Sales competitions have been a staple of sales team motivation for decades. With the advent of CRMs (such as Salesforce) and computer tracking programs, managers gained the ability to track (and tie rewards) to a whole range of actions. These metrics include the amount of time it takes a salesperson to follow up with a new lead (especially important for inbound teams), how many meetings are being scheduled each week, or how close a salesperson is to meeting their quota.
Most sales competitions are still based around the concept of a leaderboard, tied to certain performance indicators (or KPIs). The recent rise of gamification has expanded the scope and effectiveness of sales competitions, allowing managers to provide new, variable incentives and real-time feedback. Some platforms plug directly into company’s existing CRM programs (and can quiz team members on client details), while others exist as flexible, web-based apps that can be linked to metrics by a custom API.
Understanding the common features of sales contest platforms, and their benefits, can help you decide on which solution is right for you.
CRM software is one of the most widespread business technologies. Almost every medium-to-large sales team employs some form of CRM, from comprehensive tools such as Salesforce’s Sales Cloud, to smaller, targeted applications like SugarCRM.
If your sales team uses a CRM program (and it’s likely you do), you may want a sales competition platform that can integrate directly with that program. Built-in integration allows you to harness the data from your CRM immediately, without having to construct an API or make your sales team input data twice.
Instead, the sales competition software can tap directly into the CRM in order to determine which salespeople are closing the most leads, their average time to move a prospect through the funnel, and other relevant metrics. It can then use this data to create real-time leaderboards, assign points, and reward users.
Leaderboards are one of the most basic elements of gamification, and can help motivate naturally competitive people. Since most individuals on a sales team fall into this category, leaderboards are a great fit for such programs.
Almost any task inside the sales process can be ranked using a leaderboard. This could be anything from the amount of calls made to the completeness of a salesperson’s CRM contact records. Many solutions, whether they integrate into a CRM or use a custom API, can update in real-time, allowing your team to monitor their progress and success throughout the day. Advanced solutions can even divide your team up into multiple leaderboards, so that top performers compete amongst themselves, and lower ranked team members don’t become discouraged.
Many gamification platforms feature impressive analytics reports that can help tailor incentives for the best results, and better motivate salespeople. These analytics functions are often on-par with, or slightly above, similar reporting tools found in most CRM programs. In fact, because sales competition software can often integrate with CRMs, the reports are able to incorporate this data as well.
One of the areas where analytics come in particularly useful is when measuring the effectiveness of different incentives. Many programs allow you to assign points or badges to salespeople for successfully completing small tasks. These points can then be redeemed for real-world rewards, such as gift cards, or prizes. Because of the inherent flexibility in digital systems, such rewards can be changed every quarter, month, or even week. Once you’ve completed a cycle with a certain set of rewards, you can change them and measure their effectiveness compared to the last incentives. This allows you to tailor specific rewards to certain tasks and even team members.
Microsoft was holding a Sales Strategy Summit for the senior managers from its consulting business. The event was designed to promote team bonding, introduce new product changes, and review financial performance from the past year. In order to better engage attendees, Microsoft decided to gamify the event, and enlisted the services of GamEffective.
GamEffective decided to create a race-car simulation game for each table of sales execs, built around answering questions about the day’s presentations and discussions. As the game progressed, engagement levels hit 100%, with ever manager helping to move their team along. Gabriel Morgan, Microsoft’s Strategic Planning Director, later told GamEffective that “the user statistics were amazing.”