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5 Reasons 2020 Made Gamification a Top Priority For Global Sales Teams

Nicholas Bloom from Stanford recently stated that a staggering 42 percent of the U.S. labor force is now working from home full-time. And all signs suggest the current situation will permanently change the way we work, and that the new normal will include a high percentage of remote workers.

According to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll for Zapier, 72 percent of workers say they're not checking in any more than usual with their team and 74 percent don't feel pressure to be more productive.

Though this might sound like a good thing, it’s actually a situation that should strike terror in any sales leader's heart. Now more than ever, prospecting and building pipeline is key to powering through 2020. If you are not feeling the heartbeat of the sales floor, or not learning the latest techniques and ideas deployed by your colleagues, you are doomed to repeat their mistakes at a slower phase than usual. 

Gamification techniques will help you recreate the buzz of the sales floor even if your team is working from home. Miss walking up to the whiteboard and jotting down yet another win, just to show how well you are performing against the rest of the team? Or the thrill of hitting the sales gong for the whole office to hear? Games have taught us about the power of leaderboards, how important it is to celebrate milestone achievements, and why personalization in the digital world through broadcasted YouTube videos or GIFs help fill this void. 

Traveling abroad during a pandemic. Forget it!

One of the things I really miss from the pre-Covid era is how easy it was to jump on a late night flight from New York, to wake up and go to work in Oslo, Norway, the next morning. Heck, if I wanted to, I could fly directly to our Singapore office! With travel restrictions, red-zones, visa problems, and quarantine being the new normal, we no longer get to meet our colleagues in person. Every year, we always had a full company retreat during both summer and winter. This summer, we’d rented a full resort in Marrakech, Morocco. No virtual event could replace the void of missing out on this epic trip, and meeting the people behind the Slack handles.

For inspiration in these times, we looked to the world of gaming, an industry that has never cared about passports and border control. So what measures could we adopt to replicate their ‘no-borders’ approach?

Working together across the physical silos of the countries we live in seemed vital for forging new bonds and sparking creative ideas. We decided to double down on company-wide competitions. We deployed a point-based competition across the various roles of our company(CSM reps gained points differently than our sales reps or SDRs). Then we mixed people from different locations into ‘pods’(teams), so that they had to work together to maximize their probability of winning. The result was fantastic, sparking new bonds and jolting energy throughout the organization. It was a topic that many employees marked as a positive during their quarterly reviews.

Data insights more important than ever - CRM adoption is the key

A new world brings new ways of working together. And also new ways of working with our customers. Old stats are void, new metrics come to life. And now more than ever, we rely on fresh insights from data added to the central data hub, the CRM. A new world warrants a completely new way of working with sales, implementing a fresh methodology that requires new boxes to be checked and new fields to be filled.

Unfortunately, all the investment and efforts put in place are worthless unless your revenue team adopts these measures and does the required work. Instead of using the stick to ensure adoption, Gamification tells a story of a delicious carrot. 

Gamification software grants the ability to pick up on activity done within a CRM in real-time. Checking that new box or filling out that new field could very well be two such activities. You can add incentives like feed posts displaying whenever somebody completes one of these tasks, letting them receive praise, likes and comments from their managers and colleagues for the whole team to see. Or give them virtual coins that they can exchange for swag or other gifts in your own web shop. Fire up their competitive spirit by running competitions where the activities reward points and level-up as they consistently keep adopting the new methodology. Gamification is particularly powerful in sparking CRM adoption and accountability throughout an organization. 

If you still feel the stick is more efficient, you could naturally create a‘reverse leaderboard’, where the team members not adopting the new methodology are on the top—a‘wall of shame’ if you like. I have to admit that we do this ourselves for any major no-no’s worthy of shaming, like stale opportunities or open opportunities with a close date set in the past.

Remote onboarding

I had the pleasure of witnessing the very last physical onboarding bootcamps at Zoom Video Communication HQ in San Francisco, before the pandemic hit. This highly entertaining event included a team competition where the participants raced cars in the corridors through a Zoom enabled smartphone duck-taped to the front. Undoubtedly, this created some strong bonds and memories that will last forever.

Today, we are forced to welcome our new colleagues through(ironically) Zoom, without getting the face-to-face chat that comes during in-person bootcamps. However, nobody understands the importance of flawless onboarding better than the gaming industry.

So what can we learn and adopt when onboarding remote employees?

We’ve had the good fortune of welcoming several new colleagues in 2020. When we realized that we would be onboarding these new faces remotely, we doubled down on resources available for our new‘screeners’ to indulge in, and coupled this with a step-by-step plan for their first weeks. They had targets, achieved certifications based on skills developed during their virtual bootcamp, and received public praise for their efforts. A carefully curated guided process is more important now than ever before. However, if you have the chance, onboarding multiple people simultaneously in‘classes’ gives a sense of team spirit, helping these new members feel a part of something bigger than themselves. This is also why we scheduled one-to-one Zoom calls with management and other colleagues, to achieve a better understanding of the actual person behind the Slack handle.

Global recession

It’s been more than a decade since the last recession following the financial crisis. The pandemic changed the rules of the global game. In 2020, giants from hospitality companies, airlines, retail chains, travel agencies, and nations that rely heavily on tourism are struggling to make ends meet. These players are also customers of other companies so it affects a much larger ecosystem.

What this means for companies is an urgent need to build a new pipeline. Now more than ever, we need to buckle down and do the hard work of prospecting the companies that benefit from your service or product—and crucially those companies that have the ability to invest. This is relentless work that requires motivated employees, and clever management tactics to keep their focus on this key activity. 

Gamification is more than badges and levels. Competitions, blitzes and leaderboards are all great ways to shine a spotlight on the key activity of pipeline generation. Fire up your team’s inherent competitive spirit and recognize your employees for their hard work, while showing the whole company that it pays off and leads to new client meetings and pipeline.

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