share
by Deanna Ting | November 28, 2014
When Erica Juhl, sales operations specialist for Minneapolis-based alternative advertising company All Over Media, was looking for a way to motivate her salespeople, she and her executive team were inspired by one of the most popular games to emerge in the past 15 years -- fantasy football, an $800-million industry that encompasses about 33 million players, according to market research company Ipsos and the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. It's even inspired a popular TV sitcom on FX network, The League.

"We wanted to find ways to motivate them that were different, unique, and fun at the same time, and we wanted to create new habits," Juhl explains. "That's how we came across the Fantasy Sales Team program."

Fantasy Sales Team is a gamified version of fantasy football that works through Salesforce and is meant to boost sales and increase employee engagement. Adam Hollander, founder and CEO of Fantasy Sales Team, developed it when he realized that his traditional sales contests and incentive programs weren't achieving the type of success he had hoped. "My top performers were always winning my contests, but I really needed to focus on the other 80 percent of my team," he says. "It dawned on me that I was demotivating them, because they felt like they didn't have a chance to win.

"At the time, I noticed that a lot of my sales reps were playing fantasy football, so I tried to create ways to bring the passion that they had for it into the office environment," adds Hollander. "I thought, 'What if I create a game where the reps need to push and rely on each other and become invested in each other's success?' Very much like fantasy football where you draft a team of players, I came up with a model where my reps drafted teams made up of other sales reps, and they earned points based on the points earned by the players on their teams."

Since using Fantasy Sales Team this March, All Over Media has seen some improvements. "The biggest outcome of this has been changing our sales team's habits in Salesforce," says Juhl. "It's motivated our sales team to enter information into Salesforce correctly, and to earn points. That information helps our upper management better understand and monitor our sales pipeline."

Achieving that ROI is what makes the initiative a tool rather than just a game for All Over Media. Getting there is a puzzle that many companies looking to unleash the engagement potential of gamification are looking to solve. Here's a road map for how some of the more successful ones are doing it.