Liam O’Brien
January 6, 2020

What do speed cameras and blood donations have in common?

To slow down someone who is driving over the speed limit, it’s more effective to show them their exact speed using a live tracker than to simply install speed cameras or put up speed limit signs. That’s because people are more responsive if their bad behaviour is displayed publicly with real-time information.

I found this anecdote in So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson, which I’ve just finished reading. It’s a brilliant book about the origins of humiliating public punishment, both before and after the rise of the internet. I’d highly recommend it – although don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about tarring and feathering in this blog.

What the speed camera story got me thinking about was how technology can reinforce user behaviours. Because if this kind of thing can discourage negative behaviours like speeding, it can be used to encourage positive behaviour too. Positive feedback loops – where you are rewarded for an action and incentivised to take that action again – are already found all over the place in our everyday lives.

Just switch on your phone. Social media companies and app developers are very sophisticated at giving you a steady stream of little dopamine hits which keep you coming back to them, from push notifications to unlockable trophies to scientifically selected colour schemes. Sometimes they’re used to get you hooked on a new Candy Crush game or to listen to more podcasts; other times, they encourage people to give blood, learn a language or exercise more often. Anywhere you see gamification, you’re seeing this theory in action.

So what does gamification have to do with software sales? Well, consider the common theme in the examples above. Gamification is an incredibly useful tool for encouraging user adoption and retention – a key challenge for software sales, where users are not familiar with the new platforms they are being asked to use.

For example, I have a friend who works with companies to help them incentivise the use of new technology. She has helped businesses gamify Microsoft Dynamics to encourage salespeople to use the system, with the promise of XP (experience points) which could win them Amazon vouchers as prizes. Dynamics actually has its own functionality to allow gamification.

While this example has a financial prize at the end, you don’t necessarily need one – we all love reward and recognition. A lot of salespeople in particular thrive on competition. With Dynamics, you can set up notifications or congratulation messages whenever your sales reps complete an action, log a deal, or hit their targets. You could set up weekly or monthly leader-boards, or split your reps into teams who can compete against each other for prizes. All of this helps encourage those salespeople to get more familiar with the Dynamics platform – and it would be easy to do the same for other teams, such as Customer Service or Field Service.

Ultimately, I’d recommend keeping gamification in mind whenever you hear that a client is struggling with low user adoption or facing weak enthusiasm for new software. With the right incentives, you can make software adoption a lot more entertaining.

This has only been a quick overview of what you can do with Gamification in Dynamics, but if you’d like to hear more about it, feel free to drop me a message.

And remember to always follow the speed limit.