I want to start this blog with some testimonials by people working in large organizations and what they think about the title
“Gamification is not just a solution or game, it is a method of actively engaging employees to drive business transformation,” says Maggie Buggie, VP global head, digital sales and marketing, at Capgemini. “An increasingly engaged workforce can result in improved operational efficiencies, increased productivity and quality of service, increased customer satisfaction and retention, and increased revenue and profitability.”
Ken Krogue, president and co-founder of InsideSales.com, notes: “We have found real-time dashboards and statistics in the form of leaderboards will immediately boost sales significantly.
Understand the Sales Landscape: Why is Employee Engagement Necessary?
It is important to understand the sales landscape which will answer the question “Why is Employee Engagement in Sales Necessary?”
- Sales are a rollercoaster drive: One fine morning, you are sitting on the top of the world while the next day, you might be demotivated by a lost deal. Thus, sales are the best example of a rollercoaster drive. There are highs and lows. In the sales culture, it is important to keep the motivation levels of employees the same throughout – both in times of success and failure.
- High Employee Attrition: The attrition rate is very high in the sales department. Retaining employees is a challenging task. It’s conventional wisdom that the employee least engaged with his work is most likely to leave the organization. Sales people who face constant pressure to achieve the sales targets have a high probability of disengagement. Helping the sales people handle that pressure, thereby engaging them with their work can decrease the attrition rate.
- Sales people have to face the maximum objection handling: How do you feel when somebody ignores you? Don’t pay heed to what you are saying? Throw a volley of questions by stopping you in the middle to what you are saying and so on. Sales people become victims of all the above and the Pareto rule says they listen to “10-20” Yeses and “80-90” NOs from customers. There are high chances that an employee gets disengaged, thus leading to failure in achieving sales targets.
Apart from all these, research by Gartner found that just 29% of contact centre employees feel engaged at work, while 52% are unengaged and 19% feel disengaged; and according to the Contact Center Association, each disengaged employee costs their employers around 46% of their pay in lost productivity.
Gamification is the Key!
For organizations that are looking to drive employee engagement and support the sales people in an innovative way to keep them engaged, gamification is the best option to start with. Gamification uses game mechanics in non-game activities. The purpose of gamification is to achieve increased levels of employee engagement and behavioral change. It provides tailor-made learning and performance improvement solutions to the sales employees.
Broadly speaking, the benefits of gamification are:
- More Staff Engagement: With gamification in practice, sales people are deeply engaged, actively involved, and rewarded for their contributions. For example, in a game using a leaderboard, they are deeply involved in accomplishing their sales goals and can compare their results with those of their peers.
- Behavioral Change: Skills such as objection handling and closing techniques – these behavioral changes can be adopted quickly through gamification. Maninder Kapoor Puri, executive vice president – people supply chain and service excellence at Firstsource says “Practical objections and rebuttals, up-sell and cross-sell techniques can be gamified in a fun way, which can help the sales team feel more empowered and confident in converting every potential opportunity into a sale.”
- Quick Feedback Cycle: Compared to a real-world scenario, where the feedback cycles are too slow (sales feedback), gamification increases the velocity of feedback. It helps provide quick learning experiences for the sales force. Moreover, one of the major advantage of gamification is, it is a continuous learning process and not a sporadic one.
Some Points to Ponder!
There are some important points to keep in mind to reap more benefits from using gamification for sales employee engagement.
- Start with a simple gamification Not all are familiar with gamification, introducing a complex gamification disrupts the long term goals and rewards.
- Remember, not all players are the same. Challenges and rewards need to state the differences in their roles and function.
- Never commit a reward that cannot be kept. Wrong promises demotivate learners.
“Where games traditionally model the real world, organizations must now take the opportunity for their real world to emulate games,” said Mr. Burke, an analyst at Gartner. But, bottom-line is, no two organizations are going to use the same game mechanics for their sales force. It is important to consider the overall solution you are looking for using gamification.
What behavioral change among the sales people do you want to drive? Are these behaviors aligned with the organization’s sales strategy? A quick review of all these will help you achieve better employee engagement with gamification. Have anything to say? Please do share!