How to motivate your salesforce with a sales gamification platform | Sindre Haaland - SalesScreen

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About SalesScreen

Sindre: SalesScreen is a sales gamification platform. Imagine you have an outbound motion in your business, and that process works pretty well. At that stage, you need to do a minimum set of activities every day, every week, and every month. That will lead you toward those business outcomes you’re driving towards. That’s your engine. You’re upgrading your engine when you place SalesScreen gamification into the mix. You’re going to do more outbound activities, and you’re going to get better quality because of the motivational elements inside the tool as we help people facilitate one-to-one data-driven conversations and keep everyone accountable and in the know of how they’re doing. It’s the ultimate toolkit for managers to motivate their teams.

The problem sales managers are facing

Sindre: The biggest problem, which is very relevant now, is how do you get people excited to work every day and put in the effort, and how do you motivate sales teams these days? It’s a tough market, and a saying says 2023 surviving is thriving. We’ve recently seen 51,000 people lose their jobs in big tech companies. How do you keep the remaining people excited to go to work and motivated to put in the required effort to achieve the goal? These days you need to do twice as much as you did last year, and you’re probably going to be paid less.

How do you gamify the sales process?

Sindre: You always start by having some business outcomes. Let’s say you’re a software company with a BDR team that’s supposed to build a pipeline. The ultimate goal of the business is to create more pipeline, and then you take that goal and break it into a funnel of activities. And the purpose of this exercise is to dive into the actions required of the individuals on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis. And for the BDRs working, let’s say they use Outreach or Salesloft, which might add context to a sequence because that starts all the tasks you’re supposed to do daily – cold calling or connecting with someone on LinkedIn, or making a personalized video. Now, you have goals that you want them to do consistently.

Many of our soft-space clients want to have 60-100 cold calls a day and other tasks. Now you have a dialed-in sales process to get to that business outcome. That’s when you can start to capture that data, funnel it through SalesScreen and create competition where people can engage and where we level the playing field, not only leaderboards but also a lottery. Every time you book a meeting, you get a ticket, and by the end of the week, there’s a raffle, and you spin the wheel to see who wins.

You could have achievements that create consistency, say 20 contexts added to a sequence in a day, giving you a badge that pops up everywhere, and people recognize it. The second day they do it, they’re on a streak, and now they start to build up a streak. And then suddenly, when you’re on 20 working days in a row, you’ve added 20 contexts and feel loss aversion. You don’t want to lose out on this streak, so you continue to make the same habit repeatedly, and suddenly you’re building consistency around the actions that people can influence themselves. We are getting people self-determined to do better, meet up every day, and have some fun doing the cold outreach and the required hard work. That’s a bit of the process, and obviously, we have tons of game elements in our platform that make it fun.

Best SalesScreen features

Sindre: The TV visualization is probably one because if you don’t know how you’re tracking towards a goal, you don’t have accountability, and you don’t know what you should be doing because your destination is not visible. Visualizing that on a TV and our mobile app if you’re working in the field is essential. Once you know where you’re at, you can create some bumps in your performance. And one of the key features is there is probably competition. We have hundreds of templates, and you can spin up a meeting competition, point the way to competition, or a treasure hunt where you can open a chest and steal from others. That’s super fun and probably the second most important feature.

I would say the third one probably is either achievements or the social feed. Because if you want to be self-determined as an individual, you need to feel mastery, you need to feel autonomy, and you also need to be connected to the rest of the team. Suppose you’re working from home when your winds are being automatically surfaced and recognized across the board. In that case, other people can go in there and give a gift or a comment and back you up, and you also feel a feed of the energy that other people are succeeding, so you will do it too. And that’s so important to kind of create that connectedness. Either that or the achievements because of the street concept and celebrating the smaller wins along the journey to that big pipeline goal or sales target. It’s also essential to get you motivated on a day-to-day basis. It’s not when you close the biggest deal ever. That’s when you’re getting the price. You need to do it consistently to feel that energy building up.

SalesScreen pricing plans

Sindre: The price point depends on whether you want a recognition package that typically gives you the TV visualization, the app to feed, and all the celebration. You also get the reward shop where you can engage and accumulate coins that you can exchange for rewards. That’s around $250 per user per year. If you want a full gamification platform with all the achievements, the competitions, and everything that goes into it, then it’s $500 typically per seat per year. It is a bit of a discount based on volume. We have customers up, and I think the biggest one probably has 19,000 seats on our platform, so you can imagine they have slightly less per user than the ones who are 15-20 people.

