Sales Gamification & Social Selling: What Happened When We Combined Them

Sales Gamification & Social SellingSales gamification.

Social selling.

Each has become a buzzword. Each gets attention in publications, at conferences and by business leaders. But what happens when you combine the two, so that each becomes both? We at the Sales Benchmark Index worked with one of our clients to find out.

The competition:

We started by running a contest with our client, which we called “The Social Game” and ran through Compete. Five thousand dollars cash would go to the rep with the most points at the end of one month. Those points could be earned from four behaviors:

1. Daily knowledge test

      • Each member of the leadership team came up with true/false questions about social selling. These questions were dripped out to the sales team, one per day. Any team member who got a question correct earned a point. Questions included things like: “True or False? If I want to connect to X person (who fits the profile of our ideal buyer) on LinkedIn, I should reach out to them via email.” Then a tip or call to action would always follow the question, such as: “The best way to connect with X person is to…”

2. Quality profiles

      • SBI worked with our client to research online how to optimize a social profile. As a result, we collaborated on a best practice profile checklist based on what would resonate with and attract the client’s buyers. Each checklist item – which might range from having a clear, professional headshot, to sharing the value you added in previous roles – was worth one point. Participants could get 30+ points in this category. On LinkedIn, our client wanted reps to look like the type of people target accounts want to talk to  – not the kind looking for a job.
3. Quality and quantity of network
      • Sales reps also got points for connecting with people who fit the profile of our client’s ideal buyer. They earned 2 points per connection if they were at the manager level  and 3 points per connection if they were an individual contributor. The use of LinkedIn tags helped us inventory the number of connections by buying persona and rate the quality of the client’s network.
4. New appointments
      • Finally, each sales person got 30 points for each new appointment generated. The appointment had to take place for the sales person to earn the points. The appointment also had to take place with a potential buyer of the client’s services and could not include a current customer or current prospect.

How it worked out:

We ran the contest for a second month. Between the two competitions, we saw these results for our client:

  • Participation:
    • Around half of the team generated at least one new appointment.
    • The entire team participated in growing their networks.
  • Quality Profiles:
    • About 75% of the team optimized their profiles to the point where we would consider them high quality.
  • Network Growth:
    • The team grew its network almost 50%, from 5,900 to over 8,700 qualified connections.
  • Appointments:
    • The team generated zero new client appointments in the 60 days prior to the gamification launch and 29 appointments in the first 60 days after the launch. One of those appointments turned into a deal for our client that was valued at over $100K.

Why it worked out:

Most of the client’s team is in selling mode every day. They’re always thinking of what they need to do to close sales in the current quarter. This is great for short-term revenue, but can slow long-term growth.  Sales needs to balance short-term closing with long-term prospecting.  The best way to generate pipeline with today’s busy buyer is through social selling.

When we surrounded the client team with sales gamification, it got them to focus more regularly on prospecting-focused questions, like: When I went to that meeting, did I connect with the people I met? Am I constantly monitoring my network?

So far, gamification has driven this short-term awareness around building – and leveraging – network connections. Now it’s time to see if it can turn into a long-term thing. The client was so happy with the early success, they plan to host the same contest monthly throughout all of 2014. They expect to triple the number of appointments generated over 2013  as a result of social selling + gamification. In fact, the client even developed higher stretch sales targets because they’ll have gamification to help them hit it.

Get the full story, along with tips on how you can use sales gamification to motivate social selling, in LevelEleven’s new eBook! 


Aaron Bartels is partner and co-founder at Sales Benchmark Index.

Sales Gamification & Social Selling: What Happened When We Combined Them
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Sales Gamification & Social Selling: What Happened When We Combined Them
Sales gamification and social selling are trendy, but can they create actual business results? Yes. And here's a story that proves it.
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