With many businesses switching to remote working to keep their operations up and running throughout the coronavirus pandemic, this is creating a whole new way of working for many employees, and sales teams are no exception.
But keeping these workers motivated and productive when working from home might be a particular challenge, as this department typically attracts people who are extroverted and thrive on personal connections. These are among the qualities that often make the best salesperson, but it also may mean they're less comfortable working in an isolated environment.
Therefore, it's essential you're taking steps to keep morale high and ensure they remain focused during these times - especially as many are predicting greater amounts of home working will remain a part of business life long after the coronavirus threat has passed. And one solution that's likely to prove effective is gamification.
This approach, which applies elements of gaming such as scoring points to day-to-day work activities, can address some of the major concerns businesses may have related to remote working, including:
- Communication: gamification can tackle issues of isolation by keeping people in touch, whether this is via instant messaging or video call. Sending congratulations when someone hits a target and comparing notes on how people are tackling their work are among the ways to ensure brief interactions are kept up throughout the day
- Trust: a major worry for many companies is how they can ensure their employees are still working when out of sight. But gamification can create hard figures that show the progress people are making, and doesn't feel as intrusive as some other tracking methods
- Culture: home workers may worry they're missing out on the company's culture, but with the right strategy, gamification can maintain these links, encouraging teamwork, contests and competition among employees
However, to make sure you're doing this correctly, there are a few key tips you should keep in mind.
1. Don't just focus on goals
Having targets - which should follow the guidelines set out in the SMART method - is an essential part of gamification, but to be successful, you don't just need to track the results, but also how your team is getting there. Understanding the behaviors that lead to the best results isn't just good for your overall performance - it helps keep team members motivated. Tracking completed calls, follow-up actions, opportunities and qualified leads are among the metrics you can look at.
2. Have the right tools
While it's possible to set up your own gamification hubs that can keep track of your team’s performance, there’s also a range of dedicated apps available that can offer a dashboard, from features within large, well-known enterprise software providers to smaller, more specialized startups. As well as monitoring work activities, these can offer colorful, personalized interfaces that keep things fun.
3. Keep your teams connected
Maintaining communication is vital when people are isolated, so make sure you find reasons to get together over video chats. For example, set up tasks or friendly competitions that require teams of two or more, and have daily or weekly catchups where team members can share their success and celebrate milestones together.
4. Have the right rewards
Any gamification is only as good as the rewards on offer - if people don't see an incentive for performing well, they won't be motivated to take part. Therefore, the right rewards are vital. Many gamification apps can also offer smaller rewards, like badges and medals that show the progress people are making. They may only be small things, but they can go a long way towards keeping people motivated and connecting them to the wider company.
However, don't assume these will be enough. More traditional prizes for the best performers over time, such as vouchers, extra days off, or a lie-in, will also be gratefully received - and the right gamification tools make it easy to assess who your top performers are on a wider variety of metrics than might otherwise be possible.