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Use Gamification Strategies to Boost Your Team's Batting Average
Look to America's favorite pastime to inspire your sales team.
Posted Apr 25, 2014
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Baseball season is in full swing, bringing with it rivalries that cross family lines and geographic boundaries.

Have you ever thought about your sales team(s) as your own "home team"? Does your sales plan read like a playbook of strategies and improvements over last season? Do you regularly review your "roster" of salespeople, making sure that each member of the team is contributing to your company's success? If not, it may be time to start.

Similar to baseball team managers, sales leaders measure success based on metrics and analytics. All too often, the computations used to measure sales become complicated, making this task time consuming for sales leaders and confusing for salespeople. Baseball, with nine different positions, each with their unique statistics; two separate leagues with their own distinct rules and superstitions; and "curses" that try to explain the unexplainable, comes with confusion as well. However, despite all of the complexities of the game, baseball does value one single number above all others—the batting average.

A batting average is a great stat because it's simple, a single number that simply and clearly represents a player's rate of success. Why not apply this effective and familiar statistic to your sales team? Tracking a sales team's batting average is a perfect example of the gamification concept being adopted by many companies to increase productivity by adding a fun, competitive element to the workplace.

Calculating your sales team's batting average

There are many ways to create a sales team batting average. Basically, the idea is to distill all of the components that measure success for your particular team into a single number. Using one of the three options below, you can easily implement baseball-themed gamification strategies to inspire your sales team.

Score versus average

The first element to consider is whether you are going to use a score or an average as your single, measurable stat. A score has no upper limit, meaning the more applicable activities you accomplish, the higher your score will be. In baseball, the batter's score is his hits. In sales, a score might count up the number of proposals and closed deals per salesperson.

An average is a score divided by some other metric. In baseball, the true batting average is hits divided by times at bat. For a sales team, computing an average will require figuring out what denominator will be used to calculate the average.

Regardless of whether you use a score or an average as the actual metric, creative liberties allow you to refer to the metric as a batting average in order to retain the familiarity of the popular stat.

Option 1: Simple Activity Score

The Simple Activity Score is perfect for high-activity sales teams or sales leaders needing to improve top-of-funnel activity. This score maintains its simplicity because it is truly a score, rather than an average, so there is no need to compute a second figure to use as the denominator.

Different sales activities can each be assigned different values and consolidated into a single score. For example, for your sales team, an actual meeting or demo might be worth 25 times more than simply making a cold call.

Step 1: Choose the activities that are important to your team (i.e., dials, connections, conversations, meetings, demonstrations, and appointments)

Step 2: Assign each activity a point value:

Dials = 1 point

Connections = 5 points

Meetings = 25 points

Step 3: Multiply the actual activity of each salesperson by the appropriate point value.

Example: A salesperson makes 80 dials, has 20 conversations, and sets five meetings:

80 dials times 1 = 80

20 conversations times 5 = 100

5 meetings times 25 = 125

Total Score = 305

Option 2: Activity Average

The Activity Average is truly an average and requires calculating a denominator. The most appropriate stat to use as the denominator is your minimum expected activity metric. This average then is a percentage measure of the achievement toward your anticipated goals.

Step 1: Calculate the Simple Activity Score from Option 1.

Step 2: Calculate the Expected Activity Score using the same point values from the Simple Activity Score.

Step 3: Divide the Simple Activity Score by the Expected Activity Score divided by the Minimum Expected Score times 100.

Example: If you expect your salespeople to make 60 dials, have 20 conversations, and set four meetings each day, then your 

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