Gamification For SDRs

How Drew Torrey and Prapanch Madhiraju are making prospecting more effective, more rewarding, and more fun with their gamification tool, Rake Rewards.

Our Guest

Name: Drew Torrey

What He Does: Drew is one of the co-founders of Rake and a competitive Ice Hockey player.

Company: Rake Rewards

How to Connect: Drew’s LinkedIn

Name: Prapanch Madhiraju

What He Does: Prapanch is (you guessed it) the other co-founder at Rake and a competitive Soccer player.

Company: Rake Rewards

How to Connect: Prapanch’s LinkedIn

Let’s not beat around the bush – SDR activities can be monotonous.

Cold calls, pitches, email follow-ups, prospect research, chasing potential leads…it’s easy to lose sight of the forest among the trees.

But the trees (your daily activities) are vitally important to make sure the forest (your goals) thrives. Slip into an apathetic mindset and you can kiss your sales goals goodbye.

That means as a manager, properly motivating your SDR team is vital to your success.

Enter: Gamification.

Recognizing and rewarding the success of your SDR team through friendly competition helps shake the monotony of their day-to-day and keeps them focused on what’s important.

So how do you build a gamification structure that fits your team?

We sit down with Prapanch Madhiraju & Drew Torrey of Rake to talk about the psychology behind gamification and how to best implement it on your team.

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Key Takeaways

  1. Broadly speaking, what is “gamification?” Let’s touch on the psychology behind why gamification tools like Rake exist and the impact they have on sales teams.

  2. What are the major components of most gamification systems? How do they drive desired behavior?

    • Contests, Challenges, Leaderboards, Social Feedback, etc.

    • Speak to the different types of motivation and how each is addressed through various contests/rewards/structures.

  3. Does gamification work for everyone? Are there certain groups of people that wouldn’t feel motivated by a competition structure?

    • How does gamification appeal to the new generation of salespeople entering the workforce?

  4. What comes first – culture, or competition?

    • Have you seen gamification tools become too (for lack of a better phrase) toxic within a company?

      • How do you coach users to ensure they don’t overuse the tool? Or is that even possible?

  5. What’s one big takeaway you want the audience to remember about gamification?

Top 3 Takeaways

💳 Gift cards are nice…but so is social recognition.

Knowing what motivates the individual members of your team is going to make gamification that much more impactful. Tapping into each rep’s “why” and building a system that rewards the right behavior with the right incentive will pay massive dividends.

Related Content: Focus on the Future: Event Recap

We’re not creating anything new…we’re just enhancing existing capabilities and frameworks.

That’s one of the coolest aspects of gamification – it’s not new, but a way for sales leadership to put a twist on the existing day-to-day activities of their reps. And when deployed strategically, that twist can help:

  • Nudge a C or B-level rep into A-level territory

  • Drive and reinforce proper SDR behavior

  • Promote healthy competition amongst reps & teams

🎁 Reward behavior, not numbers.

A lot of people look at gamification as ‘exploitable.’ And while it can be, you have to remember that the goal of gamification is rewarding the right behavior of your reps – not the results that they produce.

Prapanch said it a few times during the episode: “Do we need to change behaviors at the bottom so we can see the difference at the top?” Thinking about gamification in that capacity highlights the long-term benefits it brings (along with the short-term boosts in productivity).

Our Favorites

🤑 “We give the sales leader the option to build their own rewards store catalog because they know their reps better than anyone else.”

This is crucially important, and something that Drew & Prapanch figured out early. It ties back to the first takeaway here, and really illustrates one of the biggest issues with SDR motivation today. If you don’t tie the right extrinsic reward to your reps’ intrinsic motivation, that mismatch won’t motivate them in the ways you want.

🏀 Elam Ending® anyone?

Gamification lends itself to a number of different contest formats. As long as you’re using it to reinforce proper behavior, you can spin up any number of games or challenges within the guardrails of your system. Rake did that with their head-to-head challenges, a system reminiscent of what the Elam Ending® did to the 2020 NBA All-Star game.

It allows reps who are falling behind to bet a certain amount of points and challenge another rep in a head-to-head matchup – winner takes all. That way, no one rep can easily run away with a contest without opening themselves up to some extra competition. The Rake team saw this format add a new layer of strategy and competition into their contests while also mitigating the discouragement of reps at the bottom of the leaderboard. If reps are never fully out of it, their motivation to win will last a lot longer.

Final Thoughts

Hey listener – AJ here 👋

I love gamification. Maybe it’s the “athlete” in me (add air quotes to the actual quotes). Maybe it’s my natural competitive nature. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Whatever it is, I think that when done well it can make a significant impact on your team’s results.

Prapanch shared some stats on the growth of the gamification industry at the end of our episode. A YoY growth of 27% and a projected $3B in growth by 2026 show us that this industry won’t be going away anytime soon. But what really encapsulated our chat was how Prapanch ended it:

“Just speak to your reps. Ask them what they love about the job, what they hate about the job, how can we make this more exciting, and how can we make this more fun.

What makes you tick as an individual? And then using the framework that solutions like us or other companies have built, you can really leverage that data you get from your people to build the best possible solution.”

Leaders who are looking into gamification solutions should take that to heart. These solutions aren’t an ‘out of the box’ fix for your team – they’re an opportunity for you to really understand and tap into what motivates your reps to do their best. And it makes that process fun, rewarding, and replicable.

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