You’re on your toes, constantly looking over your shoulder to make sure that nobody sees what you’re doing. You listen closely for telltale sounds, and as soon as you hear them, you hastily stop and cover your tracks.
No, this is not a suspense film and yes, I’m sure many sales executives and agents have experienced this situation at one point or another.
It’s usually what happens when you try to play games at work.
Thankfully for office ninjas who routinely sneak in a round of Solitaire or Minesweeper during the workday, a steadily increasing number of research results have shown that playing games at work might actually be a good idea.
Instead of being time wasters, games played at work can actually boost productivity and rev-up employee morale. “I compare games with a coffee break. If you are like me, you use them in strategic, functional, useful ways,” says University of Utrecht’s Professor Jeffrey Goldstein, who pioneered one of the earliest studies on the subject.
And as years pass and we become more and more immersed in technology, the practice of incorporating games into the everyday workflow of employees has soared in popularity. The practice has become so widespread that it even has its own name—enterprise gamification.
Back in 2011, tech industry research company Gartner predicted that approximately 70% of major companies will have incorporated some form of gamification into their systems, while market analysis done by M2 Research pegged enterprise gamification revenues to reach approximately $938 million by the same year, a far cry from the $100 million that was invested in 2011. By 2015, Gartner says that 40% of the “Global 1,000” organisations will have used gamification as a way to transform their business.
Judging from the sheer number of companies and organizations that have embraced gamification (from Google and Accenture to investment banks, Nike and even the US Army) we can see how it has risen to become the new buzzword in a wide variety of industries.
Selling is an innately competitive activity. Great salespersons thrive in besting not only the competition but also beating their own personal revenue targets.
Yet, there’s always room for improvement. And after all, what better way to harness this innate need for competition than to develop a game around the entire process, right?
This is where sales gamification comes into play, as companies strive to make routine tasks more engaging by rewarding employees who meet targets with scores, badges and ranks that are often prominently displayed and easily accessible to agents and executives alike.
By integrating custom-made gamification software into their CRM systems, many big players like Microsoft, Yahoo, and Accenture hope to change behaviors, develop skills, and enable innovation among their respective teams, which will ultimately pump up sales revenues.
Seen from this angle, gamification looks like the perfect panacea for lagging sales, right?
Not so fast. Gartner, the very same company predicting the soaring popularity of gamification, also warns that without careful planning, 80% of current gamified applications will fail by 2014, primarily because of poor design.
And one of the easiest things to mess up in implementing gamification is the lack of proper design and implementation of sales leaderboards.
Borrowing its definition from sports competitions where a leaderboard refers to a board that displays player ranks and scores, a sales leaderboard does exactly the same purpose—to display the “scores” of employees and encourage productivity.
For example, a call center company with a gamified CRM might begin rewarding sales reps with badges or points for performing everyday tasks (like following up on leads, closing deals or meeting daily quotas). A sales leaderboard then displays the number of badges accumulated by each agent and allows them to compete with each other, all for the good of the company.
Having a leaderboard might seem like a good idea, but there are several potential snags that sales executives need to watch out for, such as:
Measuring success with the wrong ruler.
Just because it’s called a sales gamification leaderboard does not mean that you should equate victory with the amount of dollars earned or the number of deals closed by agents.
Instead, sales executives should look at how overall employee behaviors are changing—calling more leads, producing more high-quality content, answering client inquiries faster and more efficiently. This ensures that productivity is enhanced in a sustainable way and prevents discriminating against agents who may be located in less populated areas with a smaller number of leads or prospects.
Remember that the aim of gamification should be changing behaviors, improving productivity and fostering employee well-being, and NOT just increasing sales.
Leaving underperformers behind. A poorly designed leaderboard often emphasizes those at the top and often leaves the underperformers behind. Instead of motivating an agent who lags behind, it may cause them to become discouraged. If not addressed immediately, underperforming employees may resent the leaderboard and refuse to use the system altogether.
Fostering a “me over we” attitude. A good leaderboard should be designed with the company’s overall goals and vision in mind, and should foster cooperation and teamwork among employees. If you have a leaderboard that just highlights the achievements of top-ranking individuals, this can have an adverse effect on overall team morale and dynamics. Top-ranking agents may also resort to underhanded methods just to keep ahead of the competition
Take note though, that more often than not, the benefits of having a well-designed sales leaderboard and gamification system often outweigh the risks.
