From fitness apps, loyalty programs, even LinkedIn and Reddit – gamification is everywhere! Incorporating game-like elements into non-gaming situations has become part of our daily lives, and with good reason. Gamification sparks people’s desire to meet the specified goals and is scientifically proven to improve performance and engagement.
It’s easy to get caught up in the monotony of everyday work tasks...
Re-energize your sales team and generate excitement about pipeline activities with these tried-and-tested sales gamification ideas. Watch your team’s motivation skyrocket as they race to outperform sales goals!
In this article, you’ll learn the benefits and psychology behind sales gamification, and some ready-to-use gamification examples you can implement into your organization to achieve sales success!
But first, let’s go back to basics and start by understanding what exactly sales gamification is and why it works.
What is Sales Gamification?
Gamification involves using game-like techniques – such as competitions, leaderboards, points, badges, and instant notifications – to positively reinforce behavior in typically nongame circumstances. The basic gamification formula is based on providing real-time feedback to recognize and reward success.
In a sales environment, these kinds of concepts are the key to engaging and igniting your reps’ competitive nature, and accelerating your team’s sales performance! Sales gamification tools are a welcome change of pace amongst the sometimes tedious nature of cold calls, pitches, follow-ups, and chasing potential leads.
Gamification Psychology: Why does sales gamification work?
Sales gamification psychology is rooted in a principle called operant conditioning. The concept involves using learned associations to determine the likelihood of a behavior occurring. Simply put, people are more likely to repeat behaviors that yield positive reinforcement – and avoid those that result in negative consequences. Such is that when you reward your sales reps for performing tasks that contribute to your organization’s success, they’re more likely to repeat them.
Autonomy, mastery, empowerment, and social influence are powerful currencies – and sales gamification activates all of these. Our brains are hardwired to crave the ‘reward chemicals’ that we release when we succeed. Serotonin – known as the ‘happy chemical’ – is one of these mood-regulating chemicals that’s released when we feel proud or important. Using instant notifications and gamification elements like badges and points can trigger the release of serotonin, boosting employees’ moods and motivation – and ultimately, their performance.
"Friendly competitions are a great way to drive sales teams to reach the next level."
Research shows that sales gamification provides a sense of belonging, makes employees feel more productive at work, and improves job satisfaction. Sales reps who work in gamified environments finish their tasks more quickly and feel happier at work. Jens Oberbeck, VP of Sales at Pipedrive, nods to the impact of gamification as he notes, "Sales are usually considered serious business, but highly motivated sales teams with unbreakable team bonds also tend to have fun at work. Friendly competitions are a great way to drive sales teams to reach the next level." With endorsements like that, the positive impact of adding these gamification ideas to your management toolbox is hard to ignore.
5 Best Benefits of Sales Gamification
1. Improved Motivation
Salespeople are competitive by nature – it’s just about pinpointing what motivates them. Sales gamification is extremely effective because it taps into some of our most primal instincts and desires like community, status, competition, feedback, and rewards – in a fun and rewarding way. By targeting these basic needs, gamification is the magnet that keeps people engaged as they try to level up and receive recognition or rewards for their achievements.
2. Improved Collaboration
Social influence is a powerful motivator in gamified environments, and your high-performers will love sharing their knowledge and expertise! Contests ignite a friendly sense of competition amongst your team, while instant notifications are a fantastic way to get everybody involved – to celebrate each other’s wins or drive them to up their game and go for that top spot. Salespeople love to be the best at what they do – and revel in the sense of pride and praise they receive when the whole team joins in on celebrating their success.
3. Instant Feedback
With gamification, employees don’t have to wait for one-on-ones to find out how they’re performing. Feedback is immediate and consistent – so they always know where they stand and can act accordingly. Instant notifications, for example, have proven particularly effective in driving activity-based performance by giving immediate recognition whenever someone books a meeting, saves a customer from churning, makes an upsell, closes a sale, meets a goal, or achieves some other small win.
4. Save Time
Most sales gamification tools make it easy to automate your incentive programs because they continuously track progress and send out notifications. Your days of manually tracking sales contests will be a thing of the past!
5. Better Performance
Often, it isn’t the prize that motivates sales reps, it’s their innate desire to see how they stack up against their peers and wanting to see their name at the top of the leaderboard. Whether it’s driven by extrinsic or intrinsic motivation, positive reinforcement from gamification techniques leads to a greater sense of belonging, improved engagement, and in turn, improved sales performance.
🤩 Like the blog so far? Then you’ll love our FREE guide where we take a deep dive into what motivates sales reps and the science behind sales gamification!
6 Sales Gamification Ideas
Employees are motivated in different ways – and this doesn’t always involve prizes. Some of your sales reps will be content with just knowing that they’re doing a good job. Others thrive on recognition from their peers. Using a variety of the following six sales gamification ideas will help you craft a gamification strategy that will motivate everyone on your team and drive the results you want.
