I have noticed a recent trend in sales that, while on the surface appears beneficial and perhaps even fun, I actually think is destructive. That is the practice of “gamification” in sales forces—making games for salespeople and pitting them against each other, in which trophies and such are awarded.
In my opinion, gamification is something you motivate children with. Adults are a far different matter. When you give an adult an education, an environment and the tools to truly flourish, that adult doesn’t need juvenile “gamification” to be motivated at all. In fact it takes away a person’s own innate sense of self-responsibility. Will members of a sales force do better in such an environment? I doubt it.
Analogy with Olympics
For a moment let us look at a different yet even more competitive field: sports. In fact, let’s look at something happening right now, the Olympics. Do you see any trace of “gamification” in an effort to motivate Olympic athletes? Never!
What does an athlete really need? An infrastructure in which to train, become great, and remain great. It’s the environment, the healthy food, the coaching, the doctors, and the goals that are set, and for which they are trained and managed, that make for great performers. An athlete is an adult that takes what they are doing quite seriously—they must get up and train hard, every single day.
This translates over to a salesperson or sales manager—they are provided the tools with which to train and become and remain competitive and on top. If these are effective, salespeople will do just that. And, like the athlete, they must get up every day and work hard, too. They know that, and no amount of gamification is going to make up for it.
That doesn’t mean you can’t exhibit playful behavior. One of the greatest athletes of our time, Usain Bolt (of Jamaica, for whom he has won 9 Olympic Gold Medals), is always very relaxed before his 100m run. He is even smiling and making faces.
But Usain Bolt needs no gamification to motivate him to run. Now he has won his 3rd Gold Medal in the Rio games for the 4 x 100m relay.
Just like athletes, sales are innate professionals, too. Sales actually has an entrepreneurial approach—which is why, years ago, I coined the term salespreneurs. I believe that gamification robs salespeople of that quality to a greater or lesser degree.
Just like athletes, if we simply provide these “entrepreneurs within the enterprise” with the best possible tools, compensation system and coaching, they will thrive—just as athletes do with the best food, trainers and doctors. They are smart enough to bring home incredible results.
Let’s stop treating members of our sales forces like children, and treat them for the true professionals they are. And reap the rewards of spectacular results.
P.S. This kind of gamification shouldn’t be confused with the minor gamification elements we have put in Pipeliner, just to add some fun to using CRM.
Pipeliner CRM is part of the perfect competitive environment for salespeople. Get your free trial of Pipeliner CRM now.