5 Ways Sales Coaching and Gamification Will Change Sales Management in 2020
If you don’t spend your weekends bantering about sales on Twitter (who are you, anyway?) then you might have missed this thread that had our ears burning.
Of course — as some of our loyal customers-turned-fans noticed — this is a core capability of Ambition. In fact, it’s where we started.
It’s been clear for a good while now that gamification is most effective not as a standalone tool but as a lever in a formalized sales coaching program. Here’s why (and how) gamification should become a key tactic in your sales coaching strategy — if it’s not already.
1. You’ll drive long-term behavior change, where it matters most.
Many sales managers make the mistake of spinning up random sales contests because energy seems low or they just haven’t run one in a while.
But when gamification is part of your sales coaching strategy, every competition you run will have a clear purpose and objective.
It’s not hard to do, but it does require having accessible, real-time performance insights. Smart sales coaches use individual and team metrics to identify the early-stage activities that actually drive conversions, or to understand where their reps have common weak spots.
Then, they create competitions around those specific activities. Of course, if you want to drive meaningful, long-term change, you may need to create more than a one-off, Friday afternoon competition — but it can still be incredibly fun and engaging for your team.
2. Salesforce adoption will go (way) up.
It’s 2020. You’d think by now most sales teams have figured out this whole Salesforce/CRM adoption issue. Unfortunately, we know sales managers continue to struggle with getting their reps to input data.
Companies spend the vast majority of their tech stack budget on their CRM, but research shows that roughly half of those fail due to ambiguous implementation issues.
We’ve been shouting this from the rooftops for years now, but gamification is an unbelievably effective tool to drive Salesforce adoption. The bottom line: everyone wants to win, and when there’s a great prize or incentive — or even bragging rights — on the line, reps are going to be much more likely to input every dial, every email, every meeting set.
3. Your sales coaching sessions will be less emotional.
As Salesforce adoption goes up, your data will become much more accurate, and therefore, much more usable. In other words, you’ll have very clear, objective performance numbers, so you’ll know exactly how your reps are doing before your 1:1 session even begins.
The keyword there is before. If you’ve got all the performance data and insights you need prior to the session, instead of spending that time trying to understand where your rep stands and how they’re progressing against their goals, you can focus on what’s gone well that week, what challenges need to be addressed, and building out a solid action plan.
Many sales coaches even use their sales leaderboard in their sales coaching sessions. For example, you can share how reps who aren’t making it to the leaderboards can get there. Leaderboard metrics like "% of won demos" is a perfect example. This metric is one that can be coached around when someone is converting on average with the rest of the team.
4. You’ll set the stage for peer coaching.
Smart sales managers (and people, in general) know that they don’t know everything. Your high-performing, seasoned sellers likely have a lot of experience and wisdom they can bestow upon your greener sellers.
Spinning up competitions that pair newbies with veterans will often naturally lead to peer coaching opportunities — especially if you’ve got teams competing on efficiency metrics, like connects to meetings set.
The result: you’ll help ramp your less experienced reps by letting them learn from a seasoned peer; and you’ll be giving your new rep exposure to a different kind of coaching, from someone who’s more recently been in their shoes.
5. Sales gamification helps you go beyond the 1:1.
No matter how impactful your weekly sessions are, there’s a lot that can happen in 7 days. By running competitions and seeing updates and activities on your leaderboards or in Slack — the second they happen — you can give recognition, share feedback, and course correct in real-time.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ve got to pull someone into a spur of the moment session. But it means you can celebrate alongside your reps when they do amazing work, or you can swing by their desk or shoot them a message in Slack to let them know you’re there if it looks like they need a little extra support.