The most common form of gamification, sales contests are a fun and engaging way to boost morale and encourage participation from all team members – and not just reward your top performers. Have you ever run a sales contest that didn’t achieve the results you were hoping for? This happens more often than you would expect. Consider building sales contests around top-of-funnel activity or metrics other than ‘highest revenue’. This way, you avoid alienating new and middle-performing sales reps who stop trying as they feel like they have no chance of winning.
For more information, check out our guide on creating engaging and fun contests.
Contests like the one above where team members are competing to create the most leads, reward hard work, and celebrate quick wins. This can be just the motivation underperforming reps need to outperform targets – and win. They can also prompt your top performers – who might have been relying on a strong pipeline – to go back to basics.
👀 Looking for contest inspiration?
Here are 4 sports-themed contests to engage your sales team.
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Leaderboards are an excellent next step in gamification because they’re easy to implement and people immediately understand them. As a sales gamification tool, leaderboards work perfectly alongside contests! Run a sales competition based on the KPI you want to achieve and display the leaders on a podium. Make sure to display your leaderboards where everyone can see them – flat-screen TVs around the office are ideal.
See how Danish fashion giant, Trendday, increased transparency and boosted staff motivation by displaying data dashboards on TVs in the office.
Don’t limit your metrics to revenue-based goals. Use leaderboards to boost enthusiasm around tiresome top-of-funnel activities, like the number of outbound calls made or emails sent. Take a look at the following leaderboard example where teams are competing to achieve the highest value of sales across countries. When agents can see their progress – and how close they are to the frontrunner – they will be even more motivated to perform and secure that top spot.
Like contests, points are an excellent way to encourage top-of-funnel activities. To get the most out of a points system, make sure they encourage desirable activities – not just keep score. Awarding points proportionally for sales tasks such as making a call, booking a demo, moving a prospect through a new stage of the pipeline, or closing a deal encourages sales reps to engage in these activities – which will pay off later!
Unsure what other tasks you can track and reward? Get inspired by this list of 21 sales KPIs every sales manager should be tracking (with examples!). Implementing a system where points can be exchanged for rewards means your agents will be motivated to perform. You are only limited by your imagination with this method!
Here’s your chance to use a little gamification psychology. People want what they can’t have and they love recognition! Badges tap into both of these core drives. To be effective, only award badges in recognition of mastery or progress. Think of these as the adult version of scouting badges, and award them accordingly.
This example uses Plecto’s gamification software to display a star badge for any team member who reaches their monthly meetings target, a dollar icon when a rep hits their value of won deals target, and a champions cup badge for any rep who hits their performance agreement goal.
For 3 top tips check out our article on using badges to reward individual or team achievements.
5. Instant Notifications
This is one of the best ways to create excitement throughout the workday! Give immediate kudos by displaying instant notifications on your reps’ computers whenever someone reaches a milestone, registers activity in the CRM, or completes a high-yield sales activity. Be careful not to set too many notifications – too many will ruin their impact and they’ll fade into the background.
To keep your outbound reps engaged, choose sales gamification software, like Plecto, which allows you to send notifications to their smartphones. Who isn’t excited to receive some recognition for their efforts – especially in the form of an alert that everyone in your team receives, too, so you can celebrate achievements together!
Less intense than sales contests, challenges are a fun way to drive immediate action. Keep it small and simple. Is energy lagging on a Thursday? Announce a flash challenge – for example, whoever makes the most outbound calls or sends the most emails by the end of the day gets Friday afternoon off. Are demos down? Announce a weekly challenge where any rep who books a certain amount of demos in a day wins a prize – allow multiple wins by the same rep and watch their numbers soar!
7 Fun and Unexpected Sales Gamification Prizes
Unlike traditional quarterly sales incentives, gamification prizes don’t have to be grand – in fact, they don’t even have to be material. Gamification is supposed to be fun, so let the prizes reflect that.
Here are seven unexpected prizes to keep your sales gamification engaging:
1 – Permission to leave early or come in late
This minimal-cost incentive is a big reward for the recipient. Make it a half-day Friday or a few hours each day for a week!
2 – A reserved parking space
Invest in a “Winners-Only” sign, and award this prize weekly or monthly.
3 – Workday cinema tickets
Treat the winner and a guest to a matinee – and some time off to enjoy it.
4 – Lottery tickets
This low-cost incentive is exciting and has the potential for a big payday!
5 – In-office massages
Book an on-site masseuse and treat multiple winners to a relaxing massage.
6 – Paid lunch in the cafeteria or a gift card to a local takeaway
Who doesn’t enjoy a free lunch?
7 – Boss fetches first coffee of the day for a week
Making the boss do something “unboss-like” always builds camaraderie. Ham it up and let everyone have some fun at your expense!
Try gamification out for yourself with Plecto!
If you’re still curious about sales gamification, try Plecto’s gamification software! Our FREE 14-day trial is a low-risk way to test the waters. You’ll be up and running in no time with leaderboards, instant notifications, points, badges, and more. Click below to start your trial and outperform today!