How Microsoft Will Make Gamification a Selling Point for Dynamics CRM

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by Curt Finch, CEO, Journyx

published September 11, 2015

Gamification has revolutionized how many companies motivate their employees. In its simplest form, gamification is defined as, “the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. Gamification taps into the basic desires and needs of the users’ impulses which revolve around the idea of Status and Achievement.”

Over the last five years, the outlook on gamification has been quite favorable. In 2011, Gartner estimated that by “2015, more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes,” and that by 2014, “a gamified service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon, and more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application.”

And here’s the thing with the rise in gamification: the numbers don’t lie. Not only is it a valuable productivity strategy for business employee and customer retention, but attitudes toward gamification principals seem to remain favorable . For example, in the e-learning space, a survey by TalentLMS revealed that:

  • “89% of those surveyed stated that a point system would boost their engagement.
  • 82% are in favor of multiple difficulty levels and explorable content.
  • 62% stated that they would be motivated to learn if leaderboards were involved and they had the opportunity to compete with other colleagues.”

So how exactly does this translate to Microsoft’s outlook for Dynamics CRM?

Microsoft and Gamification

With gamification becoming such a critical part of modern customer and employee engagement, it’s little wonder that Microsoft recently made a significant investment in the field with the purchase of Incent Games, Inc., the makers of FantasySalesTeam.

In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Bob Stutz, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, highlighted some of the benefits this will bring to Dynamics CRM:

“While incentive programs and contests are leveraged in almost all sales organizations, most suffer from common shortcomings: the same top performers almost always win and the rest of the team tends to disengage fairly quickly once they realize they’ve fallen behind or out of contention. FantasySalesTeam creatively addresses these problems with a tailored approach that drives amazing results.

They’ve disrupted the old sales incentive model with an original twist that combines gamification with fantasy sports and expertly applies it to a sales setting. Their platform is highly effective at increasing team collaboration, productivity and consequently driving greater results and business growth. Through team-based competition and involvement of non-sales employees (such as managers, service, operations, marketing and finance) employees “draft” teams and become truly invested in each other’s success. Individual and team results become highly visible, driving both competition as well as collaboration and creating positive, impactful cultural change.”

Why This Is a Good Thing for Dynamics CRM

As one of the industry’s leading CRM platforms, Dynamics CRM is designed to help teams market and sell more effectively. Microsoft touts how, “CRM can help reduce costs and increase profitability by organizing and automating business processes that nurture customer relationships and satisfaction across all interactions-marketing, sales, and customer service. CRM solutions can deliver return on investment (ROI) through marketing automation, customer service, and sales force automation.”

With that emphasis on productivity across various customer-focused roles, it’s no wonder that Microsoft wants to help companies using their product to increase their overall productivity by providing customized incentives that serve to motivate team successes, not just the top performers.

Companies such as Xerox and Hyatt use gamification to do just that. For example, the Xerox staff uses an app to help implement gamification into their workplace, and since doing so, has found that the culture has become lighter, allowing more fun time and less stress time.

According to CIO, “More than 94 percent of Xerox sales people participate in the Qstream games, says Qstream co-founder and CEO Duncan Lennox. In a large company, about 100 to 20,000 employees can participate in mobile games, usually in teams of 30-80 people, such as those in regional offices, he says.”

Microsoft’s incorporation of gamification into CRM demonstrates just how mainstream the process has become. By purchasing and utilizing such an innovative example of gamification, the future of Dynamics CRM has never looked better.

About Curt Finch

Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx, a Certified Microsoft Partner. Journyx maximizes the value of Microsoft Dynamics by adding enterprise time tracking. Journyx Accountlink for Microsoft Dynamics allows companies to quickly implement a complete time tracking solution using existing business data in Dynamics. Connect with Curt on Google+.