How Sales Gamification Boosts Sales Performance for Distributors

Direct selling sales executives and field enablement leaders are in something of a quandary. Direct selling had a rough 2023 and it’s not yet clear to executives what field sales management software can do to help. 

According to a recent Direct Selling News webinar, 60% of the Top 100 North American direct selling companies did not grow in 2023 compared to 2022, resulting in YoY growth of only 40%. 

Likewise, only around 60% of the Top 100 grew in 2023 compared to pre-pandemic revenue growth, meaning only 40% experienced growth during that 4-year period

How Does Direct Selling Make a Case for Itself Today? 

The fact is that direct selling has to advocate for itself as a powerful, innovative, and enjoyable way to business-build for the American public. 

Today the industry is at a crossroads, as would-be distributors become independent contractors in a large gig economy or simply settle into reliable if lower-wage part-time and freelance work. 

In such an environment, how can field sales management software make enough of a difference for the investment to decrease CAC and generate value?

Propelling Distributor Retention at a Time of Transformation: Sales Gamification and Field Sales Management Software 

The question then naturally arises how the industry can cut through the noise and appeal to entrepreneurial-minded individuals in a way that will drive sales, recruiting, and ultimately revenue

This is not only a marketing but also an operations question. To reduce churn and increase distributor retention, thereby multiplying field effectiveness, is a question of distributor experience as much as it is brand image. 

Distributors want an experience that mirrors or is equal to the one they could get via gig platforms, which are incredibly easy to onboard with. In other words, field retention over time is essential to driving profitability for direct selling organizations today – and high-quality, easy distributor experience drives retention.  

Sales gamification is one important way of optimizing this experience organically. 

When distributors are able to visualize their progress in highly engaging ways – and feel that sales and recruiting resemble a real-life game – they’re more likely to stay active for longer. Ultimately much of direct selling is a numbers game. 

The more that distributors that are active for longer, the better of a job an organization does at countering some of the negative trends the industry sees today.  

To summarize, sales gamification is one aspect of how to lift up direct selling at a time of technological transformation and financial challenge, and a crucial piece in the puzzle – one that touches every side of the field enablement process, from learning to clienteling to prospecting. And sales gamification methods and technologies can be employed within field sales management software.

But what is it, exactly?

To see how Performance Enablement Platforms gamify sales for distributors, download the PEP white paper. 

What Is Sales Gamification for Direct Selling Distributors?

Sales gamification is a strategic approach used by direct selling sales executives to elevate performance and drive results within and across direct selling teams. It involves the deliberate integration of game mechanics and motivational elements into the sales and recruiting process to enhance engagement, motivation, and ultimately, sales productivity.

As sales executives, implementing gamification means strategically leveraging game-like elements such as points, badges, leaderboards, challenges, and rewards to inspire desired behaviors and outcomes among distributors. By infusing these elements into the sales environment, executives can create a dynamic and competitive atmosphere that encourages distributors to excel and surpass their goals.

The power of sales gamification lies in its ability to provide clear and measurable targets for distributors to strive towards, based on their goals. Sales executives have the opportunity to define these objectives, aligning them with overarching business KPIs. By establishing transparent metrics and benchmarks via field sales management software, sales executives empower uplines and downlines to track their progress and performance effectively, via field sales management software tools.

Sales gamification enables you to provide real-time feedback and recognition to your sales team. Whether through leaderboards showcasing top performers or personalized acknowledgments for achievements, timely feedback reinforces positive behaviors and motivates distributors to continually improve their performance.

Beyond individual recognition, sales gamification also cultivates a sense of camaraderie and collaboration among team members. By fostering healthy competition and creating shared goals, executives can promote teamwork and cooperation within the sales organization, driving collective success and cohesion.

Sales Gamification and Learning

According to Self-Determination Theory (SDT), a macro theory of human motivation and decision-making, the three core nutrients for healthy functioning are senses of:

  • Autonomy: The individual should feel free and self-determined.
  • Competence: The individual should feel skilled at the tasks they complete from day to day.
  • Relatedness: The individual should be able to connect and relate to others in meaningful ways.

Numerous articles have described the relationship between SDT and gamification, arguing through research that game-like elements help to enhance the user’s feeling of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. The user feels herself “leveling up,” becoming more competent and independent (in direct selling, less dependent on downlines). At the same time she becomes more related to others, for instance her uplines and those she recruits to be downlines. 

It’s important to sketch gamification as it affects multiple aspects of the distributor experience. In direct selling technology, sales gamification is not a discrete tool but rather an effect of different tools. It is not a product but a positive impact of technological products – an impact with such epiphenomenal effects as increased productivity and retention for the field.

