Are you considering implementing “gamification” at your company? Do you know what gamification is? And what it can do? Neither did I, until I researched it, implemented it, and saw a 200% increase in productivity over the past year!
ga∙mi∙fi∙ca∙tion [gay-muh-fi-kay-shuhn] - integrating game dynamics into your site, service, community, content or campaign, in order to drive participation.
We’ve all been exposed to gamification, whether through getting mileage with the airlines, or a credit card that gives you points, or Facebook.com Zynga style games… you know what it is. The question you ask yourself, is if it can really impact sales productivity at your company. I’m here to tell you – it can, and it has at ON24!
In early 2011, when I joined ON24, it was similar to most companies that I join – reps who have been on board for a long time, who are used to leads flowing in a certain way, maintaining a list of install base accounts, and covering a broad range of prospects from SMB to Enterprise to Strategic. Enter, a few new levels of leadership who are experienced leaders in setting up a competitive infrastructure designed to bring the highest levels of productivity possible to the organization. And in < 6 months, the culture was set, the teams in place, and productivity could soar.
The baseline – SalesForce.com and Data.com. Salesforce to run email campaigns, track leads, opps, accounts, build quotes, and everything a CRM should do. Data.com to bring in contacts–by the thousands. To be exact, in < 12 months 320,000 net new leads and contacts were brought into SalesForce.com, by the sales organization. Marketing did media spend, campaigns, and drove marketing leads, sales drove target accounts, specific industries and titles, and specific 1:1 messaging.
Next step – implement appexchange partners. Email marketing automation from the likes of ActOn, Marketo, or Eloqua (ActOn great for sales or marketing users, Marketo works for both, Eloqua designed for more complex marketing campaigns). Power Dialer from the likes of InsideSales.com or Refractive Dialer (IS for b2b or b2c, Refractive more b2c). And finally, a gamification application to sit on top of SalesForce.com such as Achievers, Badgeville, Bunchball or Hoopla (all ON24 customers by the way)!
Step 1 – Enable sales users with Data.com for Salesforce to allow them to pull contacts/leads on a nearly unlimited basis.
Step 2 – Enable sales users with ActOn, Genius or Marketo ($100M+ company, may need to go eloqua), < $100M company almost certainly ActOn, Genius or Marketo a perfect fit who can scale from a few users up to hundreds).
Step 3 – Set up your SalesForce.com dashboards (red, yellow, green goes a long way to driving gamification, with the CRM you already have)!
Step 4 – Power Dialer for SalesForce.com from InsideSales.com. Insure website/marketing leads are called in < 15 minutes driving 100X better results. Enable local presence to drive 3-4X better contact rates. Sales leverage to the max.
Step 5 – Once you have deployed the “right metrics” to drive the right behaviors, enable Hoopla. Hoopla gamifies the dashboard with real-time performance streamed to a HDTV in every office. Pipeline, activity, bookings, whatever behaviors and outcomes you want to track. Click here to watch a short video on how Hoopla impacted sales at ON24.
Step 6 – Iterate, and iterate some more. You can always get better. Learn what other companies are doing to track behaviors, how they are rewarding employees, and implement pilot programs to drive productivity.
The results? Come and learn more at Dreamforce 2012 in San Francisco, CA on September 18th at Mascone Center at the Gamification track where I’ll be covering these topics and more!
I’ll give you the big one – 200% increase in high value sales qualified leads & opportunities to feed the sales engine! To learn the rest, and participate in the gamification track at Dreamforce, login to your agenda and sign up on the waiting list. The session “sold out” the first day, and we’re trying to move to a larger room. I hope to see everyone there, and if you are looking to implement 1) “Sales/Marketing Automation” or 2) Power Dialer, or 3) Gamification such as Hoopla, feel free to email me, I’m happy to meet for breakfast or sometime during the event.
A sales rep said on a forecast call that he was “close” to bringing a deal in. The SVP said, “you don’t get paid for close in sales“.
How true this is. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “we’re close”!
Are you a hiring manager for Inside Sales Professionals? What are the best practices that you use when hiring?
Help us “crowd source” this one to get at the root of what Inside Sales Managers should be looking for to hire A Players in Inside Sales! Once we get to 100+ responses, results will be published back to the community. Thanks for your two minute investment of time! Link to the survey: http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22C9S43UHEL/
In 2011, there are so many different “flavors” of ISRs in the marketplace, what steps can a manager take to make sure to hire the “right” candidates for the particular role you are hiring for? The tips below will be applicable for quota carrying ISR roles, and likely most other type of ISR roles as well.
Kevin Gaither, Director of Inside Sales at Focus.com read about 8 books on this subject, and shared some of the takeaways at the recent American Association of Inside Sales Professionals Event in San Francisco. And a few sales executive mentors have also shared advice over the years–below find some of the takeaways.
- Start the interview by making the candidate at ease–take off your coat, can I get you something to drink? You want to make sure that they aren’t canned and you get a read of the “real person”.
