How Gamification Simplifies Sales Management

Although by definition sales management sounds simple, it is anything but that...


CMO - February 13, 2017

Over the years, sales managers have tried numerous solutions to incentivize performance… however, the traditional solutions are slow, cumbersome, and difficult to measure properly. Here’s how gamification provides a solution.

According to Pipedrive, “Sales management is the process of developing a sales force, coordinating sales operations, and implementing sales techniques that allow a business to consistently hit, and even surpass, its sales targets.”

While this definition sounds fairly straightforward, it is anything but. Over the years, sales managers have tried numerous solutions to incentive performance… however, the traditional solutions are slow, cumbersome, and difficult to measure properly. In this article, we take a look at how gamification provides a solution.

Two important management questions

Every manager wants employees that are focused, hard working and motivated. When employees are engaged, they are happier and more productive, which results in happier customers and ultimately higher revenues. It seems simple… so why is it such a challenge?

To answer this question, we first have to look at two things:

  1. What is management, exactly?
  2. Why are current sales management practices not effective?

The first question is easy to answer. Management is directing others to achieve the organizational goals of the company. In order to manage, you need to set clearly defined objectives and then motivate people to achieve the goals set for them. If you can do this, you are a good manager. However, there’s more that goes into this. You need to keep your people happy, show them their progress, coach them, and reward performance. Still, this management part, in theory, is not so difficult.

The second question, of course, is a bit harder to answer. If a manager’s job is to set targets, measure progress on those targets and motivate employees to achieve them, then where is the disconnect? Why are turnover rates so high? Why do so many salespeople leave their employers, often even for lower salaries? Why are good people becoming frustrated and leaving?

The problem is not with the managers with themselves, or with the people they manage. Instead, the problem is with failing management practices. For decades, the inability to properly focus on the true underlying goal and drive results has been destroying engagement and motivation. Most traditional incentives programs are time consuming and difficult to manage properly, especially across separated offices.

Simplifying sales management

If you want focused, engaged and motivated employees, here is the success formula:

  1. Clearly define the goals (KPIs or other metrics)
  2. Measure progress toward those goals
  3. Recognize achievements when the goal is reached
  4. Provide meaningful rewards for achieving the goal

Managers must tell their employees specifically what needs done. Tell them how their progress will be measured (ideally in real-time). Recognize when they complete the task (often just a simple “thank you” or “good job” will be more than enough).

And lastly, whenever possible, provide some meaningful reward for achieving the goal (such as a bottle of wine or something for achieving quota). The meaningful reward doesn’t have to be big! It can be a box of chocolates, some flexi-time off, anything at all, really. In fact, we’ve put together a list of 100 inexpensive ideas to motivate sales teams, which you can download from our sales library.

If you can continuously accomplish these 4 things, you will reduce turnover, improve cohesion and create a winning sales culture that people want to be a part of. But, in order to do them properly, it’s easiest with a purpose-built solution.

How gamification simplifies sales management

So if sales management should be pretty straightforward and simple, where’s the disconnect? Why aren’t employees more engaged?

In today’s hectic and fragmented workplace, the outdated motivational techniques just don’t drive results. Managers are busier than ever before and most training and incentive programs, such as SPIFFs, sales contests, and even simple leaderboards are time consuming and can be expensive and difficult to measure properly.

This leaves both employees and managers in a somewhat depressing downward spiral as motivation sags, they try again to boost it with outdated techniques, and it just doesn’t work. Then, they decide it’s just not worth the time and effort, so they stop running them. Shortly after, company culture begins to crumble and what used to be a fun sales environment begins to fall apart.

Instead, using a simple, effective gamification solution can greatly improve a manager’s ability to quickly define targets, visualize data, measure performance, run contests, recognize achievements and celebrate appropriately. Motivating people to achieve or surpass their goals shouldn’t be exhausting. It should be quick, simple and effective.

Proper management is not about micro-managing to ensure that every little detail is done the way you think it should be; it’s about empowering your people to get the job done with the right tools and with the right incentives. If you make the goals clear and you provide meaningful incentives, people will get stuff done… and as a result, you’ll build strong company culture and cohesion along the way.

People should be intrinsically motivated. They should be driven to perform because they believe inwardly in their sense of purpose and the impact they are making. Gamification is just one simple solution that makes it simple and easy to set goals, measure progress, recognize performance and provide meaningful incentive.

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