What are Good Sales Goals? Unlock the Power of Gamified Sales Targets

Adam Steele

May 11, 2023

Imagine a basketball player, let's call him Rodney. Rodney has an unwavering focus on one thing - perfecting his free throws. Day in and day out, he practices, diligently honing his skills, his form near perfection, his accuracy unparalleled. Yet, when it comes to the actual game, he struggles. Why? Because Rodney missed a vital point - basketball is obviously not just about free throws. It's about dribbling, passing, defending, and understanding the game dynamics. Now, let's transpose Rodney's scenario to a typical sales environment. Many sales teams, like Rodney, focus on a single aspect of their performance - hitting the sales target. The 'numbers game' as it's often called. But, much like Rodney's situation, this approach misses the bigger picture - the holistic aspect of sales performance.

So, what are good sales goals? We need to redefine this concept, moving away from single-metric targets towards a more comprehensive, holistic, and exciting approach. This article promises to take you on an intriguing journey, unraveling an innovative method of sales goal setting that incorporates principles from behavioral psychology, sports, and the thrilling world of gaming. It's time to change the game!

The Psychology Behind SMART Sales Goals

Imagine a marathon runner, training for the big race. She doesn't just set an ambiguous goal like 'run faster'. Instead, she defines her objective in SMART terms: she wants to shave off 15 minutes from her personal best in the upcoming marathon, six months from now. This is a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goal. This way, she knows exactly what she needs to achieve, she can track her progress, and she has a deadline to motivate her. The principles that apply to her marathon training, believe it or not, translate perfectly to sales goals.

So, how does this SMART goal framework align with behavioral psychology? Behavioral psychologists have long emphasized the importance of clear, concrete goals for motivating behavior. The human brain loves clarity and detests ambiguity. When you set a goal that is vague or too broad, it's hard for your brain to visualize achieving it, making it less likely that you will put in the necessary effort. On the other hand, when you define your goal in clear, concrete terms, your brain can easily visualize achieving it, making it more likely that you will strive towards it.

Aligning SMART Goals with Behavioral Psychology

The SMART goal framework aligns perfectly with these principles. For instance, setting Specific goals eliminates ambiguity. Measurable goals allow you to track progress, providing feedback and satisfaction each time you inch closer to your goal. Achievable goals ensure that you're setting yourself up for success rather than failure. Relevant goals ensure that your effort is channeled in the right direction, and Time-bound goals provide the necessary sense of urgency.

Consider a sales representative who sets a goal to 'increase sales'. This goal is too broad and lacks specificity. However, if the goal is redefined to 'increase sales of product X by 20% over the next quarter', it suddenly becomes a SMART goal. The sales representative can now visualize the goal, track progress, and feel a sense of accomplishment as they inch closer to the target.

The Marathon Runner's SMART Goals and Sales

Going back to our marathon runner, she sets her training plans around her SMART goal. Every run, every workout, every meal, every moment of rest is part of her strategy to achieve her goal. Similarly, sales representatives can plan their activities around their SMART sales goals. Every call, every meeting, every presentation, every proposal becomes a step towards their goal. This approach not only helps them achieve their goals but also makes the journey towards the goal more engaging and satisfying.

However, while SMART goals are a powerful tool in the sales toolkit, they are just that - a tool. They are not a panacea for all sales performance challenges. They need to be used judiciously and in conjunction with other strategies to truly unlock their potential. One such strategy is gamification, which we will delve into in the next section.

Powering SMART Goals with Gamification

Have you ever wondered why games are so engaging? Why do we invest hours strategizing how to build the perfect city in SimCity, or reach the next level in Candy Crush, or defeat the enemy team in Fortnite? Games ignite a sense of competition, provide immediate feedback, and reward progress - elements that make them addictive. Now, imagine if we could harness these elements to make sales goals equally engaging. Welcome to gamification!

Gamification: More Than Just Games

At its core, gamification involves applying game-design elements in non-game contexts. In the context of sales, gamification translates to turning sales goals into a game where sales representatives earn points, badges, or rewards for achieving their SMART goals. This approach can make goal achievement more enjoyable and motivate sales representatives to put in their best effort.

Consider a sales team that uses a CRM system. Traditionally, the CRM system is used to track sales activities and performance. But what if we could gamify this CRM system? Sales representatives could earn points for every activity - calls made, meetings held, proposals sent, deals closed. They could level up or earn badges for achieving their SMART goals. There could be a leaderboard showcasing the top performers, fostering a sense of healthy competition. Suddenly, the CRM system transforms from a boring tracking tool into an exciting game!

The Role of Competition and Collaboration

Games often involve both competition and collaboration, and these elements can be used effectively in gamifying sales goals. Sales representatives can compete against each other, trying to outdo their colleagues in achieving their goals and earning points or badges. They could also collaborate, working together to achieve team goals and earn team rewards. This fosters both individual accountability and team spirit, driving overall sales performance.

Imagine a sales team working towards a collective SMART goal, like increasing overall sales by 30% over the next quarter. The team could earn points for every deal closed, with bonus points for big-ticket deals or new customer acquisitions. There could be weekly challenges, like setting up the most customer meetings or closing the most deals, with additional rewards for the winners. There could also be team rewards, like a team outing or a team bonus, if the collective goal is achieved. This would not only encourage individual performance but also foster team collaboration.

Gamification and Behavioral Psychology

Going back to behavioral psychology, gamification taps into several psychological principles. It provides immediate feedback and rewards, satisfying our brain's desire for instant gratification. It fosters a sense of competition, tapping into our innate desire to win. It also nurtures a sense of achievement and progress, making us feel good about ourselves.

