Getting the Juice out of gamification on SFDC

Sales is a competitive function and management realizes they need tools and methods to keep their sales flock motivated to go after opportunities. Many companies use BLAP (badges, leader boards, achievements, points) gamification methods hoping they would excite their sales force to change their behaviour or move in a certain direction. SFDC has many plugins including Hoopla, Ring my bell, Level Eleven, Spinify, Nitro and others that allow companies to use BLAP to roll out gamification to direct and manage their sales teams effectively. When designed properly, BLAP on SFDC can drive organizational and sales performance. They can be used to shape people’s behaviour by highlighting what are required and creating positive reinforcement actions for those adhering or meeting the desired behaviour or actions. Sales gamification works best when it is used to spur a sales team to sustain a boring and repetitive task while enabling user control in tracking progress with some fun. Sales gamification works when it improves engagement around tasks and workflows not just as a part of the job, but adoption of non-job related activities. If the objective is to increase the volume of sale pitches or log more appointments, push more calls to high-potential leads in SFDC gamification works best. All these are best examples of extrinsic motivation led tasks.

When designed poorly, SFDC BLAPs can bring unintended effects including de-motivation, attrition and possibly driving people to game the system by adopting wrong behaviour. From a gamification design perspective, one must use gamification for tasks that are primarily uninteresting for most but have information and decision making value to the company. It is also important to ensure gamification does not undermine intrinsic motivation of the employee to perform or what is known as over justification effect.

Expected leverage for sales gamification could be outcome or behaviour changes. However, how SFDC BLAP shared either in public or within a selective group has an impact on the gamification results. When BLAP are awarded in public, they confer recognition and status, but can also make inequality more apparent and could be de-motivating. Assessing sales team working in different regions with unique regional challenges; measuring them on sales outcome when the experience of the resources is varied, creates a feeling of inequality and unfair. Also, if your leadership scorecard has the same names coming up each month, it may not serve as motivational hook for underperforming sales resources. In fact this may lead to settling at “contentment zone” fallacy. If a company uses sales gamification around attendance and punctuality, the program can be de-motivational. Sales resources who are mostly on the field may perceive this as lack of trust and curtailing of their freedom. Such acts impinge on autonomy, trust and sense of ownership which all affect intrinsic motivation.

Leader board serves two primary purposes – to assess the performance of all people across the organization and making it visible to the all users. While designing a leader board, one not only need to understand what is its purpose, but also how results would be communicated. Signalling effect of communicating outcomes is an under focussed area when companies roll out gamification. Companies must realize not all sales outcomes be publicly visible scorecards. There is an element of appropriateness, probity and hierarchy that needs to be preserved to ensure reinforcement of positive behaviour. Hence some scorecards must be visible to only specific levels or teams. Carefully designing metrics and appropriate communication method can be an important route to enhancing gamification effectiveness and reduce its adverse effects.  If the gamification is used to measure the rate of adoption of SFDC amongst different teams, then publicly displaying under-utilisation of CRM may de-motivate and discourage a team that is leading in funnel growth. Communicating this result privately may help bring about the desired behaviour correction without any adverse effects.

Reality of human behaviour is more complex than the simple vision built into most gamification apps.  SFDC gamification loses appeal once position are fixed or taken. Even SFDC leader boards can exhaust themselves quickly as few performers at top and laggards in the later part. Key to effectiveness of SFDC gamification is to use it for short-term or as a one-off activity. One way to keep the friendly completion and fun element is by bringing in fair play to avoid “self-selection of contentment zone”.  Use SFDC gamification considering all aspects, limit it a period till intended behavioural outcomes can emerge and quickly dismantle it when it outlives its utility.

Bhavana S Kashyap

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