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Beyond the Sales Leaderboard: How Sales Gamification Evolved

· Jeremy Boudinet · 5 Minute Read

Rapid changes have taken place in Sales Gamification. This article offers a brief history of the industry as well as a comprehensive look at the options available for organizations in 2015.   

Let's start with the two elephants in the room: What business does game theory have in the very real, pressure-packed world of sales? What do all these Salesforce Gamification tools actually do? The short answer to both: tracking sales productivity/performance via goal-driven digital interface improves engagement, motivation and culture.

That being said, the Sales Gamification industry has reached a point where its very name, in some instances, is beginning to belie product sophistication and versatility of value that can be added.

This is an industry insider's perspective on the past, present and future of Sales Gamification, and it hopefully can clarify some of our ambiguities and reduce the skepticism many in the business world still have towards products like our own here at Ambition.

Sales Gamification Evolved: From Sales Leaderboard to Business Intelligence

Tracing the path of sales gamification from its origins to present day is a 10 year odyssey, beginning with Bunchball's founding in 2005. The enterprise gamification company was the first to truly take off using automated digital recognition and game mechanics, making it the true pioneer in this space.

Over the next decade, however, other sales gamification companies like Hoopla, LevelEleven, and our team here at Ambition would make giants steps forward with gamification's original premise, to the point where the sales gamification industry is essentially divided into two categories, their similarities barely distinguishable.     

2005-2011: Early Days of Sales Gamification

‚ÄčThe original Enterprise Gamification platform, Bunchball gave users avatars and rewarded accomplishments with badges and similar achievements. The automated digital recognition platform spent the latter half of the 00's experiencing steady growth.

Notable Bunchball competitor Badgeville was founded in 2010, becoming the last major industry player to emerge with the initial sales gamification methodology in hand. To this day, both companies are global stalwarts, working most effectively in massive enterprise customers. They offer the most competitive pricing of any industry member, typically $5-$10 per seat, which is perfect for, say, a multi-national call center looking for a bare-bones gamification solution that will have tens of thousands of users.

That being said, in terms of innovation, both companies lag far behind industry members who have since emerged with much more forward-thinking software. Which brings us to the next phase of sales gamification, which began in 2011 with the growth of Hoopla and the more dynamic, engaging softwares en vogue in present day sales teams.

2011-2014: TV Sales Leaderboards, Digital Sales Contest & Data Analytics

Hoopla, founded in 2010, became the first major industry member to emerge with a new-age Sales Leaderboard, perfect for the emerging addition of the flatscreen television to the sales bullpen.  Recalling the style of ESPN's SportsCenter, the product's sleek graphics and dynamic leaderboards offered a more adult-oriented approach to the original concept behind gamification.

An overhauled version of ye olde sales whiteboard, Hoopla set the stage for the arrival of LevelEleven, Ambition, and several other companies who are now key players in the industry. Founded in 2012, Detroit-based LevelEleven is a Salesforce add-on that incorporates point systems and more flexible metrics into Hoopla's leaderboard format.

Ambition followed in 2013 with an integration-agnostic, holistic approach to gamifying sales.

True to its original premise, "Fantasy Football for Sales," our platform allows for team-based sales contests and uses a benchmark-based scoring algorithm. We allow sales teams to compete against customer service teams, and anyone else in a company that tracks daily or weekly performance benchmarks.

2015: A New Frontier for Sales Gamification

What does sales gamification look like today? Take a gander at these product walkthroughs of Ambition, where clients like ChowNow, AMX Logistics and Outreach go through their platform in real-time.

 

Let us point you in the direction of two articles. The first is Elise Olding's "Engagification of the Enterprise," which makes for a great starting point and has two key excerpts that we ascribe to here at Ambition: Number one: Gamification is often associated with competition, but it is great tool for enhancing business collaboration and maximizing business outcomes. Number two: Define your transformation objectives, metrics and desired outcomes. From there, consider what kind of behaviors you want to reinforce and apply the appropriate gamification techniques.

Further Reading on Sales Gamification

If you're looking for a comprehensive, one-stop resource on gamification, look no further than Janna Anderson and Lee Rannie's exhaustive 2012 article, "The Future of Gamification."  

Our favorite quotes from that article belong to Neurofeedback Foundation Director Alan Bachers:

  1. Movements like the Quantified Self will make everything we do into our own game of self-improvement, learning, and real-time advances uniquely crafted to how we learn and what we want to learn or become proficient at.
  2. People’s ability to advance in any field will be self-controlled, automatically recorded, and unique skill sets will emerge as needed.

The latter quote drives at what we consider the future of truly impactful enterprise gamification: Bringing elements of the Quantified Self into employee development. The Quantified Self approach to self-development remains a keystone of Ambition.

Drag-and-Drop Sales Leaderboards and Gamification

Ambition is a sales management platform that syncs every sales organization department, data source, and performance metric on one easy system.

Ambition clarifies and publicizes real-time performance analytics for your entire sales organization. Using a drag-and-drop interface, non-technical sales leaders can build custom scorecards, contests, reports, and TVs.

Ambition is endorsed by Harvard Business Review, AA-ISP (the Global Inside Sales Organization), and USA Today as a proven solution for managing millennial sales teams. Hear from our customers below.

Watch Testimonials:

  1. FiveStars: Adam Wall. Sr. Manager of Sales Operations . 
  2. Filemaker: Brad Freitag. Vice-President of Worldwide Sales.
  3. Outreach: Mark Kosoglow. Vice-President of Sales.
  4. Cell Marque: Lauren Hopson. Director of Sales & Marketing.
  5. Access America Transport: Ted Alling. Chief Executive Officer.

Watch Product Walkthroughs:

  • ChowNow. Led by Vice-President of Sales, Drew Woodcock.
  • Outreach. Led by Sales Development Manager, Alex Lynn.
  • AMX Logistics. Led by Executive Vice-President ,Jared Moore.

Read Case Studies:

  1. Clayton HomesHBR finds triple-digit growth in 3 sales efficiency metrics. 
  2. Coyote Logistics: Monthly revenue per broker grew $525 in 6 months.
  3. Peek: Monthly sales activity volume grew 142% in 6 months.
  4. Vorsight: Monthly sales conversations grew 300% in 6 months.

Contact us to learn how Ambition can impact your sales organization today.

About Ambition
Sales Leaders, HR Professionals, and C-Level Executives use Ambition to recognize, motivate, and develop employees into more engaged and productive versions of themselves. Funded by Google, used by the Fortune 500, endorsed by the Harvard Business Review.
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