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ATD Blog

Gamify Sales Training to Boost Learning Transfer

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

“Think of the engaging elements of why people play games—it’s not just for the points—it’s for the sense of engagement, immediate feedback, feeling of accomplishment, and success of striving against a challenge and overcoming it.” – Karl Kapp, The Gamification of Learning and Instruction

Gameplay in the learning process is a natural fit for sales professionals because it engages their inherent competitive nature. It allows them to compete against teams or themselves. Technology takes gameplay to a new level—for sales professionals to take part in the learning process, even when they are on the go.

Understanding GamificationCombining technology with elements of gameplay is called “gamification,” and it is proving an effective way to keep learners engaged in content.

More rigorous than the name suggests, gamification applies game-design elements and principles in learning situations to create fun and engaging and sticky learning experiences. Another benefit of gameplay is that it breaks down content into smaller chunks resulting in content that is easier to absorb, remember, and apply on the job.

One example of gamification is a flashcard-based game that uses leaderboards and badges to encourage ongoing engagement.


Tracking Players Tracking players and scores allow learners to see how they’re doing and compare themselves to others or to benchmarks. Particularly competitive individuals can try to beat their own best scores and stay on top of the leaderboard.

An equally important benefit of scoring gameplay is the insight it provides for sales managers and coaches. Scoring gives managers visibility into the performance of individuals and the team as a whole, and they are able to see who is making progress and who might need help.


Game elements like messaging and reference guides allow managers to encourage their team members to participate in games and beat their scores.

Managers learn to coach to higher performance and scores, whether within their teams or across the entire sales organization. Such manager messaging works to drive continuous learning in a fun, friendly, and competitive way.

Bottom line: Gamification is not only great fun, it’s based on learning science and behavioral theory. What’s more, learning that is fun and engaging—with a healthy bit of friendly competition thrown in—works well within a sales culture. It also works well for sales leaders, who see the results in terms of quick uptake, application, and consistency of skills that drive results.

About the Author

Ben Taylor is the content marketing manager at Richardson, a global sales training and performance improvement company focused on helping you drive revenue and grow long-term customer relationships. Our market-proven sales and coaching methodology combined with our active learning approach ensures that your sales teams learn, master, and apply new behaviors when and where they matter most — in front of the buyer.

Ben has an MBA in finance from LaSalle University and more than a decade of business and writing experience. He has covered content for brands, including Nasdaq, Barclaycard, and Business Insider.

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