Companies Turn to Games to Promote Adoption of CRM Solutions

Posted by Jason Ihaia

Dec 31, 2012 9:00:00 AM

CRM SolutionsAs we’ve covered here before, workforce resistance and slow user adoption are the biggest barriers to realizing a return on investment with your company’s CRM implementation. It has become such a big problem, in fact, that some enterprises are resorting to embedding video games to lure salespeople into using the CRM tools they’ve been given. Believe it or not, the companies say there are signs that “gamification,” as the practice is being called, actually works.

Chances are, if your investment in a CRM solution isn’t taking off, poor adoption is the underlying cause. Either employees weren’t properly trained or they perceive it as a waste of time. Maybe they simply don’t trust the data. (There’s a good reason for that if they are failing to input or update the data; they know it’s bad.) A Forrester study earlier this year found nearly half of enterprises citing slow adoption as a concern. recently interviewed companies that are taking a different approach, namely embedding a game layer that simultaneously increases productivity while also helping managers understand how sales staffers spend their time. Game maker Badgeville is among the software companies that have jumped into the fray after seeing the need.

According to, the firm launched a CRM gamification application in September. Salespeople start out as low-level “squirrel hunters” and rise up the ranks by using the Salesforce CRM system – inputting data, managing leads and closing deals. In other words, they’re doing their jobs, which we all know they should have been doing anyway. But the point is that those employees wanted more than compensation. They wanted to be recognized as successful by their peers and not recognized as trailing the pack. It’s not unlike how the Foursquare app allows you to be recognized among your Facebook peers as “mayor” of a local eatery.

“It’s all ego,” Ron Fior, chief financial officer of cloud-software provider CallidusCloud, told “The best salespeople make a lot of money, but there’s a point where they’re saying, ‘Money isn’t everything; I want some recognition.’”

That’s likely to rub some business leaders the wrong way, but it’s the way of the modern social media realm: Recognition is everything.

In Fior’s case, he says pitting salespeople against each other in a public setting makes them work harder and drives revenue. And, because the games can work across media platforms, from mobile to tablet to VMware machines, most companies can weave them right into their existing processes without much trouble. Many of the apps have analytics that track behavioral changes, and they allow administrators to customize the games to include various incentives.

The report quotes Carter Lusher, chief analyst of enterprise applications and solutions at Ovum Consulting, as saying between 500 and 1,000 companies are using “gamification,” with some lower number using it specifically to promote CRM adoption. Usually, the companies find, employees start using their CRM solutions because of the games, but soon they start to see the benefits of CRM in itself. In the process, the bosses start to gain more transparency of their organizations, from sales opportunities to each employee’s performance.

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Topics: Customer Relationship Management

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