While companies say the primary purpose of a new breed of marketing automation tools is to identify new sales leads, sales directors are also impressed by the gamification features in these tools.
The new software companies identify better sales prospects based on complex criteria to deepen relationships with existing customers and identify problems before they result in customer defections. These technologies combine data from external databases, such as Experian, Dun & Bradstreet, public records and so forth with a company's internal CRM, marketing and other customer data.
Identifying solid sales prospects is a clear justification for choosing technology like Inside Sales, but Russ Hearl, vice president of global sales at San Francisco-based Double Dutch, said other features play into the success of the software as well, including gamification and sales teams' performance analytics.
Russ Hearlvice president of global sales, Double Dutch
Hearl said that Insides Sales taps into the sales person's natural competitive nature and provides some gamification tools to spur challenges among team members. One rep may challenge another to be the first to reach 60 calls throughout the day. "The person administering the challenge sends it to the recipient, it pops up on their screen and everyone else's screen as well. From my office, I'll hear the 'oohing' and 'aahing' of a throw down" in effect, he said.
Joseph Smith, manager of fiber broadband business development at North State Communications, a telecom provider in High Point, N.C., also uses gamification in boosting sales at his company. Smith uses Salesforce.com's Chatter and combines it with other social applications such as Foursquare and Instagram.
If Smith is out at a site, drumming up business, he might post a picture and a text to Chatter relaying new business he has secured. That's designed to spur the sales team back at the office or out on calls of their own to close deals. Smith also deploys badges and other kudos to congratulate sales team members on deals.
"If I strike deals with property management companies to expand our fiber network, I can take and post on Chatter, and people in the office can see the posts pop up," Smith said. "It takes it a step beyond and builds excitement for the sales team on how I'm building our fiber network."
Turning gamification into performance data
Hearl said the data also makes for easier conversations about sales performance. He can rely on data to help diagnose why a sales person isn't reaching quota and how to redirect efforts to meet monthly numbers. Instead of the old way of having to listen in on calls and watch his team "like a hawk," Hearl said he can now analyze the metrics from afar and make corrections during weekly check-ins.
Hearl said using gamification and data is ultimately about being able to grow his business and become more efficient without having to increase the price tag on staff resources.
"You need software to juggle and manage that many employees," Hearl said. "We don't have to pay for two additional managers working under me. I couldn't manage a team of 35 this way without a tool like this. That's huge."
For more on how these new lead generation tools are boosting sales, see part one.