Get Serious About Training: Play Some Games!

Posted by Guest Contributor on 1/14/15 3:46 PM



iPad_ProgressionGame-938959-editedTraditional sales training can take sales representatives away from actual selling for extended periods and represents a major investment. But training is necessary for the sales force that delivers great results, and when representatives are unable to complete their training, they can lose out on incentives and fail to realize their goals.

Implementing effective adult learning requires understanding of a few key principles:

  • Adult learners need to feel respected
  • They need to see some immediate impact of learning
  • They need a safe learning environment
  • They need to be engaged in learning tasks
  • The learning needs to be relevant to their needs

Games can be an effective learning modality in adults and can help them learn details that are too often lost with the traditional training materials involving three-ring binders and multiple-choice quizzes. Better still, gamification of the training process allows sales professionals to take brief chunks of downtime during their day to pursue their sales training by doing something engaging that can be picked up and put down as the situation dictates. 

Why Games?

Games used for sales training can be fun and engaging if designed well. When a learning experience is interesting, acquiring new knowledge isn't a chore, and participants actually look forward to learning sessions. Here are some other reasons games make good sales training modalities:
  • The missions are clear, and sustainable learning works best when the learner has a "mission" and completes it.
  • They are rewarding by design, with rewards given that are tied to the challenge level of the task.
  • They appeal to the competitive spirit in a fun way. Sales professionals are often competitive by nature, and gamification of sales training satisfies this competitive spirit.
  • Failure isn't catastrophic. Gaming appeals to a person's desire to go back, work on their skills, and try again. Roadblocks in traditional learning can cause people to give up more easily.

Does It Work?

Results have been encouraging. A Salesforce survey of 100 companies using gamification in sales training found that 90.4% of respondents considered their gamification initiatives successful. Seventy-one percent said they saw increases in measured sales performance of 11% to 50%.

Benefits

Besides being engaging, gamification in sales training has other benefits. For one thing, it taps into sales professionals' competitive and ambitious side. They can see clearly how they compare to peers and can work toward real world prizes (like a dinner out for the winning sales team). Games can also encourage collaboration, which can build team unity in a world where more sales professionals work remotely. This can lead to increased dialogue among sales representatives about challenges and best practices. Often it can prompt new performers to seek out coaching from sales leaders or peers with good performance in a way that inspires rather than discourages.

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Combining games with leaderboards enhances rep engagement.



Getting Started

The first step is defining a specific business objective around which the game will be constructed. Identifying the sales data that is expected to change and how it is expected to change as a result of gamified training is also important. For most companies, working with a sales training provider that offers both off-the-shelf and custom training games is preferable to the expense that would be involved in developing games in-house. 

Conclusion

Many people thought that gamification of training would be a fad, and yet it has grown significantly, flourishing and helping sales teams deliver quantifiable improvements while enjoying this aspect of training immensely. CLD is a leading provider of  sales training programs and offers both ready-made and custom training games in single-player, multi-player, online, and offline versions. CLD is ready to assist pharmaceutical, medical, and life sciences companies in developing and implementing training programs that deliver results relevant to today's sales environment. With proven training scenarios delivered in creative, engaging formats, CLD keeps yoursales professionals productive, sharpening your competitive edge.

Topics: Sales Reps Tools for Sales Trainers Gamification