Sales executives planning on implementing gamification should consider the following practices that can help make sales leaderboards an effective way to track employee productivity, encourage teamwork and amp up sales:
The leaderboard should accurately reflect the things that your company wishes to improve on. For example, do you wish to improve on sales velocity? Then you should choose metrics that accurately reflect this (i.e measuring the length of time it takes from lead generation, prospecting, nurturing and closing a deal), instead of just purchasing a pre-made gamification system whose leaderboard may not be aligned with your own objectives.
Simply put, try to make the whole process fun for everyone involved, especially for sales reps who will be using the system on a daily basis. Take note that just because you’ve put stars as rewards for high-performing employees, or repackaged tasks as quests, or even put in flashy graphics does not automatically mean that employees are going to have fun, or that they are going to fully engage with the system.
Executives should look deeply into who their agents are, what they do and what makes them tick so that an appropriate gamification system can be designed based on their actual needs. Only by having an in-depth knowledge of your user base can you harness their skills and make them more productive.
Encourage teamwork. As the mantra goes, there is no I in team. Make sure that the sales leaderboard does not overly focus on individual achievers—instead design it so that group efforts are more handsomely rewarded. Give points for “quests” accomplished by a team, and encourage sales reps to share their experiences and “game strategies” with one another.
This article is originally published at Tenfold.
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“The sheer magnitude of the domain and the impact it creates on the learning landscape is impetus enough to innovate and accelerate every day.”
My role at EI Design requires me to don multifaceted capabilities, starting from consulting with clients on Instructional Design requirements, strategizing learning approaches and handling presales opportunities as a Solution Architect, managing a domain with diverse skillsets, to innovating and exploring new learning design trends.
Through my journey at EI Design, I have learned to appreciate the value of Learning Innovation, Customer Relationship Management, and the power of Instructional Design in ensuring the required Behavioral Change mandates per end stakeholders. The sheer magnitude of the domain and the impact it creates on the learning landscape is impetus enough to innovate and accelerate every day.
I like to start early and plan my Urgent-Important matrix to begin. The whole day is an artful juggle between a Domain Head and a Solution Architect, with periodic connects with teams and customers. A perfect wrap-up would entail ticking off items in the matrix with tangible outcomes or action plans. Innovation and thought leadership are a constant underlying message in everything I do.
Traveling, social gatherings, music sessions, and uninhibited discussions help rejuvenate and replenish my energy to keep going the extra miles!
The Possibilities are endless if you have the will and determination to seek more, learn more, and achieve more.
I never knew my journey at EI design would be so rewarding and fulfilling. I have never felt the curiosity and enthusiasm drop over the time I’ve spent at EI Design, mainly due to the mazing work culture that we support. My seniors at EI design have always provided me the support and guidance I needed to grow as a professional. Not only have I been surrounded by brilliant professionals – people that I can look up to and take inspiration from – but there have been so many opportunities for me to develop and progress.
I work with EI Design as a Technology Manager and provide innovative technology solutions for our projects. I am also part of the Innovation and Solution Architecting Team, where we explore new tools and technologies in the market and come up with strategies to integrate them into our projects. As part of the Solution Architecting Team, I am constantly involved in providing futuristic solutions to clients. We, at EI Design, believe in pushing the boundaries of learning by making it creative and fun.
I start my day with early morning workouts to make sure that I am physically active and carry the same energy throughout the day. Most of my days begin with meetings to ensure that we are on track with ongoing projects. I detail the information provided in these meeting to concerned team members and keep project deliverables on track.
I admire punctuality and respect my time at work. I ensure that my tasks are done on time, every time, so that other dependencies associated to me do not get affected. This helps me to maintain my work-life balance.
“Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things is the best way to grow”.
As the Project Lead at EI Design, my role involves supporting my team in delivering quality products and managing iterations. I am also responsible for coordinating multiple projects with clients across the globe. I am perpetually involved in supervising and guiding my team through the numerous tasks that come our way. It is my duty to ensure smooth functioning of daily processes and drive my team to deliver quality, while maintaining consistency.
My day at EI Design begins with a stand-up meeting where I assess my team’s workload, create a list of deliverables, and distribute tasks to team members accordingly.
It is my top priority to make sure that the team’s dependencies are taken care of and that there are no obstacles in project deliverables throughout the day.
Even so, there are times when I too would not be able to resolve an issue. But the speed and enthusiasm with which my team responds to escalations is a quality that I admire.
We normally get into discussions to check the difficulties faced by each member and find solutions to avoid them in future.
If you want to grow you must be ready to learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime.
I joined EI Design as a Quality Analyst and worked my way up to become an Associate Project Manager. I now help my team plan their daily tasks and provide the necessary guidance to meet project deadlines accordingly.
