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“Welcome to the Sales Tournament at <Your company’s name> Stadium! It’s a bright, sunny Monday morning and Team Kolkata look all set to increase their lead from last week’s phenomenal sales score. Oh, but it looks like Team Chennai are closing in on them with 20 orders already captured from around the city! Coming in at a close number 3 are Team Chandigarh with 420 orders so far this month! This game is still wide open, folks! Stay tuned for updates on the nail-biting action!”
Imagine if your sales teams could be engaged in a similarly intense competition to outdo one another in scoring sales and orders. Imagine what it would do for your sales numbers and revenue. What would your strategic goals look like if your sales force worked with as much motivation and collaboration as players in a high-stakes sports tournament? The good news is that the solution to supercharging your team’s performance is very much within reach today – the secret lies in deploying a concept called gamification.    

WHAT IS GAMIFICATION?

The term gamification suddenly burst on the business scene sometime after 2010 and climbed the charts steadily, prompting even Gartner to declare in their 2013 tech predictions that in two years time “40 percent of Global 1000 organizations will be using gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations”. Today gamification as a buzzword has been eclipsed by newer terms such as AI, ML and blockchain. However, gamification as a practice has now become an integral part of product and UI design. Have you ever written a restaurant review for a travel portal just because they told you that you can unlock the next level and attain “Food Expert” status if you added one more review? That’s gamification.

Simply put, gamification involves turning a task or activity into a game. According to the Gartner report, in gamification “companies apply feedback, measurement and incentives — the same techniques that game designers use, to keep players interested — to achieve the needed engagement for the transformation of business operations.”

The game could involve just you playing against yourself (like when you make the effort to fully complete your 80% complete profile on a social media site) or you could be competing against all the employees in your team/organization or against the rest of the world; as part of a team or individually.
The game could award badges, titles or rewards in cash or kind. It can involve maintaining a leader board and a dashboard and can be used to achieve a wide range of outcomes in learning, training, customer engagement, employee engagement, collaboration, fitness, and so on.
However, every successful gamification strategy has the following common elements:

  1. SMART goals: Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound goals or KPIs is critical to the success of every gamification initiative. The KPIs rewarded in the game must in turn align with organizational goals.
  2. Meaningful rewards: The reward on offer should be something the user will want to go the extra mile for. This could be incentives, cash, gifts, badges, titles or just a thunderous round of applause from peers.
  3. Competition: Either with yourself or with others; individually or as part of a team.
  4. Instant, constant feedback: This is what the leaderboards and dashboards provide. The participants should always know where they stand in the game – their score, rank and the steps they can take to achieve their goals and get ahead.
  5. Complete transparency: No one wants to play or even watch a sport that has a reputation for being fixed. A level playing field with clear rules, a scoreboard and a healthy competitive spirit is essential for the success of a gamification attempt.

HOW CAN CPG COMPANIES USE GAMIFICATION TO DRIVE ITS SALES FORCE?

Consumer goods companies in India and other emerging countries face unique challenges in managing their sales force. Gamification helps to overcome these limitations.

CHALLENGE WITH GAMIFICATION
Large teams: Sales teams here are necessarily large in order to service distributors and retailers spread across this vast, diverse country. Sales managers can easily energize their entire team to work towards a set of common goal and encourage communication and collaboration.  
High employee churn rates: Given the opportunities available to sales reps in India’s highly competitive consumer goods market, it’s common for sales reps to move from one company to another. Sales reps’ engagement and motivation levels increase dramatically, leading to better individual results, higher incentives and skill development. All this in turn fosters loyalty.
Limited visibility on sales reps’ activities and performance: Technology adoption has been slow in the CPG industry and many brands continue to rely on pen-and-paper or spreadsheets for taking orders from retailers. This makes it difficult to measure and drive appropriate behavior. Managers and sales reps have complete, real-time visibility on the performance of the entire team. Teams can measure performance continuously and make course corrections immediately.

CASE STUDY: HOW KORES INDIA USED GAMIFICATION TO INCREASE SALES

Customer Overview: Kores India is highly diversified conglomerate with a dominant presence in several sectors, from stationery to pharmaceuticals to textiles and lighting.
Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Challenge: To increase sales by improving the morale and productivity of its sales force
Bizom Solution: Sales Gamification
Outcomes:

  • Multi-metric game for feet on street to build basic sales rigour
  • Incentive eligibility among feet on street increased to an unprecedented 85% in the first month of implementation and 95% in the second month
  • Most sellers are continuously hitting high productive calls and line selling quotas

A market leader in the stationery business in India, this 75-year old company has always believed in investing continuously in state-of-the-art technology and in employee training and development. The Kores team had bought Bizom’s SFA solution a few years back and was very keen to sign up for Bizom’s gamification feature.


Bizom’s gamification feature offered the following benefits:

  •         Gamification can be run on Bizom’s existing SFA solution
  •         Quick and simple configuration
  •         Simplified rule set up based on customer’s KPIs/goals
  •         Option to run multiple games at the same time
  •         Choice of games available – cricket, football, volleyball or a custom game
  •         Real time visibility on performance metrics of each player
  •         Download feature for easy communication with accounts or other teams
  •         Leaderboards available on mobile for continuous monitoring by players

The Kores team worked with Bizom to set clear goals for the first game, KPIs/KRAs for the executives, metrics and benchmarks for performance measurement and rewards and accolades for the players. 

According to company representatives, the gamification effort showed immediate and dramatic results. The first game had been designed to maximize the number of sales executives who quality for incentives in a quarter. An analysis at the close of the quarter showed that incentive eligibility on the basis of productive calls alone had hit an all-time high of 85% in the first month of implementation and rose to 95% in the following month. “The outcomes (of the first round of gamification) have been achieved in this quarter,” the Kores sales team declared.

The company now plans to launch its second round of gamification and is looking to push the envelope even more by designing a multi-metric game to build sales rigour and to reward pushing of their more profitable focus SKUs. “Our last iteration was so successful that we’re now looking to make the game tougher so that only those who work consistently hard and put in efforts throughout the month will qualify for the incentive. At the same time, even those who are easily qualifying now will be forced to work harder,” says a Kores representative.

IN CONCLUSION

As the co-author of Gamification by Design Gabe Zichermann points out, “gamification is 75 percent psychology and 25 percent technology.” So for any gamification effort to work you need to start out with studying what will work best for your team and find an automation partner who understands your team and your business needs. In addition, gamification cannot work in isolation, as a one-off attempt in a separate application. It should ideally be woven into the tools your sales force uses every day to plan and execute their work.
 To understand how you can use gamification to make high performance part of your sales team’s DNA, drop us an email at marketing@mobisy.com or book a free consultation today!
 For live demos and conversations about Bizom’s cutting edge retail sales technology offerings, drop by our stall at the ET Sales Strategy Summit in Mumbai of 21 and 22 June, 2018.    

Nisha is a writer and editor with over two decades of experience writing for new and old media. She believes there’s too much content out there and solemnly promises only to publish content that adds value to the conversation.