In the midst of what many have dubbed the “Great Resignation,” employee satisfaction is now a top priority. The U.S Department of Labor found 11.5 millions workers quit their jobs during the months of April, May, and June 2021. 

The answer behind this mass exodus isn’t a simple one, as employees all have different reasons for leaving—from general burnout to pandemic-related issues. Regardless of motive, this data presents an alarming trend of disruption that begins and ends with the need for keeping employees happy and feeling appreciated. 

Sales teams enter the conversation with their own unique set of challenges. An unpredictable landscape makes the concept of consistent satisfaction seem like an impossible task for leadership. 

So how do sales leaders ensure their employees are happy in their roles? Consider gamification.

Sales gamification—which we define as the application of competition and leaderboards to motivate sales behaviors—has evolved beyond just a trendy buzzword. 

How Gamification Can Work

Plenty of skeptics have voiced their opinions on gamifying the workplace. Concerns that the methods are limited and contribute to a transactional mindset have their place, but only when leadership becomes too focused on slapping accolades and rewards on every little project. 

In those instances, both the bigger picture and the full potential of gamification are lost. 

The key to successful sales gamification is understanding when and how to apply it so sales teams focus on meaningful behaviors that address key business objectives. 

Think of the oldest sales management trick in the book: the sales contest. That’s very close to what people would label as gamification, especially today when contests can be managed in real time right within a company’s CRM system using a solution like LevelEleven.

Still not sold on the idea? Consider the following four benefits you can use gamification to produce.

1. Amp up competition

benefits of gamification - amp up competition

Salespeople are competitive by nature. Running contests via gamification apps—using features like LevelEleven’s Competitions—allows sales managers to tap into their reps’ ambitious side. 

In most cases, it isn’t the contest prize that encourages sales reps to succeed; they’re fueled by the competition itself and an opportunity to see how they stack up against their peers in an objective way.

Transparency is key in this instance, which is why leaderboards are a vital component of gamification. LevelEleven focuses on this aspect of motivation with real-time digital leaderboards. Reps will always know where they stand all the while wanting to see their name and face at the top. 

But, as mentioned, it’s vital to make sure reps understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. Connecting goals to the bigger picture with contests is how to ensure the competition stays healthy. Reps will know the purpose behind their journey to the top and they’ll have to focus on the right way to get there. 

When an emphasis is placed on the results of a behavior rather than the behavior itself, reps are able to understand what really drives their work. Adding competition into the mix will make room for them to analyze their tactics to better their results.

Using healthy competition in this way connects reps to their work. It breathes new life into their roles and gives them a powerful sense of ownership, motivating them to not only do better, but to also perhaps want to stick around if they have one foot out of the door. 

The true benefit of competition isn’t winning; it’s improved performance and gaining a sense of pride in one’s work. 

2. Encourage collaboration

benefits of gamification - encourage collaboration

The sales landscape has changed. More sales reps work remotely than ever before, leaving them devoid of collaborative company spirit. 

A survey from LinkedIn revealed that 74% of survey participants indicated that time spent at home—either during remote work or mandated shut-downs—caused them to rethink their current work situation. 

It has never been uncommon for reps to work out of different locations, which can make it difficult to form strong employee connections. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many are also trying to navigate team-building among employees who have never actually met each other. 

By running an integrated sales contest, reps who work in field sales offices (or anywhere, for that matter) can feel more connected to their entire team. Folks who have never met prior to the contest might also be encouraged to get to know one another and celebrate achievements—perhaps by handing out Badges

Fostering working relationships this way opens the door to regular communication, which most often leads to a more collaborative environment. 

And when they collaborate, best practices start rolling in, and that helps everyone win together.

3. Open mentorship

benefits of gamification-open mentorship, better coaching

Stemming from the collaborative element of gamification is the opportunity it creates for increased employee dialogue regarding challenges and best practices. 

When employees see where they rank on the leaderboard for different contests, they’ll get a better sense of their own strengths and weaknesses, because the ranking is based on objective data. More often than you might expect, this inspires bottom-level performers to seek out coaching from either their sales leaders or top-performing peers. It doesn’t discourage; it actually inspires.

The element of visibility that comes with leaderboards makes it easy for reps to know which colleague they should reach out to if they desire peer mentorship. With LevelEleven’s Coach solution, those who need or want a push in the right direction can facilitate coaching conversations all in one place. 

Starting those conversations doesn’t have to fall on reps who are struggling, either. Coaching Notes can be initiated by either the manager or the sales rep at any given time. They serve as a digital notepad to keep track of discussions and can be revisited over time to get a holistic view of progress. 

In a time of great uncertainty, the right communication is a major component of success. Remote—and even hybrid—work has created fewer opportunities to genuinely ask employees how they’re doing. LevelEleven provides a space for better conversations, anytime and anywhere.

Gamification methods like running a contest simply help everyone—reps and leaders alike—see where improvement is needed because there are clear activities and behaviors that lead to the results that are being ranked. If someone is slipping through the cracks, opportunities for mentorship are created. These important conversations reinforce the idea that everyone wants everyone to succeed. Reps will feel supported, even if they’re working remotely. 

When both leadership and peers demonstrate a level of care for an individual team member’s success and wellbeing, that person is much more likely to stay in their role. 

4. Create an engaging workspace

benefits of gamification - create engaging workspace

As a salesperson, you know the career path is equal parts challenging and rewarding. The wins are financially and emotionally exciting, but the dead ends and lost deals can seem paralyzing. 

Add being isolated in remote work or inconsistent in-person interactions and you’ve got a recipe for burnout. In fact, many participants in the surveys conducted to get to the bottom of the “Great Resignation” cite both stress and burnout as reasons for seeking other employment opportunities. 

A dose of gamification can help combat the disappointments while also creating a captivating environment. The excitement of contests and looking at leaderboards helps get your team engaged and revitalizes the workplace—virtual or otherwise.

Since LevelEleven allows contests to exist within Salesforce, reps can participate from wherever they’re working. Additional features exist for individual team members to personalize their presence, like custom screen splashes to be triggered for the whole company to see when someone reaches a certain goal or accomplishes a certain task. 

LevelEleven’s Channel11 feature broadcasts those splashes in real-time. If teams are back in the office, they can be set up to play on TVs throughout the space, capturing attention and getting folks excited.  

The value of a fun work environment should not be dismissed. With so many feeling unhappy in their work, breaking up the monotony of day-to-day operations with competition can boost morale.

The Bottom Line

People are leaving their jobs for a plethora of reasons. As a leader, you have the power to make changes or try new things to keep your team happy and feeling appreciated. 

Although it has its share of critics, gamification can energize your sales team and foster a more collaborative office environment. 

The gamification space is flourishing and, where the concept is used effectively, sales teams are producing more quality, dynamic work as a result. More than that, methods of gamification might just be the secret sauce to help keep your team safe from the “Great Resignation.”

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