The Top 6 CRM Gamification Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them!)

When we implement Gamification on our CRM, we expect to take full advantage of it. Right?

In this post, we are going to show you the most common mistakes during this process, so you can be aware and avoid them at all costs. Don’t let any small hiccups stop you from getting all the benefits from your new Gamification!

To give you an accurate approach, we have merged our personal experience in the Gamification field, with various testimonials from other CRM Gamification Experts. Check out this list and take note:

When Gamification and CRM are working together, is very common to use the prize appeal. People become more engaged when they have a tangible reward.

Yet, according to Nicolas Babin, ranked #1 Gamification Guru in March 2018 by Rise Global list’s, there is a gap in this technique.

“The biggest mistake one could say is when people game the system, meaning they use gamification to win a prize and in the meantime, they do not fill out the CRM system correctly or honestly”, Nicolas pointed out.

When you advertise a very attractive reward, people will do whatever it takes to win (even cheat). Instead of the “achievement” being the most important, the prize itself becomes the main focus.

“To prevent that, it is important to not offer great prices and to ensure borders, so that no one can game the system and cheat”, advised Nicolas.

Prizes are useful to establish and align common goals with your team, but It should solely be a recognition symbol for the good work and commitment of the reps.

Some of our clients used to reward their team members with tangible prizes such as concert tickets, trips, etc. This is great, although we have noticed that the most stimulating prize for sales reps is much simpler: recognition.

Displaying their names on Leaderboards generates a constant appreciation internally, for their hard work. This also catches the eye of Managers and C- Level Employees. Imagine the CEO seeing your Big Sale on the screen. That’s a real prize.

“The biggest mistake is thinking that gamification alone will solve long-term issues with using CRM (or any service). If the root issue is not understood (why are people not doing what I want them to do) then gamification will often only add a novelty boost in activity.”, pointed Andrezj Marczewski, author of Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play (2015).

As mentioned above, when we acquire a new tool we expect to see the “magic” happening instantly, and forget that it usually starts off as only that: a tool. Like any tool, it needs a context to function. It also needs someone to handle it. It can’t do the whole job by itself.

To begin you must ask yourself: why are you using a CRM and why is the CRM important to the company and the company’s goals? Once you have these answers, you must communicate them to your team. Then only after that, can you begin to take advantage of Gamification.

Andrzej recommendation is right along these same lines “you need to educate people about why they need to use the CRM first, then start to apply things that make that use feel rewarding and (if such a thing is possible) fun. But they have to understand the real value to them and the company first!”

We’ve written about the challenges of implementing a CRM and incentivizing the user adoption. Check it out if you want to learn more about the 10 Deadly Sins in CRM User Adoption.

Mistake 3 — Starting with a Complex Gamification Model

Pablo Peralta, the founder of one of the biggest LATAM CRM communities, also shared some insights. For him, one of the most common mistakes is “starting with a complex gamification model and using complex gamified dynamics”.

A lot of people that have never tried gamification before, try to jump into it using complex techniques and features. This can easily confuse, and create the illusion that gamification is tricky stuff. This can also result in a lot of mishaps.

“Gamification must be implemented in a very simple model. Like giving points to the reps who follow the behavior that you want them to, measuring impact and so on. Then, with time and feedback, starting to introduce badges and other prizes”.

According to Pablo, “the best option in corporate environments is to start with the most basic stuff”. This means the most basic gamification techniques and methods.

Next, Pablo suggests to “introduce the concept and which behaviors you want to reward. Keep measuring the members’ feedback and allowing them to adopt it.”

Finally, Pablo suggests that increasing the complexity of the gamification solution is the best route, but to do it slowly. This involves things such as “introducing badges and other prizes”.

Mistake 4 — Applying a Short-Term Gamification Strategy

We talked to Michael Wu, recognized as an Influential Leader by CRM Magazine, and his message to us was clear: short-term techniques are not recommended when it comes to CRM.

“One of the biggest mistakes in applying gamification to address these long-term behavior change is that people often use short-term gamification tools.”

He also added, “unlike gamification in marketing and sales, CRM user adoption and employee engagement are both long-term problems. It’s pointless to drive adoption or engage employees only for a few months”.

Michael advises using strategies that apply more challenging and complex games because they are the most effective in the long run.

Although they present results slowly, they are the ones that drive more complex behaviors. Also, they are able to entertain people for a longer period of time.

He concludes that those who bet on short-term solutions “are doomed to fail when addressing challenging business problems that involve long-term behavior change.”

According to Karl Kapp, author of The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas Into Practice (2013).

“One of the biggest mistakes is not integrating the CRM gamification efforts to a larger strategy. If your overall strategy or sales model or prospecting method is ineffective, simply adding on a gamified CRM with points for calling a prospect is not going to magically increase sales.

A gamification effort needs to be carefully combined with an understanding of the overall goals. You need to map individual events, efforts and behaviors to a specific reward structure not just to the overall goal of “sell more” but to enabling goals or milestones like impacting the ratio of call activity to next step activity, which will eventually lead to larger goals.”

The first step to avoid this mistake is to establish a baseline strategy.

This is necessary so gamification can “assist” in the process. It must be clear that Gamification does not define the directives of your team and your business.

“An organization needs to clearly have identified steps and activities that lead to success before going off and half-heartedly gamifying the CRM. The organization needs to set clear goals, milestones and trigger events and then weave the gamification solution into the comprehensive effort. Too often gamification is added in total disregard to strategic considerations when it comes to gamifying a CRM. The fix is to work on strategy first, gamification second”, conforming to Karl.

For Marigo Raftopoulos, ranked #2 Gamification Guru in March 2018 by Rise Global list’s, one of the most common mistakes is “a lack of appreciation of organizations as complex systems”. We should not reduce our company’s process and complexity.

A company structure is, by nature a complex system. If we want our business to succeed, we need to make sure to align our process as precise as possible. After this, gamification will be the easy part.

“A well-meaning gamified CRM could be encouraging positive desired behaviors such as project collaboration, knowledge sharing or innovation drives. However, the success or failure of that system largely depends on the prevailing culture, work processes or management styles of the organization. For example, a collaborative, knowledge sharing tool will not be optimized in a prevailing organizational culture of secrecy and distrust”, Marigo pointed out.

“The lesson here is that gamified CRMs are a technological tool, and not the complete solution”, she concluded.

Again, we learn that a company’s culture is fundamental. The gamification can definitely be a good choice for changing behaviors, but it would not work by itself.

This article was originally posted in our company’s blog, feel free to check it here: The Top 6 CRM Gamification Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them!).

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Alejandro Morales

CEO at CRM Gamified, where we aim to help companies recognize, reward and motivate their people by using gamification techniques. https://crmgamified.com/