Author: Michael Stus
Gamification is one of the most popular techniques for improving sales performance management (SPM). Companies turn their best practices into games to keep salespeople engaged with their work. Many supervisors use games to create inter-office competitions. However, recent research shows that gamification might not be a sustainable practice due to poor design choices made by vendors.
According to Gartner, 80 percent of business games will fail by 2014 due to poor user experiences. Brian Burke, the firm's research vice president, believes that many managers don't have the proper focus when they implement gamification tools.
"The focus is on the obvious game mechanics, such as points, badges and leader boards, rather than the more subtle and more important game design elements, such as balancing competition and collaboration, or defining a meaningful game economy," Burke said in a statement.
Gartner concludes that the underlying issue is that managers are relying on in-game rewards to motivate sales agents, but the digital prizes don't engage workers. Gamification should be a supplementary tool for motivation and data analysis.
Tying points to incentives
Corporate games should be tied to real-world processes, especially when it comes to rewards. Representatives don't want to receive digital badges for their efforts - they want to earn sales incentives. Managers mistakenly believe that points carry the same weight as dollars when it comes to motivation. Employees lose motivation when they realize that digital prizes are all that they'll earn for their sales.
Every in-game achievement should be tied to a physical reward. Agents should only earn badges and points when they hit important benchmarks and meet their quotas. The strategy keeps employees engaged with their games because they know that their progress will lead to compensation.
Supervisors can benefit from tying commissions to digital achievements. Gamification software can be used to track employee performances and simplify incentive compensation management (ICM). Games can be integrated with other analytical tools so that managers can receive real-time updates about their staffs' sales figures. When agents finalize transactions, they can be measured in the gaming applications.
Integrated software streamlines everyday business. Managers no longer have to manually calculate compensation or bonuses when they use gamification for ICM. The applications allow companies to save time every pay period so that employees can receive their paychecks in a timely fashion. Swift payments keep salespeople focused on their quotas and motivated to sell goods or services.