13 Statistics that Prove the Effectiveness of Sales Gamification in 2023
If there’s one workplace that has eagerly adopted game mechanics into its workflow, it is surely sales. Gamification (the use of game-like strategies to increase motivation and performance) has always been a part of the sales environment in several ways:
- Leaderboards encourage competitiveness and self-improvement.
- Bonuses and other rewards for performance excellence.
- A focus on metrics and KPIs.
- Departments are divided into teams to increase and encourage friendly rivalry.
These strategies have long been known to leverage sales reps’ natural ambition and competitiveness. The job is self-selecting; you don’t enter the profession unless you are willing to compete with others and battle to achieve ascendancy within your team or department.
Where a more explicit form of Gamification is employed, it often accompanies a dedicated software platform, which automates and enables techniques borrowed from games. This is standard practice in 2023, allowing for a lot more of the successful features of Gamification to be employed.
Here’s a short list of the kind of additional gamification features such platforms enable:
- Badges and certification
- Levels of achievement
- Points and reward schemes
- Progress bars and personal dashboards
- Gamified training methods
- Social support mechanisms and kudos
- Real-time feedback
Modern sales environments offer a whole armory of methods for keeping sales reps engaged and optimistic. Morale is vital to any sales office, with high-performing individuals or teams remaining positive, even during challenging economic times.
In this piece, we’ll run through 13 sales Gamification statistics and gamification trends relevant to the modern workplace. We’ll examine what each statistic reveals and what implication each holds for the modern sales team.
13 Statistics on Sales and Gamification and What They Mean
Global Gamification Market and Prevalence
- The global gamification market is expected to demonstrate a CAGR of 12.9% between 2021-2025.
This statistic demonstrates the widespread uptake of Gamification as an engagement strategy across various applications. Everything from education through marketing to self-improvement apps and retail has benefitted from the techniques of the gamification industry.
What are the game mechanics which have proven so popular and successful? Here are some of the gamification tactics found in various use cases:
- HR AND ONBOARDING: Progress bars, personal dashboards, badges, certification.
- SALES AND MARKETING: Leaderboards, bonuses and rewards, kudos, and competition.
- EDUCATION: Progress bars, modular learning, points, quizzes, badges, and certification.
- RETAIL AND ECOMMERCE: Loyalty programs, tiered subscriptions, gamified apps, and products.
- LIFESTYLE AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT: social networks, progress graphs, badges, kudos, rewards.
There’s scarcely an app available for your device in 2023 that doesn’t use some aspect of Gamification. From dating to credit score monitoring to diet and exercise, the tools of Gamification have proved vastly successful in encouraging users to return to the app.
- Between 2016 and 2021, the worldwide gamification industry’s market value nearly tripled, from USD 4.91 billion to USD 11.94 billion.
Interactivity and Gamification go hand-in-hand. As new technologies such as augmented reality and the metaverse become more prevalent, there will be ever-more ways to use game mechanics for employee engagement and revenue generation.
It’s no surprise that Gamification is becoming omnipresent and its market value is booming, even in harsh economic times. Several economic and political developments enhanced the historical rise of Gamification between 2016 and 2021:
- The COVID-19 pandemic made hybrid learning and working methods desirable and essential. This led to a rise in the popularity and adoption of these learning and working methods. Numerous gamified learning solutions were developed, and many new entrants into the remote learning workplace sprang up.
- The US federal government-initiated programs to ensure that every child had access to devices and broadband that would allow them to study or revise remotely. The intention was to close the technology access gap in underprivileged communities. A secondary effect was the reinforcement of the norm of home study, and gamification strategies helped solve the problem of remote teaching and supervision.
- Telecom technologies continued to improve as data download and upload costs diminished. This allowed more venues and public spaces to offer free WiFi and broadband. LTE networks (microwave or radio) were developed in settings where 4G broadband could not be supplied or where it was essential to maintain a reliable service (hospitals, businesses, schools, etc.)
