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Cheat Sheet: National Sales Meeting Event Gamification

Sales reps love to compete and win. Savvy Sales Leaders reinforce the event’s objectives by aligning game activities to the event content.

Each year sales leaders pull their sales organization together for a national sales meeting or a sales kickoff.  

The goal of these meetings is one part inspiration, one part education, and one part team-building. Leaders want to put their teams through the paces and get them invigorated and ready for an exciting and challenging year ahead. 

The agenda could look something like this:

(1) Review of last year

(2) Plans for the upcoming year

(3) Selling skills improvement & role play

(4) Market dynamics

(5) Understanding competition

(6) Meet your internal business partners (IT, HR, Marketing, etc.)

One of the challenges most sales leaders face is how can they deliver the content in a fun, engaging way that is not 17,286 PowerPoint slides. ADHD people will go off the rails sitting and listening to all those slides!

Three Different Ways to Gamify Your Annual Sales Kickoff

Many sales kickoffs turn to competitive activities and event gamification to appeal to the competitive instincts of sales representatives.  

In a recent CEIR (Center for Exhibition Industry Research) report, 67% of attendees said they preferred to learn through games rather than lectures. This data mirrors the scientific research that suggests lectures are not as effective learning tools as compared to learning through role-play and exercises or other participatory techniques.

If you are new to gamification, you might be wondering what type of games work well in sales kickoffs? I could quickly tell you that it depends on your goals and objectives. However, there are three typical national sales meeting event gamification approaches that we see from sales leaders:

  • Team-Based Interactive Trivia Game. These games usually take place in the general session. It could be played with a small audience on stage or with the entire audience. Attendees form into teams. They participate in the event app on their phones. Scores tabulate in real-time. Then they compete against the other teams in the room. Leaderboards help keep score and show the winners. More adventurous games could kick players out for missing the answers to questions. Learn more about team event trivia games here.
  • Scavenger Hunt. These are typically aligned with an evening activity where attendees work in teams to complete a series of challenges that are generally photo-based and tour around a city. After nearly 2 hours, they arrive at a final event destination. Photos captured from the scavenger hunt are projected on a big screen to recap the event and celebrate success.
  • Multi-Day Event Gamification. These games rely on a series of activity-based challenges that attendees must complete to earn points. While earning points, the attendees get a chance to win other prizes and rewards. Usually, on the last night during the awards ceremony (assuming yours is on the final night) – the game will come to a conclusion with the winners announced and prizes awarded. Learn more about multi-day event gamification here.

Pros and Cons for Different Event Game Types

Pro for team-based Trivia: For example, the team-based interactive trivia can be set up to use 20 minutes in the general session and get everyone excited for the day. As one sales leader says to me, “The game gets attendees excited and brings up the energy in the room.” Sometimes it’s essential to get the energy up in the room.  

Cons for team-based Trivia: The game’s goal will be to create a high energy, fun experience. It won’t cover the 2-3 days of the event – unless the game is used again at multiple sessions.

Pro for Scavenger Hunt: I love this idea for team building and fun games. It’s a great way to bring together remote teams of field sales employees to get to know each other and work together. Also, the game can be used to help the team get to see the event location and then arrive at a final dinner destination.

Cons for Scavenger Hunt: The challenges and activities in these games are more team building oriented. Often, the quests don’t align to the content of the organization. 

Pros for Multi-Day Gamification: These games keep attendees engaged throughout the 2-3 days of the conference. Typically they are aligned to the national sales meeting theme. Organizers can coordinate the game’s conclusion with the final night celebration. These games are designed to encourage certain behaviors of attendees – such as visiting the trade show floor, participating in buyer-seller role-play exercises, etc. Several event stakeholders can contribute to providing content for these games that can return data and analytics for post-event usage. 

Cons for Multi-Day Gamification: Creating a multi-day game requires effort to set up and plan the game. For some clients, aligning challenges with the event’s objectives can be a challenge.

23 Content-Based Activities For Your Game

Below is a long list of challenges and activities organized around nine different sales meeting objectives. These ideas have been used in real events by real clients. Think about this list as a way to jump-start your brainstorming around the idea of a bunch of challenges. 

These challenges will help you do the following:

  • Align your game to your sales kickoff objectives.
  • Align your game to event content, such as role-playing exercises with your sales skills (it helps them take it seriously).
  • Help you capture ideas and opinions for employee engagement, future product ideas, or the voice of the customer.
  • Encourage participation in leadership, group work, role-play or team building activity.

Use these challenges as inspiration to get your team energized and thinking about similar possibilities for your upcoming national sales meeting.  

