Unless you’re a known psychotic competitor like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant – with no off-switch and a never-satisfied bloodlust for victory – chances are you’ll go through occasional down spells, when it’s hard to summon the motivation you need.
Hey, it happens! Even the best sellers – your A+ sales reps who seem to never miss quota – can be forgiven if their fires burn low, maybe through a down week or a sales slump. Throughout my decade in both direct sales and sales management, I’ve seen both good and bad sales reps struggle for motivation at times. I’ve even suffered through it myself. Like I said, it happens.
Unfortunately, your management team probably doesn’t think “It happens” is an appropriate response. Allow me then to share something I’ve been trying with the closers on my team, and something that has worked to tremendous effect:
Gamification through shared sales dashboards.
Why Gamification works on Sales Reps
First, before launching into any initiative, it’s important to understand the “Why” behind it, in this case, why gamification works on sales reps. The answer is actually pretty simple:
Sales reps are an innately competitive species.
Many of them are former athletes who were drilled, from an early age, in the importance of winning and being recognized as a top performer. This mindset has carried over to their jobs and into the sales pit, where each rep wants to be deservedly acknowledged as the top dog – hence, why many sales teams use a sales leaderboard to track each individual’s bookings performance. Seeing your name in first place – or, more motivationally, your name not in the top spot – should stoke your competitive fire and drive you to work that much harder.
While the sales leaderboard is a great way to gamify sales and drive motivation, it falls short in two areas:
- It can be threatening and aggressive, suggesting that, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” Sales reps will feel a constant pressure or weight on their shoulders that can sometimes cultivate emotional contagion and a sense of dread.
- It doesn’t incentivize reps to do anything beyond booking and closing deals.
With these two shortfalls in mind, I set about creating a new process of gamification for my sales reps that continues to motivate them, while also creating accountability and a more holistic focus on sales. Which brings us to the concept of the shared sales dashboard.
How Sales Managers can Gamify with Shared Sales Dashboards
Creating a dashboard – or a series of sales dashboards – can help get your team looking at the same, correct metrics and holding each other accountable to the same goals. As a sales manager, I can easily create the dashboard that works for our team, and then send and share those sales metrics to the rest of my closing team. The best part? This dashboard is set to a daily auto-send, acting as a not-so-subtle reminder to my team on what they should be focused on and how they’re doing against those smaller goals.
The daily auto-send of this sales dashboard to my team of reps gamifies effectively in two ways:
- The breakdown into weekly goals – instead of more traditional monthly or even quarterly goals – helps my team narrow its focus. It’s not just about looking forward toward the end of the month, where most sales teams experience a hockey-stick trajectory; we want to create consistent and scalable bookings, and that means hitting a series of small weekly goals.This also cultivates a team atmosphere, without losing the sense of competition. We all look better if we collectively hit our $100k in bookings this week, or whatever the goal you set is. Nobody wants to be the guy who drops the ball, while the rest of his teammates pick up the slack. Sales competition can devolve into a cutthroat exercise, something I personally think is best avoided. You’re all there to be the best and help your company be the best, so work together and hold each other accountable.
- It pulls reps out of the bookings-only focus that they so often get stuck in. Of course bookings are important…but so is pipeline creation and looking at sales from the big picture. Creating pipeline in a self-sourced manner is something that reps can forget about amidst all their efforts to sell, sell, sell, but can also lay the groundwork for future results.
Creating and sharing this sales dashboard with the rest of my team let’s them know what I’m focused on, which should also shift their focus accordingly. It’s a non-threatening way of urging my sales reps to give their best for the good of not just themselves, but also their team. It incentivizes them to think holistically about sales, beyond just bookings. It aligns all of us around the same sales metrics, while providing all the visibility and transparency that the best competition starts from.
In short, shared sales dashboards have made a massive difference in our gamification efforts here at InsightSquared, and have made my team not only more competitive and motivated, but also more cohesive. As a Sales Director overseeing a team of talented, but ultimately human, closing reps, this has made my job of motivating them and driving results a lot easier.