- In sales, it became possible to track the success rates of Gamification since metrics are delivered in high volume for every aspect of a rep’s work. With over a decade of evidence to hand, it became clear that such methods were becoming essential to improving engagement and performance.
These events and developments helped speed up the development of the global gamification market, but as our other recent article showed, Gamification has an almost 150-year history. It may have finally found its moment, but it was always there.
- According to Gartner Research, Gamification has been adopted by over 70% of businesses belonging to the Global 2000 list of companies.
This increasing prevalence generates a push toward adoption to maintain a business’s competitive edge. There’s an arms race effect when one company adopts Gamification in its sales team and demonstrates an increase in market share and revenue. This, in turn, will cause rivals to adopt similar strategies.
If Gartner runs a similar survey in five years, this 70% will have increased.
Gamification for Engagement and Motivation
- According to Talent LMS, 89% of survey respondents prefer to engage in gamified learning tasks.
The techniques of Gamification keep employees engaged because they leverage the dopamine response which accompanies the achievement of a challenging task. We’ve written about this more extensively elsewhere but, in short, dopamine is a neurotransmitter that produces a pleasure response following the achievement of a desired goal.
If a gamification platform can be created which maximizes dopamine production and breaks down tasks into manageable units, it will be preferred by sales teams. Rather than working from a bland to-do list and being motivated by nothing more than a paycheck, or a kind word from the boss, reps begin to find set tasks rewarding themselves.
Here are some of the common game mechanics which make mundane tasks fun:
- Automated notifications of achievement.
- Personal dashboards with graphed progress.
- Kudos messages from colleagues.
- Badges, sounds, emojis, and indicators of success.
All of these are more involving and, therefore, more fun than simply ticking something off a to-do list that you don’t share.
- 90% of employees say they feel more motivated at work when a gamification tool is employed.
Motivation in a sales team can come from different sources, depending on the personality and priorities of the individual rep. For some, monetary rewards are key. For others, the approval of peers is a major component. For the third group, aiming for employee of the month motivates.
One of the best things about Gamification is that it provides a range of options for optimizing employee engagement and motivation, regardless of the individual’s personality. For the three types of motivation described above, for instance, the following game mechanics might work:
- Points can be allocated and exchanged for goods and services or monetary bonuses.
- Social channels enable messaging and sharing of kudos and mutual support.
- Leaderboards allow a rep to monitor their own competitive performance.
Some of the tools of Gamification are explicit (leaderboards, points), and others are more subtle (social reinforcement, gamified training). Still, they all contribute in different ways to making the sales environment more fulfilling and satisfying for individual reps.
- With Gamification, employees experience an average increase in engagement of 48%.
Game-based strategies keep people engaged for longer or, at the very least, facilitate the changes in activity and short breaks, which rebuild focus. Having a dashboard that records performance, points allocation, and likely bonuses and compares that with other reps is liable to motivate better than everything based on instinct and guesswork.
For some industries (creative, for instance), having KPIs and metrics so dominant might have a demotivating effect. However, in a sales environment, competition is a given, and performance measurement is standard practice. Gamification doesn’t add these components; it merely enhances them.
Gamification imports into a sales environment aspects of mutual support, team building, and self-determination, which make these environments more inviting. This results in lower churn and higher employee retention rates and makes for greater work satisfaction.
- 95% of employees report that they enjoy gamified elements at work.
Aspects of gameplay that are designed to maximize fun include:
- Public celebrations of success (audio or visual indicators of success; the digital equivalent of a gong hit).
- Leaderboard positions can be as flashy or graphic as sales leaders choose.
- Automated badges, points, and bonuses cause dopamine surges.
- Progress indicators and other graphic means show workload completion.
All these mechanics are public demonstrations of success, even in highly distributed or fully remote offices. Modern workplaces are more demonstrative than ever, with fewer “unsung heroes.”
- Employee engagement increases on average by 60% in a gamified environment.
