Gamified CRM?


Gamified CRM sounds really cool, I used to enjoy playing a lot of computer games before I had real responsibilities. But in the quest to closer align sales force productivity with sales force application effectiveness, I guess it is worth a try. The first time I heard of this idea was in 1995, at the dawn of CRM and when client-server apps were cutting edge. I was working for Aurum Software as a demo sales engineer and the company had hired a consultant who introduced us to the notion of gamified sales processes.

Although we spent about a week trying to figure out how to gamify Aurum Sales, we ended up dropping the project because we could not get comfortable that sales reps really wanted a play experience instead of a focused sales experience. In the end, the classic sales funnel or sales pipeline could not be replaced with a game because it was pretty obvious to us, sales is not a game, it is a serious skill with quantifiable results and rewards.

This year gamification has risen in popularity and even Haley was getting excited about it. At first I thought, OMG, this is a distraction and a toy but the more I have thought about it, I am actually starting to like the idea again. We have been working on several new gamification ideas for X2CRM but nothing concrete yet. The issue I can not get over is that I do not belive that sales forces really care about games, and you are not going to close any more deals faster with the twitch of your thumbs.

But, being in sales can become boring after years of doing the same job, selling the same products to the same prospects so adding some entertainment into the sales reps life could improve moral, results and likely employee retention. I believe the key is to strike the right balance between creating a new competitive leader-board and such with the real competitive game that reps have always played amongst themselves to be the Top Rep for the company, region or department.

So just when I had decided to cave in and fully embrace gamification, Gartner published this note “Gartner Says by 2014, 80 Percent of Current Gamified Applications Will Fail to Meet Business Objectives Primarily Due to Poor Design.” Wow, I did not see this coming based on all the recent hype. Still, for all my doubts I am starting to belive that sales gamification, designed and aligned with real world sales processes can increase sales force effectiveness and efficiency – and increase the every day enjoyment of being a sales professional.


Kathy Eckel