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9 Gamification Trends to Plan for in 2021

Here is a look at the gamification market, some current 2020 gamification trends, and where we think the future of gamification is going in 2021 and beyond

 

Gamification is a tactic that can be extremely effective at helping businesses achieve key objectives and results; however, it is not a “set it and forget it” technique. Organizational objectives, technology, and market response changes so quickly, it is imperative that your gamification strategy changes alongside your other business strategies to create optimal benefits for your sales team. Here is a look at the gamification market, some current gamification trends, and where we think the future of gamification is going. 

 

1. The Gamification Market is driven by enterprise organizations in 2021

A huge gamification trend that we have seen in the last half of 2020 that we expect to explode in 2021 is that enterprise organizations are incorporating gamification as a “need-to-have” tactic in their sales and customer service management strategies. Prompted by the rapid shift to a remote workforce, now, more than ever, teams are looking to gamification to bring visibility into what their remote reps are doing and to also boost culture and morale. When we interviewed the Global Sales Productivity Manager, Kristol Johnson, at McAfee, we learned what the enterprise tech stack is shaping up to be for a remote ready enterprise sales team in 2021. With technology and tools making telecommuting possible for the long haul, the focus is really shifting to 1) identify the right tech stack 2) scale productivity and performance without scaling headcount 3) integrate gamification into call coaching, pipeline generation, ticket resolution and more. 

 

The future of gamification as it relates to enterprise sales suggests use cases for all revenue and customer facing teams. Everything from learning management, productivity scoring, traditional competitions around KPIs and sales clubs and awards will make their way into the management and coaching strategies of enterprise customer facing teams. 

 

2. Salesfloor TVs are rendered obsolete in the future of gamification

This gamification trend is likely no surprise to anyone. Sales floor TVs are increasingly becoming a thing of the past with remote teams dominating the sales workforce; however, the purpose they served is still very much alive. The essence of the sales floor tv was always visibility, motivation, recognition, and the world’s easiest way to aggregate data in one place without all the report running, log-in hassle. The way teams are achieving visibility now is by integrating celebration alerts and issue detection alerts into collaboration tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams. Team and sales rep leaderboards are appearing here as well and can be a quick way to drive motivation around higher attainment. While real-time celebration and issue detection alerts appear in Slack or Teams, there is still great value in aggregating data into scoreboard formats

Sales scoreboards can be broadcast in browsers, inside Salesforce homepages, or TVs at homes or offices if your team is one of the few remaining in-office teams. You can use executive scoreboards to show performance across multiple departments or have a departmental scoreboard with all of your critical KPIs. Here’s a look at how we use scoreboards at Ambition to drive visibility, productivity, and performance for remote teams. 

In addition to the scoreboards showing aggregated performance, teams rely more on personalized, individual scorecards that show productivity on sales activities and performance around sales objectives. The scorecards give visibility to leadership into what remote reps are spending time on and how efficiently they convert their daily activities into sales objectives that impact the business. 

3. Customer Success Teams get gamified

Historically, the gamification market has seen the greatest interest from sales teams. They’re competitive, they typically leverage data the best, and their coaching and sales management strategies have used gamification in some way or another since the beginning of sales teams’ existence… Remember the old school sales gongs?! Now, customer success and customer support teams are getting into the data driven mindset that sales teams have lived in, and they want to take advantage of sales gamification too. 

The future of gamification shows the tactic moving beyond sales into more revenue driving and customer facing teams in 2021. Marketing is tracking pipeline generation and running spiffs around SQL creation. Success teams are using celebration alerts for renewals and expansion celebrations. Support teams are looking to increase ready talk time and ticket resolution time. All data-driven teams can get the benefit of gamification, but that is even more true in a remote rep world in 2021. We are seeing customer facing teams inquire more about how they can leverage scorecards, leaderboards and automated goal tracking as part of a gamification strategy in 2021 and beyond. 

Here is a look at how one customer advocate team ran one contest and changed their culture forever. 

 

4. Sales gamification becomes an essential part of sales coaching strategy 

If anyone here has followed the Peloton phenomenon, this concept will seem familiar. Peloton combines very motivational coaching and instruction alongside a gamified leaderboard to push riders to increase their output. Peloton awards badges to motivate individuals to best their own previous performances, participate in challenges and stay engaged in the fitness app. They lean into celebration amongst the fitness community with high fives riders can award one another and the coaches publicly shout out riders and their milestone achievements.

