Ever heard that “Life is a game”?

Easy to say but life is not always fun and engaging, isn’t it?

But what if you could make mundane professional activities in your work life, like sales, as fun as playing a game?

Here are 4 key tips to supercharge your sales using Octalysis gamification and human-focused design

 

Tip # 1. Add purpose to the process

If you’re like most, you’ve probably experienced an “existential crisis”. In this state, you feel lost, and this lack of direction virtually makes you throw in the towel in every aspect of your life. That’s because, in order to feel motivated, you need to be motivated towards something. Same with your team and future customers. Making more money for the company to secure a top-ranking spot on a leaderboard is function-focused. But human-focused design prioritizes the personal motivations, insecurities, feelings, and reasons that humans have for doing or not doing things. 

That’s where gamification and storytelling narratives come in! If there’s no inherent purpose beyond the “functional”, then create your own storyline – a fictional world with a fictional objective that casts your “cast” into a scenario where they can work towards a common goal. 

For example, when we worked with Navo Orbico, an FMCG company with stagnating sales due to low employee engagement and motivation, we created a fictional world called “Nabicopolis”. In this world, each salesperson had the epic purpose (Core Drive 1) of both developing and protecting the city-state.

So, when it comes to adding purpose to the process, all it takes is a little imagination!

 

Tip # 2. Don’t control everything

If you don’t want your sales team to feel like programmable, automatable and thus dispensable robots, then you need to invite them into the decision-making process. Too many sales companies provide their employees with scripts and sales steps that lay everything out for them. So, give them choices! In our Nabicopolis example, each player is a seafarer meant to travel and trade with different clients. Each successful trade bolsters the status of the Nabicopolis city-state. 

So, in this case, you can also invite each “player” to forge their own pathways and means of success. That way, they can get creative and feel empowered by the feedback received from their personal decisions (Core Drive 3). Thusly, when they succeed, they can feel a sense of accomplishment (Core Drive 2) that they wouldn’t have experienced if they followed a singular, linear path. 

Moreover, when they feel like they personally accomplished something, without too much control or external input, not only does this make them take accountability and thus ownership (Core Drive 4) of their decisions. But any failures will feel like a personal slight, an affront to their abilities. And thus, they’ll feel intrinsically motivated to improve and bring themselves to the next level. 

Therefore, you should let them take the reins so they can feel accomplished, receive targeted feedback, and gain the motivation and knowledge needed to improve – a motivation that’s quite daunting and draining for sales managers to elicit.

 

Tip # 3. Emphasize collaboration over competition

We’ve seen this time and time again. Rather than encouraging cooperation, sales teams inspire the spirit of competition to motivate their employees. And while this can be positively rewarding for sales employees who remain at the top of the ranks, still… much of sales success is beyond their control. 

No salesperson can 100% guarantee to make a certain number of sales per day. Sometimes, no one calls or comes in during their shift. Sometimes, there are hard economic times that make people extra moody or frugal with their spending. And other times, the product itself, and/or the pricing attached to it might seem inherently unjustifiable to clients. All of these are highly-possible factors that your team has no control over.

That’s why competition can be tiresome for the vast majority of your employees. So why not stress collaboration over competition? Rather than having your teams “make problems” for each other by competing, they can “make solutions” together! Not only is this strategy more positive, but positivity will keep their engines running much longer, thus taking them much further. 

Human-focused design not only plays to Black Hat gamification via the fear of losing (Core Drive 8) that comes from competition. It also plays to the positives of cooperation and teamwork.

 

Tip # 4. Be more unpredictable

 

While your customers might want to know what they’re getting upfront, in order to get them to bite in the first place, your sales team needs to be intrinsically motivated to present the product in the best light. But they can’t get excited about that which is boring and predictable. When you know what’s coming, you’ll naturally lose interest. 

It’s like dating. When you’re just getting to know someone, most of the fun is peeling back the layers (that is… until it’s not). In any case, your sales team needs to be kept on their toes. Otherwise, too much predictability will lead to complacency, and they’ll end up “dropping the ball” in many of their sales interactions. So keep them “en guard”. Infuse some mystery and suspense! 

Of course, your team should be knowledgeable about the products they’re selling. So again, this all relates to the sales strategy, versus the product. Remember our fictional city-state of Nabicopolis? Really truly, when you infuse storytelling into your gamification strategy, it becomes super easy to follow all of these tips. 

Again, you want your sales team to be highly versed in the products they’re selling. But when their sales are motivated by a fictional world that necessitates some “epic duty” (Core Drive 1), then it’s easy to incorporate mystery and surprise into that fictional world. For example, in addition to having multiple pathways, which naturally breeds unpredictability and curiosity (Core Drive 7) since you don’t know what the other pathways involve or lead to, you can also have surprises and secret codes that unlock “mystery boxes” and the like. 

That’s what human-focused design is all about – creating a world in which your employees can explore and feel the power of all 8 core drives of Octalysis’ Framework

 

Final thoughts

Your sales team is the front-facing part of your company. They have the most direct impact on your profits. So if ever there was a place for gamification and human-focused design, it’s in your sales processes. 

Most businesses have the right idea, intuitively, but they lack the guidance, insight, and knowledge of behavioral science that we, at Octalysis, have leveraged in our framework. 

So, we hope these tips will help you set sail on the right path. But in any case, we’re always here to answer any questions or guide your gamification implementation process! So give us a shout if you have any questions!