Should You Implement Gamification in Channel Sales? 5 Things to Consider First
Using gamification in sales has long been a way to motivate direct sales reps. But with the diverse locations between channel partners, there are some additional challenges to making sure that sales games are effective. Ideally, you want to make sure that you are encouraging behavior and fostering good habits that can lead to high value sales. Here are some items to consider before using games as a motivational tool within your channel.
Competition Equals Motivation
A huge motivator for sales reps is competition amongst each other. Nothing fires their ambition more than a chance to see if they can best their friendly rivals. This goes for reps that share a cubicle wall, or reps that are time zones away from each other. Often, the competition itself is motivation enough, without having any sort of tangible prize.
Consider thinking outside the box to find ways to foster a bit of friendly competition. Ideally, this would be something that reinforces behaviors that lead to sales, not just the sales metrics themselves. Encouraging behavior can lead to repeated actions, and will net the result that everyone wants: increased sales figure. But if we start out by encouraging behavior, then it becomes a habit to repeat the actions instead of just focusing on the sales results.
Technology is Crucial
Since your partner sales reps are not all located at the same site, it’s imperative that you have a way to track the sales numbers. Gamification in channel sales falls flat if the contestants have no way of seeing the leaderboard. With a platform that can show rankings and leaderboards for top sellers, you can make sure that everyone is informed.
Technology also enables you to provide iterative rewards and immediate gratification to channel reps. When you can instantly notice who is performing the encouraged behavior, you can let them know you’re impressed!
Make it Fair for Everyone
With reps spread out across a large geographic region, and with multiple partner organizations, you’re limited with regards to team competitions. If you want to award based on organization, then you can’t just say that the raw numbers are counted towards the team’s total. Either build in a ratio of number of reps to the desired metric, or find another way to level the playing field. You may find out which partners are the most valuable this way too, when the channel partners with fewer sales reps best ones with a larger team!
Keep it Interesting
If you stretch out a presentation longer than the audience’s attention span, you’re going to lose them. Likewise, if you perpetuate a contest longer than it’s usable shelf life, you’re going to lose your partner reps. Having a contest based on quarterly sales is a great plan, but going for yearly may end up producing diminished returns. Twelve months is a little bit of a stretch to make everyone pay attention to the same thing, don’t you think?
Even better, mix it up with gamification in sales that turns around on an immediate basis. Reward the first time someone in the channel engages in an activity that can lead to high value sales. And then make sure to continue to acknowledge and encourage all of your channel partner reps when they mirror that behavior.
…But Don’t Change it up Constantly
On the other hand, you might get ‘contest fatigue’ if you are constantly promoting new and different games for the partner reps to participate in. Not to mention all of the extra legwork you’d have to go through to put on a new contest design every time. If you’re sponsoring a weekly or monthly contest that doesn’t change format, the partner reps can adjust to it and accept that they’ll be evaluated and/or rewarded on the constant interval. Avoid having a transformation after every contest period, this way the adjustment will only occur on an infrequent basis if you make changes for fairness or seasonal updates.
Let the small contests and daily activities evolve and stay fresh. Keep your big contests and games fairly constant. In this way, channel reps can focus on both the daily activities and the overarching goal of sales figures at the same time.
If you are having trouble figuring out the best way to implement gamification in sales within your channel, comment below. There are many ways to tweak the system to motivate your partner reps.
I originally posted this here on July 26, 2016.