 

SALES MEETING OBJECTIVE

CHALLENGE

ACTIVITY

Introduce the Game Theme Introduction challenge Live poll question

location based trivia (single game play, mixed questions)

Meet Marketing At the Trade Fair Is Field Sales Using the Correct Email Signature? Have a short quiz at marketing booth that tests the email signatures.
  Marketing / Sales Alignment Let marketing submit ideas on how marketing and sales can better align. Vote for favorites.
  Name a New product Submit product name ideas into a bucket.  Identify the primary features that marketing should promote
Meet IT At the Trade Fair Is the field sales team using IT safely? IT quiz on things field sales people should and shouldn’t do with IT
  Improve adoption of  IT technology tools Ask sales team members to show that they have downloaded the latest software tools on their tablets?
  Stump the Expert Have sales quiz IT on the toughest challenges to see if they know how to answer them.
Meet Sales Operations at the Trade Fair Are we using our CRM Correctly? Quiz the group on CRM standards such as creating a new account, adding new contacts, contact ownership, etc? Creating deals and deal stages.
  Do we know how to use our CRM Software to get the maximum investment? Let the sales team ask questions about the challenges they are facing with the sales alignment tools.
New Product Launches Product Knowledge Quiz sales team on the new product features and benefits.
  Watch a Demo Get a demo of the new features.
  Understand your sales tools Learn what tools you have to help you in engaging and convincing buyers.
  Understand key marketing messages  Quiz sales team on key marketing messages that show understanding and mastery of marketing messages for the new product.
Geography Based Market Reviews Understand Unique Challenges in Your Market Compare and contrast two markets quiz. (Market 1, Market 2, Same, Neither)
     
Sales Skills Customer Persona Development Assign points for group work on a persona
  Role play Assign points for well organized and thought out role play
  Participation Assign bonus points for participation in a group activity
  Meeting or exceeding quota in the previous year Reward game players with points related to their achievement (and exceeding) of the previous year’s sales quota
     
Social Causes Participate in the Groups Community Service Project Earn points for participation
  Donation Night Near the end of the game, show the points and tell players they will earn 1 point per $1 they donate.
     
Team Building Scavenger Hunt type of activity Teams move through a scavenger hunt / amazing race type of activity.
  Get to know your team Crazy facts about your team members.
  Live Team Game Play Team members answer questions. The team moves down the Leaderboard.
     

 

Introducing And Promoting Your Game

There will be a lot going on in your event. Not everyone is paying attention to the one announcement or even ten announcements. So, it’s essential to get the message out in different ways. Here are some strategies that have worked in the past:

The Best Idea: In my experience, the best game results came when sales leaders announced the game, explained the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me), and announced the prizes right from the first session. 

However, your sales leadership may not agree with this approach. Here are some other strategies that clients have used — and you can use more than one:

  • Signage around the venue
  • Table tents on tables
  • Add an Icon in the Event App
  • Show the Leaderboards during walk-in and walkout
  • Show the Leaderboards on monitors
  • Use InApp Notifications
  • General Announcement from the stage

Concluding Your Game: Celebrating the Victors

When the game is over, celebrate the victors and bring your game to a dramatic finish. You might be wondering – how can I do that?  

Here are some ideas that others have used to choose their event game winners:

  • Announce the Winners: If you are short on time, you can do the following to wrap up your game on the final day. Show the leaderboard and announce the winners on stage. Doing it from the stage gives players extra recognition for their effort. 
  • Recap the Game: Recap the game’s goals, objectives, and share statistics from the game such as the number of players, challenges completed, etc. 
  • Grand Prize Drawing with a Name Wheel: Load the list of players who qualify for the grand prize drawing into your prize wheel. Then spin to pick a winner for each of your grand prizes. The use of the prize wheel in the final event creates drama and excitement for the attendees – especially when they see their name on the prize wheel. 
  • Grand Prize Drawing with Awesome Prizes: Put your top prizes on the wheel and bring up your top 5 game players. Spin the wheel to see what prize each will win. Be sure to have 1 or 2 silly prizes, such as a fanny pack, to give the crowd a good laugh. Be sure to put a small surprise gift inside the fanny pack, so your winner doesn’t feel cheated.
  • Final Event Challenge (Most Advanced): Bring the top players up on stage to compete in a final round for the grand prize. Many will do a quick on-stage quiz where players answer a few trivia questions and grab the ultimate prize.  

Conclusion

Your national sales meeting doesn’t have to be done the same way as before.  You can still communicate what you want your sales team to learn, but use gamification to motivate greater participation. 

Because there are many games, challenges, and activities to choose from, you can adapt them to best fit your audience and messages. When you choose fun, engaging activities, actively promote them to your sales team, and then dramatically award the winners, your event will be a greater success than ever before. 

If you are need help creating a fun interactive game for your national sales meeting or customer event, check out SocialPoint’s Audience Participation Game. The Audience Participation Game is an easy way to create games that engage attendees throughout your event.   The software integrates into your Event App and uses progress bars, leaderboards and prize wheels to keep players engaged. 

Written by

Samuel J. Smith is a thought leader, researcher, speaker and award winning innovator on event technology. In 2011, BizBash Magazine added Sam to its annual innovators list. Since then, Sam has won awards from Exhibitor Magazine, IBTM World, RSVP MN, International Live Events Association and MPI for innovation in event technology.

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