Building sales training programs for B2B professionals means understanding some of their common traits:

  • Enthusiasm for a challenge
  • Enjoyment of solving problems
  • Goal oriented
  • Persistence
  • Quick thinking
  • Socially motivated

If you think about these characteristics, you can see how of someone who would be motivated by sales training with a gamification twist. You don’t need elaborate prizes, or to spend a great deal of time and money in an elaborate program. It’s not always the prey which makes the hunt so exhilarating. It’s often the thrill of the chase itself.

If you have any question in your mind about the potential of gamification in sales training, think about the SPIF. The Sales Performance Incentive Fund. Get your B2B sales reps to sell more by offering a prize or lump sum of money.

Here’s how to leverage Gamification strategies into your next training event

Step 1:  Evaluate the Players

Think about the B2B sales pros in training. Questions to ask yourself:

  • How do your sales reps interact with each other?
  • What skills do you want to build with the training?

             o   Product knowledge

             o   Closing techniques

             o   Handling objections

  • Would they benefit from teaming with other reps in a gaming scenario? Or, would a “lone wolf” competition be a better scenario?
  • Should the training game be held at a single event like an annual kickoff event work? Or would an extended competition be more effective?
  • How can the training be delivered, while minimizing the impact on your team meeting their customer obligations?

Step 2: Select Tools to Make it Happen

You may have elected to use an interactive role playing challenge, delivered online. Perhaps a live presentation in front of an audience of your executives might be more fitting to give your team the opportunity to strut their stuff. If you are releasing a new product or offering a new service, rewarding your team for learning about the new offerings, and proving it in tests is a great strategy.

Step 3: Develop the Learning Materials

Depending on the timeframe you are working with for the training, build a core “playbook”, a question set, and/or set of ground rules to base the game on. You can base the game on a TV game show, make the materials required reading before an event, or make the materials a take away which you sales team can leverage in their day to day job going forward. Examples of these takeaways include:

  • Customer personas and buyer behavior profiles
  • Solution playbooks to be applied with prospects
  • Slide deck printouts with room for note taking
  • Prizes of some sort. It could be cash, gift cards, or even some gag trophies

Step 4: Invite Feedback Before Prime Time

You can prepare, research, worry, make changes and fret forever. Truth is, getting sales management to give you feedback on your training can let you know if you’ve got a winning training program on your hands, or if you should go back to the drawing board. You’ll want to have sales managers play a key role during the game, and since you’ll be working with their reps, managers will appreciate being consulted before…

Step 5: Game On!

When you have received the green light for your sales training program, and the gamification elements you’ve embedded into it, put your plan into action. As the training facilitator, try and be as involved in the process as much as possible, but don’t be afraid to delegate responsibility. Enlist sales managers, sales operations staff and other cross-functional team members who are available. If you can ramp up the skills of the sales team, and help build relationships across your company, you’ll have a Win-Win situation on your hands!

When sales representatives are so caught up in the gamification elements of your training program that they forget they are in a training program, you have great engagement! It’s like the “Sell Me This Pen” challenge which is often used in sales interviews or sales training events. Challenging sales reps to practice their skills in a positive environment, where making mistakes is allowed, (or even encouraged) is a great environment for trainers and trainees. Try and maintain good energy in a central training room, but if possible let sales reps spread out into other parts of the building to do their research if possible.

Step 6 – To the Victor Go the Spoils

You want your sales team to all go away from your training course, feeling they have had some valuable experiences, and picked up some tips and tricks which will help them to succeed in their careers. If your company’s sales reps (or your client’s sales reps) can raise their game, based on your training program – you can look like a hero. Be sure to request feedback from the “students” in you training classes to ensure if you do run the course again, you can tweak your material accordingly.

Try to keep connected with your sales team to see if they are applying the practices they were taught in your class. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t use it, you lose it!” so make sure you remind sales reps of what they learning in your course.

Gamification can transform a run of the mill, monotonous learning experience into an engaging, educational experience for a B2B sales team. As a Training Manager, you want to ensure your courses are kept current, are impactful, and are memorable. If your company’s sales team only gets together on rare occasions, implementing technology solutions which can facilitate distance learning can make all the distance.

Has your company implemented gamification as a training strategy? Tell us about it in the comments! For solutions to engaging your sales team and helping them raise their game, contact a HireVue Accelerate sales professional today!

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