Can the Use of Games Build Better Sales Reps?

Can fun and games help make independent sales reps more effective? One innovative company thinks so. It has just started using "gamification" to train and motivate its brand ambassadors.

The bar for sales representative performance is already pretty high at Stella & Dot, a 120-employee company that sells high-quality jewelry and accessories through in-home trunk sales and online. The company's more than 10,000 independent sales reps, called "stylists," last year pushed the eight-year-old company's sales past the $100 million mark.

Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics, such as badges, levels, trivia and notifications, to engage and motivate users. Stella & Dot has added gamification to the syllabus of its Stella & Dot University to spice up education of the brand, merchandise and successful selling strategies for the company's stylists.

The company has added Nitro, a gamification platform from Bunchball, to its training program. Stylists can earn rewards for participating in training and completing tasks, and a trivia module lets the company to create multichoice trivia games on any topic. When they get a certain number of answers correct in each trivia module, stylists receive virtual charms that are showcased in a trophy case.

Video notifications customize and add a layer of personalization to the training program. The goal, the company said, is to create a new method to drive participation, arm reps with the latest training and increase product sales.

The gamification platform brought Stella & Dot University to a new level of effectiveness, said Stephen McCurry, the company's platform director.

"The addition of quizzes, badges and video notifications increased engagement levels amongst our stylists by adding a sense of progress and achievement to our online training program," McCurry said.

"Game mechanics are particularly effective in training initiatives, driving productivity and improving overall employee satisfaction and performance," said Rajat Paharia, the founder and chief product officer of Bunchball. "They make better salespeople who sell more."

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