Octalysis Gamification to Better Equip Sales People

Sales gamification octalysis

Better equipping salespeople

Burnout and churn are common problems in fast-paced sales teams. Even among well-designed teams, productivity sustainability can be a pressing problem.

We know long term motivation suffers when there is an over-emphasis on Extrinsic Rewards coupled with Black Hat design. Sales jobs are often only about selling more and more, and competition with your peers. The lack of control on how to do the sales process through pre-made scripts and stringent KPI audits means that people do not feel empowered and leave. Many companies lose a lot of potentially good sales people and churn is close to 50% in many sales companies.

Extrinsic, Black Hat Design is not bad, but it has to be balanced with more White Hat motivational design into your sales teams set up.

Design for more balance in sales teams

Often sales design is all about showing how one person performs versus the rest of the team. The metrics used are all directly tied to more sales and in a short period (a day, week or month). Sub-optimal gamification solutions often just copy this structure and rely heavily on progress bars, leaderboards and intense competition. This is great to get people started in their sales process initially, but it doesn’t keep their engines running for long.

What is often missing is an emphasis on intrinsic design: being able to choose up to 3 paths to success that work and seeing your choices work in practice (Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback), being able to achieve your own goals with the help of others (Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness); or getting unexpected challenges and rewards (Core Drive 7: Unpredictability and Curiosity).


Don’t forget: extrinsic rewards and black hat can get people to pick up the phone to make calls. But it is the intrinsic design where all the fun is created. This is where people do the actions you want them to do voluntarily, even without getting paid for them. They have more fun and you as a sales manager have to pay and threaten them less to do the sales. It is a true win-win. If it is well designed!


Oh one more point, the sales grind can become quite disengaging when it does not seem to support any other goal than making more money and beating the competition. Adding a narrative that people can believe in (Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning and Calling) can add powerful longer term design angles to your overall sales team structure.


Scaling a sales organization

Creating one standout salesperson isn’t enough to ensure the sales team succeeds even in the short run, let alone the long term.

How your accounts work together, manage territories, and manage deal flow in a synergetic fashion matter too. Your Stars will need to interact with Proto-Stars, Novas, and Black Holes or your business cannot function. You’ll also need to carry employees through Discovery, Onboarding, Scaffolding, and Endgame phases.


In a next post we will reveal a case study on how we managed to design a great Gamified sales program that lead to triple digit engagement numbers, over time and for high and low flyers. We did it by exactly the right balance between white hat and black hat; extrinsic and intrinsic design.

How exactly? Find out next week!


The Octalysis Group has years of experience across hundreds of companies.

If you want us to create short- and long-term engagement in your company as well, contact Joris Beerda:


Leave a comment