Sales professionals — from new hires to veteran sellers — need the knowledge and skills to navigate in a digital world while still making personal connections with clients.
At Richardson, we know that learning to compete in new ways requires a new approach to training. While foundational sales skills are as relevant today as they ever were, the technology to engage, motivate, deliver, and reinforce learning has leapfrogged ahead. Combining technology with elements of gameplay is called gamification, and it is proving an effective way to keep learners engaged in content.
More rigorous than the name suggests, gamification applies game-design elements and principles in learning situations to create fun and engaging experiences. Games bring out natural tendencies to achieve, compete, and gain status or recognition. The serious business of making learning enjoyable leads to lessons that are sticky, meaning they are more easily and better retained. Online contests and leaderboards add friendly, competitive pressures within sales teams, which intensify engagement.
There are several types of gameplay currently available to reinforce learning that we find work here at Richardson. Some examples of these include:
- Flashcard-based games,
- Video scenarios that require learner responses,
- Formative quizzes to check progress and redirect learning to areas in need of improvement,
- Bite-sized learning reinforcement modules delivered via daily e-mail,
These types of gameplay break down content into smaller chunks which are easier to absorb, remember, and apply on the job.
As with most games, keeping score is a performance motivator. The use of leaderboards and badges can foster a sense of competition that keeps learners engaged and motivated to reach their goals. Tracking players and scores allow learners to see how they’re doing and compare themselves to others or to benchmarks. Particularly competitive individuals can try to beat their own best scores and stay on top of the leaderboard. With these tools, managers can gain visibility into the performance of individuals and the team as a whole, and they are able to see who is making progress and who might need help.
Game elements like messaging and reference guides allow managers to encourage their team members to participate in games and beat their scores. Managers learn to coach to higher performance and scores, whether within their teams or across the entire sales organization. Such manager messaging works to drive continuous learning in a fun, friendly, and competitive way.
Gamification is based on learning science and behavioral theory. It’s also great fun. And learning that is fun and engaging, with a healthy bit of friendly competition thrown in, works well within a sales culture. It also works well for sales leaders, who see the results in terms of quick uptake, application, and consistency of skills that drive results.