The improvement that can occur when sales gamification solutions are enabled can be dramatic. When competitiveness increases and employees can more clearly see a direct link between effort and reward, this generates a major motivational boost. Sales reps are no longer “working in the dark” without knowing their end-of-quarter figures.
Reps can see personalized performance data and predicted outcomes. They can course-correct for any performance shortfalls. Managers to have more free time to concentrate on mentoring and training. Gamified training means that more reps can be upskilled more quickly and reliably.
When nobody falls publicly behind, and firings are therefore minimized, this also boosts morale, building a more secure and hospitable environment.
- 85% of employees report spending more time on gamified platforms.
The addictive nature of games is one of the most powerful tools in a gamified work environment. When reps want to check their daily, weekly, and monthly stats or ascend the leaderboard, this brings them back into daily engagement.
Sales departments get multiple benefits from the addictive qualities of gamified platforms, including:
- Goal and target orientation becomes instilled.
- Performance is constantly notified and frequently rewarded.
- Mutual support builds a feeling of mutual responsibility.
- Friendly rivalries flourish, as everyone competes for “high scores.”
- Fun is maximized, rewarding hard work.
Gamification becomes a self-perpetuating force when it works, driving reps back to their prospecting and sales closures. It stops being a novelty or a tool and becomes a culture.
Game Mechanics and Global Gamification Sales Revenue
- According to the Aberdeen Group, companies using game mechanics experienced an average annual net gain of 4.1% in revenue.
One little-discussed aspect of gameplay that can help generate revenue is rules adherence. All games have rules which must be followed and strategies that work better than others.
Gamified sales platforms allow reps to try different strategies and then see, in detail, how effective these methods are. There’s never any doubt about whether a rep is doing well; it’s all graphed out for each employee to read on their dashboard.
Managers, too, can also point at the metrics and KPIs that are either being achieved or not. Shortfalls in performance can more easily be tied back to what a rep has been doing. By having a huge volume of metrics and KPIs at their fingertips, managers can diagnose where any problems lie and intervene.
Data-driven strategy is far likelier to succeed than gut instinct, it appears.
- Fully engaged customers generate 37% more annual revenue in retail banking than disengaged customers.
Engagement extends from reps to customers. When platforms enable customers to check their own performance (at saving or maintaining good financial hygiene), they become more engaged. It becomes a routine to check balances daily and take steps to avert any cashflow problems.
Many apps are now leveraging gamification techniques to encourage sensible financial behavior, maximize savings, or improve credit ratings. Whereas once, monthly paper statements were the only regular indicators of fiscal health; it has become possible to check balances anywhere, at any time.
Sales are about building relationships, and Gamification leads to stronger relationships between brand and consumer, as well as highlighting the causal relationship between consumer action and outcome. To put it simply, customers learn that “if I do this, then this will happen,” and positive reinforcement takes over, causing them to seek out the reward of a healthy balance.
Once on a bank’s gamified savings or investment platform, habit breeds loyalty, and fewer customers jump ship to other banks.
- A fully engaged customer is equivalent to a 23% premium in profitability, contrasted with actively disengaged customers, who represent a 13% drop.
As well as building brand loyalty, gamification strategies automate many processes that would otherwise require a lot of time for human workers to achieve. This results in cost savings and greater profitability.
Metrics and data at scale allow marketers to reach more likely customers and sales teams can convert more of them because they have been pre-validated by automated processes, such as the “check your eligibility” tools that credit card companies and loan providers use.
These tools act almost as miniature games. A credit score health dial resembles the scoring mechanism of a game; why wouldn’t customers want to achieve a better score?
- Websites with interactive content convert up to six times better than those without interactivity.
This final statistic feels common sense. The more we engage with a brand, the more we feel invested in it. We’ve put in time and effort answering a quiz, offering feedback, completing a form, or watching a demonstration video, so we’re closer to converting than we’d imagine.
In part, this leverages the “sunk cost” phenomena – after a certain point, the more effort we’ve “sunk,” the greater the chances we’ll commit to a purchase, sign-up, or subscription.