- Ask the candidate the question, “tell me about a time you were competitive recently”. See what you get in response. You are looking for a true competitor and they can tell you many many times they were competitive.
- “Tell me a time you had to sacrifice for a role?” This one shows you their motivation level.
- One thing you MUST find out, is the candidate intelligent, and do they have a great work ethic? A good way to learn about their “smarts”… Ask the question, “when did you graduate from high school?” Then look at college graduation date. Is it 4 years, 4.5 years, 6-7 years? Probably not a good sign of someone who is dedicated and smart if it took 8 years. Or even worse, they list the college misrepresenting that they actually graduated. Be careful. (note: this feedback came from an SVP I worked for, it’s not always accurate, but good information to understand the person you are considering hiring).
- “Stick-to-ativeness”. One of the best leaders I’ve worked for, looks for stick-to-ativeness. Do they commit to a company for 3 years, or do they jump every 6 months? Sometimes there are good reasons, but 5 jobs in a row, < 1 year, really?
- Another good one: “what are you good at”?
- And “sell me this pen”?
There are a lot of techniques that you should use when interviewing candidates. Consider that the cost of hiring a bad candidate is the time you invest in their on-boarding, recruiter fees if there is one, and opportunity cost of low revenues for the territory they are in. It takes time to learn this skill. Learn from your leaders who are good at it. Make sure to compare notes after every interview with your leader. At first, you and your executive leader may be far off – from definitely hire to open, but not sure. Over time, as you take some short courses, read a book or two, you should get to be very close to the same answer every time.
The grading I learned from someone ex-Google HR:
- (don’t hire)
If you can have people doing the interviews for you focus on specific areas/questions, and then rate the candidate in these areas with the scale above, it works very well. It’s very obvious when 5 interviewers say +, +, + , Open +, +. You should hire that person! +, -, Open -, -, -, probably not a good hire.
Good luck out there!
At the 4th quarter Silicon Valley Chapter Meeting of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals, Skip Miller, Author and Sales Trainer, reminded a roomful of 50+ Inside Sales Leaders & Sales Professionals some basic truths about selling.
1) Most participants had a tendency to ask “what are you looking for in a solution” and those kinds of questions. Skip says, “what caused you to look into our solution?”. SIMPLE tweak, enormous implications. He also pointed out that in 2008, the difference between the #1 golfer in the world and #150 (< 2 strokes/game). The difference in pay: MILLIONS.
2) There are two buying cycles in a typical sale — the user buying process and economic buying process. Typically, a user buyer presentation follows the traditional format of “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them”. The economic buyer wants to be validated! ASK THEM, TELL THEM, ASK THEM. Meaning–in a 30 minute call, ask questions for 15 minutes, when you’ve asked the right questions, TELL THEM, “yes, we can do that”, and then ask them how to move forward.
Koka Sexton, Social Marketing at Inside View also presented some game changing ideas about leveraging social media in sales campaigns. He challenged some of the traditional thinking that marketing should be using social media to sell and shared concepts/strategies that sales professionals are using on a daily basis. He went so far as to say that if you are not using these tactics, your competition is and likely you will be passed by. Think about the time when email first came out more than a decade ago–were you resistant to change? Think about the “LEAD SOURCE” in your CRM for deals you close. What % are Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, or other social networking sites? What percentage will it be 1 year from now, 2 years from now, or 5 years from now?
Fundamental sales methodologies haven’t changed dramatically in a hundred years. However, technology, access of information, and web 2.0 selling has changed the landscape. The trick for the top 10% of sales people is to keep up with the new technologies and leverage them better than the competition, and better than other sales professionals.
Are you currently a top 10%’er? What are you doing to insure that you are in the next few years to stay at the top! Check out http://www.aa-isp.org to learn more about the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals. National meeting to be held at San Francisco Hyatt in Burlingame February 10, 2011.
When you are thinking about enhancing a professional selling team, and professional development, there are really three choices: Train, transfer or terminate.
Train – Do you have realistic goals and measures? Did your team participate in the creation of them to make sure they are “SMART” goals? Once the goals are in place, have you invested resources and time to train on best practices?
Transfer – Does the particular employee do a good job, maybe not the right fit for the role they are in? Are there alternative roles they could do well in? Whether in your department or someone else’s? Consider a transfer. This can lead to a great fit for the employee and better morale for the rest of the team.
Terminate – This should be an absolute last resort. You or your predecessor hired this individual, they must have seen promise in their skills, motivations and capability. Does this employee know their goals? Are they clearly spelled out both in 1:1s and in writing? Have you shown them “how to” when it comes to areas of improvement? To be fair to your company, and to the employee, and to yourself, make sure there is an action plan for improvement and a path to success spelled out. 90 percent of the time, employees don’t know what they aren’t doing “right” and when it’s made clear more than half the time can usually turn it around.
Know your team and individual employees strengths and weaknesses and consider the three Ts!