Sales leaders are rapidly adopting the coaching + gamification strategy as the most powerful way to drive change for their sales reps. With a tool like Ambition, managers and directors are combining competitive gamification and leaderboards with coaching check ins where reps receive motivational and developmental coaching to push them to best their own performance and climb the ranks amongst their peers. There is celebration amongst your org and team community in the form of badges, alerts, and visible milestones to help optimize sales rep performance like never before. Here are some tactics that sales leaders are applying from a gamification + coaching approach:

  • Give Accolades (badges/awards) for hitting milestones like largest contract sold or 4+ meetings in a week

  • Celebrate the SDR with a Slack celebration alert when a meeting moves from a meeting to qualified pipeline

  • Hold a 1:1 and review performance while coaching your rep on specific efficiency metrics to move into the highest quadrant corner. Managers are the Peloton instructors in the 1:1s

  • Broadcast the leaderboards in Slack or on scoreboards for visibility

  • Let peers award each other virtual high fives with Accolades that can be shared across LinkedIn

Combining gamification, coaching, and community will be the future for creating world-class sales culture that leads to high performance teams. 

5. KPI tracking at the micro and macro levels becomes more popular

For a long time, data has been presented in spreadsheets and graphs rolled up and cut in a million ways, but very seldom is the data broken down into micro levels that show the individuals that make up the macro number. With tools that integrate into your tech stack, we’ll start to visualize data in different ways celebrating the “who” behind the “what.” This will not only work to motivate and recognize remote reps in pipeline reviews and meetings, but will allow coaches to focus on the individuals that will have an impact on the total number and goal. 

6. Sales clubs and awards go completely digital 

Some gamification trends are built on old-fashioned concepts that have been reborn in the digital age. Sales clubs and awards are nothing new to sellers. You may have been a 3X President’s Club winner, held the record for the longest contract closed won, driven the most pipeline in a year, or joined the $100,000 deal club at some point in your own sales career. This used to take spreadsheets to track, a number of reports, and you’d receive periodic updates from management about your progress toward an award… or maybe only find out at the end of year banquet. Now, gamification tools automate the tracking and issuing of every club and award your sales team creates. 

The awards can be shared to your LinkedIn as a little resumé builder or showcased as a badge on your sales dashboard. They can be awarded automatically through metric attainment, or peers and managers can award them on a discretionary basis. 

Here is a full list of 17 ideas to digitize your remote sales clubs and awards if you are just getting started with them at your company. 

7. Remote gamification trends shift sales incentives to remote-friendly options

Bye-bye airfare, ski-trips and most travel or “in-person” based sales incentives. At least for the foreseeable future. Sales leaders are getting increasingly creative with incentives for winning contests and smashing goals. Some of the trends in the sales incentive categories are 

  • Yearly subscriptions to streaming services

  • Home tech like airpods, Amazon Alexa devices, Apple watches, etc

  • Home coffee station supplies and subscriptions 

  • Meal delivery service gift cards and meal kits

  • Virtual experiences like wine tastings or museum tours 

  • Comedy shows over zoom

  • Cameo shoutouts from celebrities

Here are some remote sales contests and incentive ideas that our customers and other sales leaders are trying right now. 

8. Sales teams start competing cross organizationally 

Gamification is so popular amongst sales teams that there is a new desire to rep your city company against sellers at other orgs. In RevGenius, a Slack community for revenue teams, SDRs at different companies were all hosting call blitzes at the same time allowing the top reps from numerous places around the country to compete. No longer is it enough to be the top meeting setter on the team-- you want to be the top seller in the world, and it is made possible by technology that allows reps to automate activity and objective tracking. Ambition is the tool powering the RevGenius blitzes that is pitting the self-described “top 10 SDRs in the country” against one another helping all of teams increase sales activity and objectives. 

Some organizations are leveraging universal metrics like “activity score” to compete cross departmentally as well. Marketing, Customer success, Sales, and support can all compete on an activity score that is comprised of KPIs tailored for each rep and team. This type of gamification moving beyond just individual contributors on a single team helps create a positive culture for dispersed teams. The gamification market will continue to grow exponentially in 2021 thanks to this type of cross-departmental and cross-organizational competition trend. 

9. Video blitzes become the new call-blitzes 

Video calls are becoming the new “phone calls” in this Zoom and FaceTime age. Video conferencing has replaced many meetings and is part of the “new normal” that 2020 brought on., and video is increasingly becoming a part of our day-to-day working lives and you’ll see that come to fruition more in 2021 prospecting techniques. Powered by Platforms like Drift, video prospecting is more personal and is hinting at being more successful to get meetings set over phone calls.

Our sales development team competes weekly on call blitzes, and decided to go for a video blitz in November. Meetings are increasing 4x for some reps with the launch of the video blitz. As the video medium becomes more familiar to prospects and prospectors alike, we’ll see it become a “need-to-have” strategy in 2021 with sales development teams gamifying the output and conversion rates to meetings set. 

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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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