Gamification Strategies in CRM Software Development

2014-08-08 by Marina Astapchik

The mission of CRM software is to increase sales and profit. It seems to be a paradox but one can implement CRM into a server or a computer, still not into employees' thinking and working mentality. In other words, many companies are facing a user adoption problem. According to Salesforce 50% of CRM implementation fail despite the fact that companies spend unimaginable amounts of money on CRMs. Meanwhile, labor is one of the biggest expenses of a company, that's why CRM should be profitable.

What can make an employee use CRM? How and where can one find an employee incentive solution? How can companies deliver superior service, close incidents faster and boost in sales?

What about jumping on a fun wagon? The British scientists have evidence that dopamine, a brain substance involved in learning, reinforcement of behavior, attention and sensorimotor integration, is released during a game. That could be a "neuro" explanation to the fact that more and more companies add game elements to everyday routine operations and traditionally non-game context. Why not? After all, sales managers are eager to identify the correct behavior they believe their employees should implement.

That's the core of "gamification". On the whole, business gamification today is a strong trend that has already become a survival strategy for big companies to stay prosperous and profitable. Sales force can be forced to use CRM, but lack of inspiration will not contribute to the optimum sales growth.

At the same time games, have been played since ancient times because they are fun and make people feel privileged and powerful. That's psychology behind the idea of gamification. Gamified CRM is a response to people's craving for rewards and praise. People's vanity in CRM is satisfied with points, scores, badges, leaderboard ranking, levels that are aimed at dragging desired behaviors.

Thus, what are the strategies that keep CRM sticky or how can dopamine be released in an effective way? To answer this vital question, one should appeal to psychology and make a little bit of analysis.

Let's begin with psychology that is in each of us. Let us remind our childhood. We were given an ice-cream when we were good, chocolate when we were quiet, money when we were good at school. Our parents praised us with a "good boy" or a "good girl" when we did something that pleased them.

The same principles can be applied to CRM gamification. Punishments should be out and rewards should be in. Why use the stick, when we can better teach a one by using a carrot?

1. Reward success with points/scores/badges. For example, an employee can be rewarded with points for creating contacts within a CRM system or doing CRM-related tasks. Points/scores/badges and their number attributed to employees are defined by sales managers. Some companies insert points/scores/badges on the service front, for instance, for successfully resolved calls. A certain sum of scores/points for CRM transactions may result in an extra day off, a new mobile phone, a trip to Miami after all!
One can differentiate rewards like this: points are awarded to CRM users for every action performed, badges — for accomplishing specific milestones such as winning more sales opportunities. Accomplishment of specific tasks is praised with bonus points or higher levels awards.

2. Take advantage of a team environment. This strategy is also connected with score attribution or progress bar etc. Small competitions between different departments of a company can include CRM software transactions of the staff. The benefit is double. On the one hand, one can see a contribution of each player into the team's activity, on the other hand, managers can see progress of a department against company's goals. The CRM software companies report that more sales staff are achieving more goals more quickly. As a reward here, companies can assign the winners to a cool project as well.

3. Enhance CRM with levels. Silver, gold, platinum ones as usual. Unique rewards for each level. Yellow, red, green. The user profile can be updated with color and the entire company will know about her/his achievement that is on a display for all to see.

4. Just foster CRM adoption. It's clear that sales deals can be accomplished not only within CRM systems. That's where the challenge lies. Attribution more scores to those employees who constantly use CRM to process a request and close a deal.

5. Use leaderboards and make them available to be seen.

6. Labeling. "The most sociable person" (according to call ratio, for example), "the most active CRM user" (the biggest number of CRM transactions), "the hitter of the month" (correct execution of the plan), "the best seller", etc. That will be a tag which the user is entitled to have until someone supersedes him/her.

Simple and effective, still not enough. The other stratum of the CRM gamification strategies is comprehensive analysis of the gamification data. Here, one can answer some important questions:

1. How often do employees use CRM, when do they do it, how days off affect the use of CRM? This data will allow the managers to insert game elements at the right time.
2. Which gamification is the most successful or effective to encourage the team?
3. Were it useful to make an analysis of sales and to insert gamified elements after a sales recession?

According to CSO Insights 50% of sales companies run sales contests several times throughout the year. 73% report that they are organizing more sales contents than before, 54% are running 2 or more every month. At the same time, Salesforce say that 84% of the companies surveyed reported an increase in CRM adoption after games implementation. As far as sales increase is concerned, CRM gamification is of advantage for winning customers as well. The strategy here is to offer unique rewards for clients. For example, trial products and pre-release product information. A feeling of uniqueness flatters. Why not use it?

As a separate point to be mentioned, one should stress making CRM interactive. That is a kind of game as well. Under interaction we mind a possibility for employees to self-evaluate, exchange views, share experience within CRM as well as a possibility to comment and exchange ideas. Interaction within CRM will contribute to a feeling of importance of each employee who leaves ideas to improve the product or shares his/her knowledge.

To sum it all up, it should be stressed that companies need a comprehensive approach to CRM gamification to make it effective and encompass all the CRM gamification strategies possible. If one can combine useful and nice things, why not do so?

Elinext Group projects:

CRM system (in Software as a Service model)
SaaS CRM system for financial services provider

Industries and Technology Areas:

Industries: software development

Technology Areas: web development, php software development, custom software development, crm software development

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