My role at EI Design involves the delivery of quality products to all our clients and address their concerns and queries through multiple stages of the project life cycle.
A majority of my work deals with managing various project requirements from numerous clients from across the globe. A regular day for me is getting involved in various meetings with team members, and attending client calls. I always ensure that I have a positive approach toward the projects that I handle. The environment around me is reciprocative and the support helps me overcome any obstacles within the project. Even so, it is important that I take crucial decisions at critical moments and ease the pressure off my team and maintain a smooth process flow. Apart from this, we normally take breaks to refresh ourselves and find ways to keep each other motivated.
Every time you come across a challenge you need to face it than avoid it. It will help you grow professionally as well as personally.
I work as a Senior Visual Designer at EI Design where I develop the visual design for client projects. My focus is to provide end products as per the client’s design and requirement. This puts me in a position where I need to understand core client requirements. I achieve this by communicating efficiently across the different domains that are involved in the project. As a Visual Designer, my focus is to develop eye-catching products that not only capture the imagination of end-users but also enhance their learning capabilities through our innovative technologies.
I begin my day by looking at the immediate tasks and deliverables at hand. My supervising manager overlooks the tasks for the day and assigns them according to individual competencies. I go through emails and prioritize my tasks accordingly. It helps me plan and execute my activities way ahead of delivery deadlines.
We can always be the best in anything we do, provided we are ready to work hard for it.
As a Senior Business Development Manager at EI Design, my main role is business mining, building new opportunities for our business.
I drive revenue for the business and build relationships with clients to expand our business. I help clients solve monotonous training challenges through engaging approaches and ensure smooth transaction throughout the project lifecycle. I am responsible for generating the customer satisfaction survey for EI Design, where I gather feedback from end-users and convey it to the client. I mentor new employees that join the business development domain and ensure that they are aligned to the business needs along with process training.
During my close to 2 years tenure at EI Design, I have helped achieve the committed revenue for the business and retained various clients. With the constant support of my team, I continue to ensure that our clients’ journey through the entire project lifecycle is hassle-free.
Reaching out to clients and presenting the best eLearning solutions is the core of my everyday life at EI Design. I ensure that all customer satisfaction surveys are delivered to clients while also continuing to work on building new business for EI Design. On a monotonous day at office, I ensure to build energy within the team and keep them motivated.
Work till you need no introduction.
I work with the Quality Assurance Team at EI Design, co-ordinating with multiple domains (ID, VA, Tech, and VD) to deliver exceptional product experiences for learners. It is my duty to ensure that the developers are equipped with accurate information in order to fix/uplift the product experience. I also bridge the gap between developers/testers and the client to provide clarity on the feedback received from client. In conclusion, I can say that I drive the quality of work generated across domains and monitor the performance of domains, teams, and individuals using Quality Measurement Analysis reports.
My day begins with organizing the activities for the day, checking emails for client responses, and allocating task to my team, depending on the ongoing projects on floor and the deliverables planned. Apart from this, on a regular day, I would receive client calls, conduct meetings, and communicate project requirements with my team and other domains that require my help. At the end of the day, I conduct status checks across all ongoing projects reviewed on the day and assess their progress. This helps me to ensure a high standard in the quality of work generated across all the products at EI Design.
Don’t Be the Smartest One in the Room
“Oftentimes, leaders feel that they need to be the “smartest guy or gal” in the room, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Good leaders are the smartest one in the room, great leaders surround themselves with smarter people that will challenge ideas, bring new perspectives to the table and drive innovation.”
– – Jacob Hanson, PR with Panache!
“A good workplace tests your ability to be the best, and EI Design has definitely influenced me in that endeavor.”
As a part of the Design Strategy Team, I communicate with internal and external stakeholders on the strategy for design and the visual experience aspects. I also contribute to presales stages in creating design strategies and mock-ups that make our products stand out among the rest.
I constantly contribute to Learning and Development at the organizational level (specific trainings on design trends, best practices, knowledge sharing, and so on.) In addition, I guide and ensure that designers follow design briefs, guidelines, and prototypes in various stages of product development.
I receive my work at the beginning of the week and so I begin my day reviewing the previous week’s progress and then move on to the tasks allotted to me for the next week. On other days, I just go about my tasks according to the priorities assigned to them.
Apart from this, I coordinate with the Visual Design Team to assist with issues such as design variance, alterations, and clarifications. Most of my day is either spent in brainstorming fresh ideas for new projects or helping other domains carry out the functional aspects of our design strategies.
Always stay committed to work no matter what and aim for the stars.