However, gamification is not a silver bullet. It needs to be designed and implemented carefully to be effective. If not, it can backfire, leading to demotivation and disengagement. For instance, if the competition becomes too intense, it can create a toxic work environment. If the rewards are not meaningful, they won't motivate the sales representatives. If the game rules are not fair or transparent, they can lead to frustration and disengagement. Thus, while gamification holds great potential, it requires thoughtful design and execution. We will discuss these intricacies in the following section.

Creating a Balanced Gamified System for Sales Goals

Imagine your sales team as a professional sports team. Just as a team's performance isn't judged solely based on the number of victories but also the strategy, coordination, and the players' development, a sales team's performance shouldn't be judged merely by the sales figures. It's about how well they are achieving their sales goals and how effectively they are developing their skills. Now, let's apply this philosophy to creating a balanced gamified system for your sales goals.

The Metrics to Track

Think about the metrics you track in your sales process as the scoreboard in a game. The scoreboard doesn’t just show the final score; it displays numerous statistics that reflect the game's complexity. In a similar fashion, while the total sales figure is a critical metric, it shouldn’t be the only one. Focus on setting a variety of SMART goals that reflect different aspects of the sales process. For example, these could include prospecting goals, conversion rate goals, upselling goals, or customer satisfaction goals. In the words of professional football coach, Bill Walsh, "The score takes care of itself." If your sales team focuses on these smaller, process-oriented goals, the sales figures will naturally follow.

The Game Elements

Now that we have our metrics, how can we turn this into a game? Gamifying sales goals isn't merely about adding badges, leaderboards, or rewards. It's about creating an engaging system that drives performance, just like how a well-designed game keeps players hooked. Create different levels of achievement for each metric to give a sense of progression. Create team-based goals and competitions to foster cooperation and healthy competition. Make the progress visible and celebrate the achievements, big and small.

The Rewards

The rewards in a gamified system act as the incentives driving the behavior. However, not all rewards are created equal. Just as a professional athlete may cherish an MVP award more than a financial bonus, sales representatives might value recognition, learning opportunities, or work-life balance over monetary rewards. Tailor your rewards to the preferences and needs of your sales team. Combine intrinsic rewards like recognition and personal development with extrinsic rewards like bonuses or gifts. Remember, the best reward is one that reinforces the desired behavior and aligns with your sales team's motivations.

By carefully choosing the metrics to track, designing engaging game elements, and creating compelling rewards, you can create a balanced and motivating gamified system for sales goals. And just like a professional sports team, your sales team will develop their skills, work together, and drive performance. In the next section we'll delve deeper into how you can leverage behavioral psychology to fine-tune this system and further boost your sales team's performance.

Fine-Tuning Your Gamified Sales Goals System with Behavioral Psychology

Now that we have established the framework for a gamified sales goals system, let's delve into the psychological principles that can enhance its effectiveness. Behavioral psychology offers a wealth of insights that can be used to fine-tune your gamified system, boosting its motivational power and making it more engaging for your sales team.

The Power of Immediate Feedback

One of the core principles of behavioral psychology is that immediate feedback enhances learning and motivation. In a game, players get instant feedback on their actions, which helps them adjust their strategies and feel a sense of progress. Apply this principle to your sales goals system by providing real-time updates on individual and team performance. This could be achieved through a digital dashboard that tracks progress towards goals, immediate recognition of achievements, or frequent feedback sessions. This will not only make the system more engaging but also help your sales team adjust their strategies and improve their performance.

The Motivation of Mastery

Another powerful psychological principle is the motivation of mastery. People are driven by the desire to improve their skills and achieve a high level of competence. In the context of gamification, this can be leveraged by setting challenging but achievable goals and providing opportunities for skill development. Make sure your sales goals are not just about hitting certain numbers, but also about improving specific skills. This could include improving negotiation skills, mastering a new sales software, or learning about a new product line. Additionally, provide learning resources and training opportunities to help your team achieve these mastery goals.

The Influence of Social Norms

Behavioral psychology also highlights the influence of social norms on our behavior. We are naturally inclined to conform to the behavior of our peers. This can be harnessed in a gamified system through the use of leaderboards, team goals, and social recognition. These elements foster a sense of community and healthy competition, encouraging individuals to align their behavior with the high-performing norms of the group.

By integrating these behavioral psychology principles into your gamified sales goals system, you can make it more engaging, motivational, and effective. Remember, the aim is not just to make sales fun, but to create a system that drives performance and fosters skill development.

Final Thoughts

As we have explored, gamification is a powerful tool that can transform your sales goals system into a dynamic, engaging, and motivational experience. By integrating the principles of game design and behavioral psychology, you can tap into the intrinsic motivators of your sales team and drive them to achieve their best performance. However, it is crucial to remember that gamification is not a silver bullet. It is one tool in your toolbox, and its success depends on its thoughtful and strategic application.

The true power of gamification lies in its ability to create a system that is not just about hitting targets, but also about personal growth, skill development, and community. It's about creating an environment where your sales team feels motivated, engaged, and connected to their goals, their peers, and the organization. So, as you embark on your gamification journey, remember to keep these principles at the heart of your system.

To close, I'd like to leave you with a quote from the legendary Olympic runner, Emil Zátopek, who once said, "An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head." In the same spirit, let your gamified sales goals system be the one that ignites hope and dreams in the hearts and minds of your sales team.

Outfield is pioneering sales gamification software to power CRM or any tech stack. Learn how our modern approach boosts output up to 3x.


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