In terms of learning, a sales gamification perspective helps us appreciate this aspect of the distributor experience differently. We are used to thinking of learning as “microlearning,” bite-sized bits of information delivered as videos, quizzes, and so on. In this case, direct sellers can think of learning as a more holistic process where direct sellers not only learn but are enabled to do more in the flow of work, and are incentivized to sell and recruit more through motivators and progress markers. 

In other words, it’s not simply that distributors are incentivized to complete more learning activities, which is certainly true. It’s that they are encouraged to put those lessons into practice through:

(1) the “competence” of badges and other forms of recognition 

(2) the “autonomy” of increased sales/more earnings through success grounded in targeted learning implemented in the flow of productivity

(3) the “relatedness” of leaderboards, stimulating friendly competition.  

This is not learning for learning’s sake, not the LMS or LXP model. It is learning that enables the distributor for greater productivity, sales performance, and ultimately success, resulting in higher retention. In the case of Rallyware’s sales gamification, learning tasks are triggered in response to real-life contexts the distributor is faced with. Using Rallyware’s AI-guided recommendations engine, these tasks are directly relevant to the distributor’s goals and the company’s KPIs, meaning that it is not abstract learning but real business-building actions that take precedence here.

Rallyware’s research shows that smart sales gamification features like leaderboards and badges increase sales volume 2X and boost retention growth 81% over a 150-day period (compared to distributors who don’t use gamification features). This demonstrates that goal-setting for distributors, along with maximally relevant activities, helps drive the real results that will enable large direct sellers to counter the trends of today and grow at scale.  

To learn more about how direct sellers can use automated learning to drive real-world distributor productivity and performance, register for Rallyware’s webinar, ‘Taking Distributor Enablement Beyond Learning with Beautycounter’s Adriana Ariga,’ taking place Weds. April 10 at 2:00pm EST.  

Sales Gamification for Clienteling

Similarly, sales gamification can affect clienteling and lead to more recruits and more repeated customers. This is particularly true when business-building gets tied in with concrete incentives like, for instance, weekly goals. 

Let’s say Terry is using Rallyware and at the end of the week she is $130 away from her weekly goal, which would lead to her being entered into a vacation giveaway sweepstakes. 

Rallyware would then alert her of the proximity to this goal through a smart notification and show her concrete steps she can take to reach it. For instance, reaching out to three past customers who are due for a beauty product re-up. 

These smart notifications are very useful, with Rallyware’s analysis showing that there is a 7.4x higher completion rate for activities compared to users who skipped or ignored notifications with a previously shown direct correlation between task completion and sales growth. 

In other words, distributors are more likely to complete activities that have been shown to increase sales when her platform alerts her to these activities through smart notifications. 

This requires highly intelligent field sales management software that integrates clienteling tools, external commissions and sales-tracking software, and CRM solutions. In other words, truly all-in-one technology. Rallyware’s all-in-one Performance Enablement Platform for large direct selling enterprises consolidates all of this and much more.   

Sales Gamification for Prospecting

Lastly, sales gamification can help greatly with prospecting. Technology will never replace direct selling’s human touch as far as gaining new customers and recruits. However, it can make this process not only easier and more seamless, but fun and even cool

With cutting-edge technology that automatically segments distributors’ leads, automates prospecting to-dos, and makes customer care feel like this (see image below), direct selling goes from feeling like a business with 150 years of history to an agile product of the gig age.

What we have here, through sales gamification-enabled technology like Rallyware, is the “coolification” of direct selling. When the distributor’s platform feels intuitive, agile, lightweight, direct selling feels sleek – with all the effortlessness and interactivity of a video game. Except one that is inherently social, and that makes the distributor money. 

People will only participate in an activity voluntarily (and with direct selling, unlike traditional money-making activities, this is the case) when it fulfills the requirements of Self-Determination Theory. That is, when the activity enhances autonomy, competence, and relatedness. 

As we’ve seen, sales gamification-enabled technology does enhance these three criteria for well-being. Such technology, like Rallyware’s Performance Enablement Platform, makes the distributor experience into a rewards-rich environment, one which connects productivity with concrete payoffs. 

To succeed in 2024, 2025, and beyond, direct selling leaders must change what they’re doing. They have to be able to recruit more distributors, retain more distributors, and empower those distributors to sell more. This is exactly what top-tier sales gamification-enabled tools do.

To request a demonstration of Rallyware’s Performance Enablement Platform and see how this technology drives +141% long-term retention for large direct sellers, click here.