both these questions and more in the article below:

Gamification to change your team’s behavior

Gamification has become increasingly popular amongst both established and upcoming brands. Big names like Samsung, Microsoft, Nike, Google, and Deloitte regularly use gamification processes.

Gamification itself takes two forms. First, there’s regular gamification where companies encourage consumers to participate in games tailored to boost sales and customer engagement. Then, there’s sales gamification, which applies specifically to sales and marketing teams. Sales gamification is also known as employee gamification and ties in with worker behavior economics.

Behavior gamification motivates sales teams to work harder towards achieving a set goal. But before we dive into understanding sales gamification strategies, let’s first explore the psychology of sales gamification…

The Psychology Behind Sales Gamification

Picture this: you’re running a marathon, motivated by the gleaming gold medal awaiting you at the end of the race. You put in your best effort when running the race and eventually snag the award. You’re pleased with your win, but know that what truly motivated you to work hard was the gold medal.

This brings us to the concept of reward and punishment; an age-old system that works well even today.

The human brain contains a special section called the ‘reward center.’ This reward center lights up upon receiving a positive stimulus such as appreciation, bonus pay, or even a gold medal. As a result, your brain is flooded with happiness hormones, including dopamine, leaving you with an elated feeling.

Over time, your brain gets used to this feeling and starts craving it more. As a result, many people find themselves working harder than usual to achieve a reward and regain the same sense of delight.

However, had there been no reward awaiting them at the end, no one would feel motivated enough to work towards goal-achievement.

Sales gamification employs this reward system to motivate employees to perform better at their jobs. And, of course, better employee performance yields more sales. As a result, many companies are working towards implementing sales gamification within their teams. 

But there’s more to sales gamification than just increased profits and more closed deals. Sales gamification plays a key role in boosting employee happiness and strengthening desired behaviors. We’ve explored these concepts within the next section… 

Sales Gamification and Employee Happiness 

According to a 2019 survey by TalentLMS, 71% of workers reported higher energy levels due to gamification. Many agreed they enjoyed their work more because of the excitement sales gamification brought with it. 

The same survey tells us that 89% of employees noticed an increase in their productivity levels post-gamification. Microsoft itself saw a 3.5 times higher employee engagement rate after incorporating gamification within their system. 

An engaging workplace is more beneficial than a bland, mechanical one. Being drawn to healthy competition is a staple feature of human nature. 

B. F. Skinner, an award-winning psychologist, analyzed the effect of competition and reward within his ‘Skinner’s Box’ project. His theory of operant conditioning has found a permanent place within the world of organizational psychology and gamification strategies. 

Skinner’s Box displayed the effect of positive reinforcement through reward. After regularly awarding mice when they produced the desired behavior, Skinner noticed a trend. He saw that the mice were more likely to keep up the desired behavior if they were regularly rewarded for their successes. Eventually, the mice mastered these behaviors and became overall better performers. 

The same strategy finds itself at play within sales gamification, which we’ll explore in the next section… 

Here is a list of the more effective sales gamification strategies out there:

1. Acknowledge and Reward Your Employee of the Month 

Everybody loves to be appreciated every now and then. Research tells us that having their hard work acknowledged makes people happy. Not only that, it also motivates them to maintain their excellent performance. 

Employee management experts are aware of this, which is why so many companies are now using special schemes to acknowledge and reward top performers. The traditional ‘Employee of the Month’ acknowledgement is one of the oldest tricks in the book.

But remember, simply acknowledging hard work isn’t enough. Along with appreciation, don’t forget to reward your top employees with additional perks. This could be anything from adding a few extra dollars to their paycheck or giving them the day off. 

2. Encourage Healthy Competition Through Leaderboards 

Some corporations also like to maintain long-term leaderboards. In such systems, employees gain points for every sale they make. Whoever has the most points at the end of a sales cycle gets a special reward. 

Apart from the ones listed above, common incentives include:

  • Free lunch for top employees
  • Sponsored out-of-station trips
  • Paid leave 
  • An eventual promotion

3. Host Intra-Group Competitions 

Competing against others within the same team can stimulate healthy competition amongst employees. However, creating sub-teams within your overall sales team may yield even better results.

Making small groups of sales experts work together to achieve a common goal with a shared reward has many benefits. Firstly, it stimulates the same healthy competition seen within individual employees competing against one another. But that’s not all – when small groups compete against one another, their team members are encouraged to work together. This promotes a sense of collective participation and positive teamwork amongst group members. As a bonus, more experienced members may mentor their lesser-skilled mates and help them improve their performance. Once the sales cycle – and competition – is over, you’re rewarded with better-skilled employees than you had before. And, of course, the winning team gets a special prize. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!

Additional Tips

Here are some helpful tips to ensure your team stays at the top of its sales game:

  • Remember to give your team feedback on their progress regularly. Inform them of weak areas and give them tips on how to improve
  • Keep an eye out for toxic competition between team members. If you encounter any team member trying to sabotage or harm others, confront them immediately. Toxic competition often develops when impressive rewards are offered for quality performance
  • Consider maintaining an employee log sheet throughout the gamification process. This will help you keep tabs on individual workers’ performance. As a result, you can better evaluate where your team stands and which members need to tweak their work ethic
  • Encourage sales team members to take breaks if needed – many people may try to overwork themselves to secure a reward

Final Words

As you can see, sales gamification is both motivational and fun. As a result, many employees prefer it over traditional working methods. It’s no secret that sales gamification has become a staple practice amongst some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurial teams, including those at Google and Deloitte.

To ensure your team stays motivated throughout the sales process, be sure to treat them to a special reward at the end of the sales cycle. This can be anything from bonus pay to an extra day off.

Sales gamification also helps boost overall employee happiness. This is a given, seeing how gamification can be fun if done right. Plus, don’t forget that a happy employee is a productive employee!

motivating employees through sales gamification tactics is both rewarding and fun


How Sales Gamification Increases Your Sales Team’s Motivation And Performance

10 innovative tips to gamify your sales strategy

Why Do Incentives Work? The Psychology of Motivation & Rewards

6 Ways Using Sales Gamification to Motivate Your Team

Put those insights into practice.

Set your team up for success by improving their performance through gamification.

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