Many studies have shown how interactive elements, which actively engage audiences, tend to result in a higher rate of conversion. A recent article in Forbes explained, “Marketers are facing headwinds as consumers demand more personalized and interactive experiences. If you’re not making your website interactive, you’re missing out on a lot of potentials.”
We are all game players in more and more environments. Gamification leads to happier sales reps and happier prospects alike.
What do these Statistics Tell us About Gamification?
Let’s re-examine what we’ve learned so far.
Gamification is a powerful strategy that you can use to motivate your sales team and increase user engagement. It helps them perform better, which in turn leads to improved conversion rates and increased revenue.
Gamification makes it easier for employees to focus on their work because they are engaging the part of their brain that produces a dopamine hit in response to effortful rewards. This means they’ll be more motivated and consistently for longer.
There are numerous different types of Gamification that you can use in your sales department.
The most common game mechanic is the point system, where employees get points for completing tasks and reaching milestones. Leaderboards are another popular way to motivate employees by allowing them to compare their performance against their peers.
Rewards and badges are also effective methods of encouraging employees to work harder by giving them tangible reminders of achievement.
Competitions between individuals and teams can keep workers engaged, but they should only be used sparingly because they can lead to negative attitudes or behavior if the consequences of winning are too enticing or of losing too frightening.
Nobody wants to recreate the sales office environment in David Mamet’s seminal film Glengarry Glen Ross, where the second prize is a set of steak knives, and the third prize is a green slip!
The Role of Gamification in Sales
Gamification can be used to motivate and engage employees in a variety of ways:
Through the setting of more realistic goals. These should be set within reach of a sales rep, at whatever experience level they have reached, yet at a stretch. It’s important to balance ambition with realistic achievement, or frustration or disillusionment set in.
Through inspiring team challenges. By setting up a competition between two teams or individuals within the same department or even across departments, you can leverage that vital aspect of Gamification: rivalry. Again, there’s a balance to be struck between friendly competition and dog-eat-dog rivalry. You want to err toward the former!
Through improved training and knowledge retention. Most good sales platforms allow in-house gamified training modules with badges, progress bars, scoring, and certification. A good sales gamification tool can help level up your newer employees and inculcate a culture of continual improvement.
Through improved prospecting, lead validation, and conversion. As sales reps have more performance data at their fingertips, they’ll find it easier to identify what works and what doesn’t. They’ll be encouraged to direct their energy in more promising directions and see their efforts appreciated and recognized in real-time by both peers and management.
Gamified software solutions help sales departments increase productivity, improve customer retention, and boost morale.
Are there any Downsides to Gamification in a Sales Context?
Implementing game mechanics in your sales team has few negative consequences.
It is, however, possible that it can be badly implemented, resulting in employees feeling manipulated or needing more control over their work environment. When implementing for the first time, it’s best to move gradually and not introduce too many new elements at once.
It’s also important not to go overboard. You don’t want constant notifications pinging onscreen at each moment. Celebrations and milestones should be notified at regular enough intervals to have an impact, but not so frequently that they become irritants or, worse still, background noise.
In conclusion, Gamification is a powerful tool that can be used to motivate and engage your sales team. It’s important to remember that Gamification doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive–you can start small and build from there.
The key is finding out what type of Gamification motivates your employees, then creating a gamified system that rewards them for doing those things.
12 Rules for Using Gamification in a Sales Department
Gamification is a powerful tool that can help sales departments achieve their goals. Well-designed Gamification motivates employees and increases productivity. By incorporating game elements into the sales process, businesses can create a fun and engaging environment that encourages healthy competition and rewards high-performing employees.
However, it’s important to approach Gamification strategically and thoughtfully.
Here are 12 rules for using Gamification in a sales environment:
1: Define clear goals
Before you start implementing Gamification, you need to define clear goals for what you want to achieve. This could be increasing sales revenue, improving customer satisfaction, or boosting employee engagement. Without clear goals, your gamification efforts will lack direction and focus.
