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ATD Blog

Get Your Game On

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

People love games. As many as 40 percent of the world’s population—3.1 billion people—play games daily, whether that’s word games, casual puzzles, strategy games, role-playing games, or something else. Games provide an energy rush. People play for a sense of achievement, because they enjoy exploring and problem-solving, for the social aspect, or a combination of reasons. And no matter how well (or badly) we ended the previous session, we return.

With so many gamers across all demographics, it’s ironic that when L&D proposes gamified training, it’s often associated with a younger cohort. In employees above the age of 45, 97 percent agree that gamification would improve their work. Research also reveals that for 90 percent of these respondents, gamification helps them be more productive.

Gamification—Ideal for Sales

Gamified training provides a safe space for practice, fosters collaboration, and encourages problem-solving while tapping into the innate competitiveness of salespeople. With more than 13 million salespeople in the US spending 33 percent of their time researching product information and client queries, it is time to plug the gaps to create high-performing sales teams through capable sales training.

To keep up with a dynamic market and ever-changing customer needs, the training requirements for a sales team constantly evolve. To succeed, organizations must offer sales training that is highly focused and perfectly aligned with their business objectives.


Gamification brings the X-factor. It goes beyond technology by combining an effective learning strategy with an instructional medium that accelerates learning and engages the employees like no other. By including modern technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), gamified training creates a fun learning experience, maximizes knowledge retention, and flexes to meet the ever-changing demands and nuances of an evolving sales landscape.

Training managers or sales leaders struggling with low participation from learners can significantly improve their learners’ knowledge in fewer than 12 minutes based on data from a recent study of 2,500 games played in the Training Arcade, the DIY game authoring tool from the Game Agency:

  • The average game length was 3 minutes and 52 seconds.
  • Most learners (57 percent) played each game three or more times.
  • Players saw a 58 percent improvement in knowledge between the first and the third attempts.

Gamification Success Stories in Sales Training

The impact of gamification as a sales training strategy has reverberated across industries. From life sciences to retail and finance to technology, businesses have strategically deployed gamified sales training to reinforce product knowledge and assess performance.

  • IT Cosmetics provides a fully immersive learning journey to sales associates around the globe through a gamified learning management system (LMS), a suite of training games, and a virtual reality simulation. Through formal and informal learning and the power of play, this cosmetics giant delivers a collaborative and competitive learning experience that ensures their learners stay abreast of ongoing company announcements and product launches.
  • One Door, the leading provider of cloud-based visual merchandising software, deployed gamified merchandising training to help merchandisers efficiently execute in-store promotional displays by creating a game to test memory, speed, and the accuracy of product placement on retail shelf displays.
  • Lundbeck, an international pharmaceutical company, needed an engaging solution to improve their sales force’s proficiency in key product information and customer empathy before their national sales meeting. By leveraging the Training Arcade, they created a gamified application that challenged sales representatives around the globe to complete interactive courses and play reinforcing games. As they climbed the leaderboard, the top performers collected prizes at the national sales meeting.

L&D choices have the potential to make your sales team an indispensable part of your customers’ buying journey. If creating and delivering better learning experiences is a fundamental L&D objective for your organization, gamification can be your ace in the hole. It’s time to get your game on.

About the Author

Stephen Baer is cofounder and chief creative officer of The Game Agency, a division of ELB Learning. For 14 years Stephen has been creating award-winning games to engage audiences for employee onboarding, sales and product training, leadership development, safety, security, compliance, and customer service. Stephen has also helped shape the education industry with learning games that have been deployed in over 20,000 schools.

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