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Sales professionals were motivated by gamified rewards long before the term “gamification” arrived. The interplay of data streams, graphics and streaming video offers new ways to gamify the sales pro’s experience. Today, the path from data gathering to data display is easier and more direct than ever. Information from Salesforce or Excel is communicated quickly and clearly to hard-working sales pros.
The explosive growth of gamification is undeniable. According to Business Wire, a Research and Markets report estimates 2015 global gamification revenue at $1.65 billion, and it projects annual revenue of $11.10 billion by 2020. The continued expansion of the social media market is a key reason for this impressive 46.3 percent CAGR. If anyone doubts the motivating power of gamified experiences, think back to July 2016, when Pokemon Go motivated tens of millions of people to scurry about their communities in search of Pokemon. According to CNBC, the app generated more than $200 million in revenue in July alone. BBC News reported how a man quit his full-time bartender job in New Zealand to set off on a perpetual quest for Pokemon across Australia.
Gamification is so powerful in part because it enhances pleasure and well-being through brain chemistry. By creating pleasurable experiences, gamification stimulates the production of “feel good” neurotransmitters in the brain, especially dopamine. These molecules transmit messages from one neuron to the next, hence the term “neurotransmitter.” The “runner’s high” is rooted in the release of dopamine. Although both aerobic and anaerobic exercise release dopamine, so too will various forms of psychological stimulation. Properly harnessed in the sales space, a system of rewards promotes the release of dopamine, enhancing an individual’s pleasurable experiences. This sense of well-being enhances productivity. P. Read Montague, a researcher at the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at the Baylor University College of Medicine, speaks of this dopamine release as the “proverbial carrot, a reward the brain doles out to networks of neurons for making survival-enhancing choices.”
Since sales tasks sometimes get repetitive or even burdensome, gamifying the experience lightens the load as sales pros feast on rewards and recognition. In a world of cold calling, rejections and long-term lead cultivation, gamified experiences are most welcome. Also, digital displays offset feelings of isolation through team-building and engagement. Digital signage and TV displays offer rewards that are convenient, affordable and sustainable. Recognition delivered through TV leaderboards are effective because of their immediacy. They are delivered instantaneously and publicly. This process fosters pride in achievement among one’s peers, thereby enhancing self-esteem. A winning team member’s name on top of the leaderboard is just one reward. Gamification transports individuals from the present to the closed sale via incremental rewards, like celebratory messages and digital sales gongs.