Gamification is a theory based on a metaphor because it is so difficult to explain. It refers to the use of game thinking and game technology to engage users in solving problems, such as sales contests, outside of the usual game contexts. The introduction of game elements creates value as it improves user engagement, data quality, return on investment, and value behavior learning where gamification feedback is the clue.

Game pieces have been with sales contests for some time in the form of trading stamps and tokens, frequent flyer and loyalty programs, or climbing hierarchical performance levels. That legacy presents a problem for sales contests: the name game implies something too trivial to apply to business processes. In fact, sales contests promote core rules that performance is expected to follow. Sales contests like other business processes have goals, benchmarks, and payoffs.

Gamification – working definition

Gamification uses engagement rewards and recognition to create value by driving the preferred employee behavior. In the abstract, the business cycle replicates the video game cycle at its simplest. Such loops form a nice visual reference. Complex games and business processes need only extend the visual. For example, each arrow point can merge into a yes or nocompleted or not-completed, and win or no win.

Put gamification feedback into the business processes

These aspects of the game drive and draw performance in sales contests. But, sales management feedback on engagement and behavior will lubricate the process and assure the outcomes.

  • Demonstrate sales technique
  • Influence behavior
  • Direct performance
  • Create individual and organizational value

Unless you understand that no feedback is negative feedback, you will not appreciate the value of feedback. Because feedback informs sales reps about their sales behavior and how well or poorly it approaches the desired performance, it motivates the consequent performance. It provides immediate, direct, and confidence building information – if it is done well.

Gamification Feedback – getting it rightGamification Feedback

Annual or periodic employee performance assessments do not provide the framework necessary to make feedback a success. Human Resources driven employee assessments are an administrative device not a properly sales motivation. Sales management must have framework and structure to assure its continuity and sustainability in all business processes areas. It needs an information gathering system that uses direct and indirect observation, document review, self-reporting, and customer survey. Until size and volume require software tracking, the feedback input and output benefit from personal communication.

  • Timely – gamification technology speeds feedback. The velocity corrects behaviors immediately and reflects gaming experience.
  • Contextual – gamification encourages pointed, explicit feedback language to make the advice personal and organizational. Feedback on leaderboards, for example, displays the context for individual engagement and performance outcomes.
  • Metrics – gamification should stay metrics-focused to reduce personal blame and criticism. Employees will not dispute metrics the way they will push back to innuendo and judgmental commentary.
  • Prophetic – gamification supports the sales rep’s self-perpetuating prophecy. Sales managers should let their language reiterate the sales rep’s self-perception. Feedback that shares language and metrics strengthens the leader’s influence.
  • Engagement – gamification builds a narrative, a plot that engages with color, character, and action. It engages sales contest competitors and offers an active route to individual and organizational goal achievement. The route is a guide and an accomplishment, and recognition along the way reinforces the game way and end. This is what you label winning.

Sales reps are extrovert personalities. You treasure their high-energy, volubility, and garrulousness. But, they need stimulation and take their motivation from others. They express emotions easily and want to change the world. Relaxed and comfortable, they act first only to think later.  They respond to variety and action and like working with people. Gamification in sales competitions will structure and move their behavior is subtle yet winning ways. So instant gamification feedback is one of the most important factors in sales reps job.

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