Salespeople continuously have the pressure on, with the responsibility to spearhead the company growth and reach their targets every month and every quarter. To do so, they must be super focused on their prospects and clients at all times.
As a result, getting them engaged and excited about training can be a challenge.
But it doesn’t need to be.
You can power up your sales training and take it to the next level by adding the concept of gamification to your sales training programs.
Today I’m going to show you how!
WHAT IS GAMIFICATION?
Gamification takes game-like features such as points, levels and rewards and uses them in non-game based situations (like a sales or leadership training for example).
The goal is to stimulate behavioral change and to promote motivation and engagement in learning.
Gamification is not a new concept.
Even Mary Poppins knew about the power of gamification when she said:
“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and - SNAP - the job's a game.” - Mary Poppins 1964!
More recently, it was conceived as a marketing tool to retain customers and increase loyalty.
Starbucks introduced the My Starbucks Reward program to increase customer engagement and ensure repeat business. Customers collect stars, and the more they have, the more premium and exclusive rewards they get.
The huge growth in smartphone and mobile device usage has created a vast base for the gamification market. A study in 2020 found that the global gamification market was valued at USD 10.19 million in 2020 and expected to reach USD 38.42 million by 2026.
It’s time to get on board!
GAMIFICATION vs GAME-BASED LEARNING
Before we move on, let’s clear one thing up.
Gamification shouldn’t be confused with game-based learning, as they are quite different concepts.
|Gamification in Sales Training||Game-Based Learning in Sales Training|
|Applies game-like features such as points, badges and leaderboards to sales training platforms||Users play games intending to learn a new skill or gain new knowledge.|
We’ll cover game-based learning in a separate blog in the future. For the remainder of this post we’ll focus on gamification.
Let’s kick off by first looking at HOW and WHY gamification can benefit your sales training.
THE BENEFITS OF GAMIFICATION
Time to shine a light on 3 benefits of gamification.
Motivation + Engagement
As we’ll discover later on, game-like features such as badges and points enable trainees to see immediate progress and give them goals to aim for. The combination of strong motivation and high task engagement facilitate a successful learning experience
Gamification provides the component of fun that helps in transforming the trainee’s attitudes towards learning. Introducing the element of fun into the learning process helps to create relaxation and motivation.
And the more relaxed your trainees are, the easier they will grasp concepts and absorb new knowledge throughout their learning journey.
Learn Through Mistakes
In the virtual world of gamification, failure does not have the same negative connotations as in the real world.
Consequently, the failure or death of an avatar character is a chance to contemplate, learn from mistakes, and restart again as the concept of failure is fragmented to small failed attempts
So, now that we know the benefits, let’s explore some of the ways that gamification can be incorporated into your sales and leadership training programs.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT GAMIFICATION
There are various ways that gamification can be leveraged as a sales training tool to help your sales teams perform better.
Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling...
Quests & Challenges
These can provide opportunities to develop teamwork and work cooperatively, or employees can take on challenges independently where their achievements add up for the group.
Quests and challenges give trainees a sense of direction or purpose in a gamified environment.
Perhaps you have a product launch coming up. Instead of giving your sales teams brochures and PDFs to wade through, why not give them a set of challenges and quests to undertake where they can gain knowledge and have fun at the same time.
Giving scores on quizzes also allows managers to see who has the best grasp of the new content, and who needs follow up training and reinforcement sessions.
Badges have been collected since ancient times. Just as Greek and Roman pilgrims used to wear badges to show where they had been, so too Dave from Sales has a badge to show he completed the latest “sales mastery” module!
Badges have been integral to the Boy Scout Movement since its inception in 1908 by Robert Baden-Powell
Employees who earn badges feel inner satisfaction as their status is announced publicly in the gamified environment. Badges enhance qualities such as self-competence and self-efficacy.
Not only will badges represent the learners’ achievement, but also points and levels are important signs of their progress.
Points & Levels
Similar to badges, points and levels are used to show the progress of employees and can be used by managers to identify who is doing the most.
We enjoy seeing real-time feedback and progress, something that we don’t always get in real-life.
In some gamified environments, gaining a certain number of points or “levelling up” can open up new challenges, or your avatar can become bigger and stronger equipped with a superhero outfit!
This is just another small way that allows trainees to “show off” their accomplishments.
Not everyone in an organization loves competition, so choosing to display leaderboards has to be done with some careful consideration.
One option is to display the top 3 performers, thereby highlighting their achievements without demoralizing the lower performers who may just give up.
Create Competition + Camaraderie
A little bit of healthy competition never hurt anyone, right?!
While not all employees in an organization may be super competitive, the likelihood is that your sales team will be among the most competitive out there!
Cast your mind back to your school days and you may remember being placed into “houses”.
It’s also commonplace to have team competitions in organizations whether it be based on sales or another key metric.
This same principle can be applied to sales training. Divide your salespeople into teams and set them some competitions using the gamification system you have in place.
Another way is to have employees compete between themselves. Challenges can be created based on badges earned, points, consecutive days of learning etc…
Perhaps you go old-school and have a leaderboard on display!
Whether you implement Inter or Intra-Team competitions, make use of points and levels, or choose to display a Leaderboard, an extra kick to the overall engagement and motivation can be to give away small rewards to the participants as they achieve certain milestones and results.
These rewards do not have to be costly, they can just take the form of vouchers to the local coffee shop for individuals, or a dinner or outing trip for the winning Team in case of a company-wide competition.
These small rewards not only give an extra hint of motivation, they also contribute to the overall Team spirit and building cohesion within the company.
CISCO’S GAMIFICATION PROGRAM
Not so long ago, Cisco had a huge social media training program consisting of 46 courses, which in their own words left staff feeling “overwhelmed” and not knowing where to begin.
By incorporating gamification into their social media training, Cisco encouraged their employees to become masters of social media.
Cisco adopted gamification by adding progression levels to their training program: specialist, strategist and master. Each level required employees to show increasing levels of skill.
|Specialist||required to take 15 courses|
|Strategist||take an additional 13 courses and author a blog post|
|Master||complete another 10 courses and create a case study illustrating an integrated social media initiative or create a social media strategy.|
What else did Cisco add?
- Mission Console: where employees can see how to win their next badge.
- Notifications: pop-ups on news feeds when badges or new levels are achieved
- Social media sharing: employees can share their achievements on social media
Hopefully, you have now a clear vision of what gamification is and gained some ideas on how to leverage it to make your sales and leadership training programs more motivating and engaging.
Our final tip here will be the necessity to involve Senior Management of the company from the start, so all the Teams are fully aware that even though the training programs use gamification, attending and completing them with diligence is of critical importance for employees development and for the long-term vision of the company.
The more motivated and engaged your teams are with training, the more they can learn and develop - the end result? More sales, stronger performance and higher revenue!
Now is the time to harness the power of gamification and get the ball (or dice!) rolling!