Sales Gamification: 3 Things We Learned From Interviewing 100 Sales Directors

Austin Rolling

Dec 20, 2022

Webster defines gamification as the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something (such as a task) so as to encourage participation. While the word “gamification” is a 21st-century addition to the English lexicon, it’s concept is not new. Gamification can be applied to virtually all aspects of our existence. This includes situations that's we might not view as a game. An example is the popular game theory scenario of Prisoner’s Dilemma where two inmates are interrogated by law officers and given the choice of confession, reducing their individual prison sentence (at the expense of the other accomplice) or remaining silent (which potentially benefits both).

The theories behind gamification surpass various forms of study (e.g. economics, psychology, mathematics, history, etc.) However, for many of us, the first things that usually come to mind are board games and video games such as Chess and Pac-Man. Although, I do consider myself an enthusiast of gaming in these forms, I’m quite interested in how game mechanics can be leveraged to drive business strategies. More specifically, over the last few years I’ve focused my attention towards the application of gaming principles to sales execution. This is otherwise known as Sales Gamification.

Sales Gamification is the process of applying game mechanics to normal everyday sales tasks. The intention behind Sales Gamification is to alter sales reps’ behavior in a way that maximizes their productivity. For example, offering a steak dinner as a reward to the sales rep with the most referrals for the month.

Recently, myself and a few colleagues published a 50-Page White Paper On Sales Gamification. In preparation, we interviewed 100 sales directors across the United States on how they leveraged Sales Gamification into their sales execution strategy. Based on what we learned, we were able to present tips to sales managers who might be considering adding gamification to their sales ops.

The objective of the research was to know if the interviewees used game mechanics, how they used them, and what the results were. We learned many things throughout this process. However, there were three significant data points that you should be aware of if you’re unsure about incorporating gamification into your sales operations.

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1. Sales Performance When Sales Gamification Was Applied

According to our research, 90% of sales directors we surveyed said gamification had positive impacts on sales numbers and revenue. On the list of personality traits linked to highly productive sales professionals, you’ll find a need for accomplishment, a desire for recognition, along with an inherent competitive drive.

According to Steve Elliot, a Franchise Owner at Restoration 1 (Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 company):

“I feel that encouraging staff to accept new technologies within any firm is difficult. Companies invest a substantial amount of effort and money in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system because it can be customized to match their individual needs. Thus, CRM is an essential sales tool for tracking new and current clients. Since a result, it is imperative that data is recorded properly and promptly into the CRM system, as this information will be utilized to make vital business choices inside the organization. By harnessing gamification concepts and applying them to human behavior, CRM Gamified has updated a traditional technique. The design of gamification eliminates current barriers that inhibit or delay employee adoption of new technologies. In other words, it encourages human conduct that will increase the amount and quality of consumer data.”

Sales Gamification - Closers Banner

2. The Impact Sales Gamification Has On Company Culture

Gamification has a profound effect on team culture. Of those that responded to implementing a form of gamification into their sales execution strategy, 95% of sales managers said it had positively impacted the team culture and camaraderie within the organization.

In a U.S. economy that loses more than $500 billion every year due to workplace stress (American Psychological Association), company culture is more important than ever. Positive team culture is something that only you can define for your team, but it is something that can go beyond “having fun at work.”

Positive team culture is often represented by characteristics such as comradery, a growing communication between team members, lack of burnout, and the ability to continuously perform at a high level, regardless of the challenges ahead. Your team culture sets the tone for how your team works together, as well as how they manage hardships and accomplishments on their own.

3. The Group That Was Most Responsive To Game Mechanics

Past experiences, age and motivational forces all contribute to the success of your applied gaming mechanics. In fact, our data showed that gamification was most successful with reps ranging from 21-35 years old. According to an article by, Millennials will began to dominate the workforce by 2025.

We think this point is critically important to the future on how we will adopt and think about applications. Closer’s Coffee wrote a whole separate article titled ‘Gamifying the Next Generation of Sales Reps’.


In 2014, a Reuters study gathered that about 50% of Millennials placed a high level of value to being noticed. Moreover, a third would hold competition as a catalyst for better results, improving work ethic, and increasing team collaboration.

If you haven’t considered applying sales gamification to your sales execution strategy, the time for you to do so is now. Shifts in technology, changes in workforce values, and the increased pressure to improve sales performance is demanding a new perspective in how to drive business sales forward. There are many ways to tie sales gamification to your execution strategy. Consider the emergence of the Gaming CRM.

As sales leaders, we have to be constantly thinking about how well we’re adapting to a new world of competition, which now includes the gaming economy.

If you would like to read our white paper A Complete Guide to Gamifying Sales Strategies click here.


Outfield is a performance based CRM company that specializes in leveraging game theory and behavioral psychology to drive CRM adoption, motivation, and overall productivity among sales organizations. With customers in over 50 countries, Outfield’s gaming CRM helps teams work simpler, smarter, and more effectively. Becoming the world’s most highly adopted CRM is their mission, and their vision is to accomplish this by creating a platform that is aligned with the values of the up and coming generation of sales people.

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