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Gamify your Sales Culture

We have a leaderboard at the office to track our non-sales related metrics: number of business-related books read YTD, number of blogs written YTD, number of escape rooms conquered YTD. And of course, being the overachiever that I am, I like to be leading by a wide margin.

The last month was a busy one, trying to recruit and train new hires. I see my leader position slipping away. Day by day…walking pass that whiteboard is like walking through the hall of shame. Then, it happened – as of this morning I’m no longer the leader in the blogging category. What’s the first thing I do when I get back to my desk? Clear my calendar so I can get a few blogs out today!

Some folks think gamification is a bit gimmicky. And when done poorly, it’s a downright waste of time. But the likes of, UPS, and SAP have found a way to make it engaging while driving some coopetition along the way. When designed properly, gamification is a powerful tool in sales management because it addresses the three things salespeople are motivated by the most: compensation, recognition, and competition. Some tips to help you get started:

1. Gamified competition is about the game. Less about the prize.

Salespeople are competitive by nature. Whether it’s a lunch with the President or a trip to Hawaii, the key is to play to the Type A personality. Build in incremental check-in points. Make it an office culture.

2. Coopetition is important. But don’t forget to build in a collaboration component.

The sales landscape has changed. Salespeople are expected to be on the road nurturing leads and closing sales. Make sure that the game is bringing people together rather than further apart.

3. Make team improvement a mandate.

When employees see where they rank on the leaderboard for different contests, they'll get a better sense of their own strengths and weaknesses. Leverage that information and make it a cross-training opportunity.

4. Sprints are better than long running programs.

Games are the means to an end. Don’t mistake it for driving standing sales metrics. The best programs we’ve designed are sprint programs where we are trying to use the game to shore up a particular part of the sales process, or to correct a particular organizational behavior.

5. Know your Objectives.

What are we trying to achieve? Always design the program knowing your objectives. What are the metrics? Goals should be specific so that there is no ambiguity in attaining the goals. Everyone wants to win fair and square. Salespeople don’t like subjective winners.

Salespeople are a highly competitive bunch, and the ability to tap into that competitive element is very natural. What have you tried in the past with your sales folks? Share some of your gamification stories.

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