The word “gamification” gets thrown around so much these days that, if you haven’t had any experience with it, you might imagine that it’s just another social media-era buzzword. That is, until you actually experience a gamified learning tool. No matter what information you’re using it to absorb, you’ll quickly realize that gamification is no game.
Setting goals and rewards, and of course making learning fun, are all well-established ways to increase the effectiveness of the teaching process. Gamification takes these classic teaching strategies and supercharges them with technology.
Users of gamified learning applications are set up to repeatedly challenge themselves on their topic of study—and winning means learning. That’s why the proliferation of cloud-based gamification apps has created nothing short of a renaissance in both self-paced study and in-depth training, letting people quickly build skills in areas as disparate as foreign languages and high-level IT.
So what does the proven success that gamified learning offers mean for the success of your partner program?
Well, put simply, there’s a lot to learn in the channel. And there are many different points throughout your channel program where you can apply cutting edge gamification techniques and solutions to get the most out of your reps and relationships. Read about a few of them below, do some planning, and let the games begin!
Gamifying the Onboarding Process
Channel sales reps who are just getting started need to hit the ground running. Almost from day one, they need to be able to talk about the ins and outs of your product like they were born knowing about it. This requires taking on a lot of information—quickly.
Reps are up against the speed of the sales cycle, and so they don’t have time to waste on training materials that either don’t engage their interest or don’t let them retain what they need to know. Gamifying the onboarding process and setting up a leaderboard to foster some healthy competition will make learning the ropes a competitive endeavor – and one that brings all your reps up to speed quickly and as a team.
Getting Reps Accustomed to Your New Products
A Gartner report found 70 percent of business transformation efforts fail due to lack of engagement. No wonder—we all like to work with what we know. When most people get word about a new software package that the office is supposed to use, they have the knee-jerk reaction to keep using what—in their approximation—has been working just fine.
But for channel and inbound sales staff, it’s imperative to go outside of the comfort zone with new products. You need reps to be on board with selling your product as soon as it’s ready for the shelf.
Gamification can be so effective—and so fun—that it can make even the most reticent, set-in-their-ways sales reps easily develop a working knowledge of whatever new product you’re launching, and get a kick out of doing it.
Building the Team
Why do people play pickup games of team sports? There’s two big reasons – for a little friendly competition and a lot of personal bonding. The same factors apply to gamified learning.
53 percent of technology stakeholders said that by 2020, the use of gamification will be widespread. While not a huge percentage, the other 42 percent still predicted that gamification would play an important role in 2020, but would not be as widespread.
In a global work environment where partners across the world might only get a chance to meet each other once a year, doing some gamified training together can make everyone—even though they’re competing in the exercise—feel like they’re part of the same team.
As they learn together, they’ll get to know each other and get to understand one another’s roles within the business. This sets up the framework for healthy, independent collaboration and mutual support long after the training has finished and the real selling has begun.
Spreading the Knowledge
One of the great parts about gamification is that it isn’t just for the top players. Sure, you’ll get those who win every time. But good gamified trainings don’t foster an environment that’s cutthroat. Rather, they bring everyone up together – so your best reps get better while the rest of the team learns.
Moreover, even if someone isn’t the highest performer in the company, there’s still something everyone else can learn from them. With the right gamification strategy, it encourages people not just to get on the leaderboard—but boosts your channel reps’ abilities across the board, with everyone learning from everyone else.