2: Choose the right metrics.
Once you’ve defined your goals, you need to choose the right metrics to measure them. This could include things like sales volume, conversion rates, or customer retention. Ensure the engagement metrics you choose are relevant to your goals and that you can track them accurately.
3: Keep it simple.
When designing your gamification program, keep it straightforward. Make sure employees have enough rules and complicated scoring systems. The best gamification programs are easy to understand and intuitive to use.
4: Make it fun.
The key to successful Gamification is to ensure it’s fun. Use game elements like badges, points, and leaderboards to create a sense of competition and excitement. Make sure the rewards are meaningful and desirable and that employees feel like they’re working towards mutual goals whilst enjoying friendly rivalry.
5: Encourage collaboration.
While competition is important, remember to encourage collaboration as well. Create team-based challenges or allow employees to earn rewards for helping each other out. This will create a sense of camaraderie and teamwork that can boost morale and employee productivity.
6: Provide regular feedback.
One of the benefits of Gamification is that it allows for real-time feedback. Use this to your advantage by providing regular updates on progress and performance. This will keep employees engaged and motivated and help them identify areas for improvement.
7: Be transparent.
Make sure your gamification program is transparent and fair. Employees should understand how they’re being scored and what they need to do to earn rewards. Avoid playing favorites or creating a gamified system that’s biased in any way.
8: Use data to optimize.
As you implement your gamification program, use data to optimize it over time. Look for patterns or trends in employee performance and adjust the program accordingly. This will help you get the most out of your gamification efforts and ensure that they’re having the desired impact.
9: Make it accessible.
Your gamification program should be accessible to all employees, regardless of their role or location. Make sure everyone has a fair chance to participate and earn rewards and that the program is easy to access and use.
10: Don’t overdo it.
While Gamification can be a powerful tool, it’s important to do just what is necessary. More Gamification can be overwhelming and distracting and may decrease productivity. Use it judiciously and strategically, and make sure it’s aligned with your overall business goals.
11: Keep it fresh.
To keep employees engaged, it’s important to keep your gamification program fresh and interesting. Mix things up with new challenges or rewards, and be bold and experiment with different game elements. This will help prevent boredom and keep employees motivated over the long term.
12: Celebrate success
Finally, make sure to celebrate success. Recognize and reward employees who achieve their goals or perform exceptionally well. This will create a sense of accomplishment and encourage employees to continue striving for excellence.
Gamification can be a powerful tool for sales departments, but it’s important to approach it thoughtfully and strategically.
By following the above dozen rules, you can create a gamification program that motivates and engages employees and helps your business achieve its goals.
Sales Gamification – What Thought Leaders Have Said.
Don’t just take our word for it. Here are some sales leaders on how gamification strategies have worked for their teams:
“Gamification is 75% psychology and 25% technology” – Gabe Zichermann, Author.
It’s true. With Gamification, you’re using a sales rep’s psychology to encourage them toward greater success. The technology underlying gamification platforms merely enable the process.
“It’s not always competing to win, but sharing how you won.” – Daniel Debow, Salesforce SVP.
Mutual encouragement is one of the most overlooked aspects of Gamification. This is a shame since, if the popularity of multi-player games is anything to go by, humans love overcoming challenges with one another and contributing to team performance. Don’t neglect this aspect of your sales gamification strategy.
“Confidence and enthusiasm are the greatest sales producers in any kind of economy.” ― O.B Smith.
There’s nothing to beat real enthusiasm, backed up by the confidence of an employee who’s empowered to succeed. You’ll still need to step in when things aren’t going well; gamification trends are overwhelmingly encouraging, but it is not a magic bullet.
Ensure you involve training and mentorship alongside your gamification platform’s tech and gaming elements.
At Spinify, we’ve created a host of gamification tools to build your employees’ confidence and enthusiasm through friendly rivalry, self-improvement, and recognition.
Put those insights into practice.
Set your team up for success by improving their performance through gamification.
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