Sindre: We integrate with most CRM systems like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Pipedrive. We also integrate with most of the engagement tools like Salesloft and Outreach. Our goal is to capture the activities and the actions people do regularly. We have some other vital integrations. For instance, if you’re working with field sales and knocking on doors, you need an engagement tool like SalesRabbit. They are a strong partner of ours in that field. If you’re working in a call center or recruitment, we have specific niche CRM or integrations in those spaces and many different types of systems. We have a long list of integrations that we built up since its launch in March 2014. But we still have many customers manually inputting their data through spreadsheets or some reps using a mobile app or web app to input data.

How competitive is the sales gamification space?

Sindre: There are always smaller vendors popping up here and there. We are the safe bet that’s been around and is one of the biggest, but we have a competitor in the US, which is leaning quite much into coaching and ambition. We have a different one, which is more, targeted toward SMBs, called Spinify. They’re based out of Australia. We have a different one in Denmark called Plateau, which is more business intelligence based or like dashboards, but still has a gamification. There are quite a lot of different types of vendors out there. And it’s competitive, but in any new space like sales gamification, it is good to have many competitors because then they’re spreading the gospel and educating the market on the benefits.

Were you the first company to solve this problem?

Sindre: I guess we were one of the first to do it. I remember when we started, and we said gamification, and nobody had ever heard about gamification at the time. Eventually, we were saying that we’re a replacement for the whiteboard and the bell that people ring when they close deals because we have YouTube celebrations going off on the TV screens when they close the deal. It became like a digital whiteboard and sales concept. People were more educated about gamification than we could explain to them that’s actually what we’re doing. The market has matured now. People know what gamification is, but I still see it as a great opportunity, and in most cases, we’re not meeting a lot of competitors. It’s more educating and getting them sold on.

When did you start, and how did you come up with the idea?

Sindre: We actually started as a consultancy company back in 2011. I founded it as a university student in computer science. And then took a couple of iterations before we found the sales product, which was launched 1st of March, 2014. I’m not going to take praise for the idea. We actually had a fairly amazing customer back in Norway, where this company was founded, which used our tool at the time, a corporate messaging application to send out a message every time somebody closed the deal to create a burst of energy in call centers. And they sent tens of thousands of messages and then asked us – hey, could we add the sale directly in your mobile app? And that message could include a leaderboard of the day and how much you’re trending toward your target. We thought that was a great idea.

We’ve never looked at this use case of like motivating salespeople through. We did that, and suddenly the jungle telegraph just hit, and people started to call us out of the blue, telling us – hey, we saw this fantastic tool, and we want to buy it too. And we just pivoted hard, and we went with it. Now we’re probably around 60 people, and we did raise a small round in 2018, a couple of million dollars, and then we have added a bit here and there. Over the lifespan is probably close to 7 million, including old depth. We have 7 million raised and 7 million ARR, so it’s dollar for dollar.

What has been your biggest challenge since starting the company?

Sindre: The biggest challenge came under Covid because we had a bigger reliance on the TV visualization, and a lot of customers spotted us because of the TV visualization, it was a key feature, and suddenly they were working from home. It didn’t take long until we realized that was an excellent opportunity for us, and we had our best growth ever since people felt disconnected and wanted to get more of that connectedness they used to have in the office.

It was a silver lining to it. But under that timeframe, we were actually looking into raising a bit more money, and then suddenly, this feature isn’t as important. We had to shift, and then we went back into the office, and this whole economic downturn came knocking on our doors. Then again, our funding plans got derailed yet again. Managing just growth and efficiency has been quite tough in a market where one second, VCs favor growth, and on the other second, you need to have efficiency. Those transitions are pretty brutal.

What has been your best growth tactic?

Sindre: I would say the product itself. With the TV visualization, many people saw that when they entered other office spaces and were curious, asking what that was. You see the leaderboards and competitions ongoing, and here’s a YouTube celebration. In the first years, we did everything just came inbound because of that. Building a virality loop or whatever you want to call into your product is always intelligent, and we’ve also tried to make that. Now we allow reps to share their achievements on social media. They get a SalesScreen certified achievement when they share that on their profile or on their LinkedIn feed which is excellent because they have probably hundreds if not thousands of followers. It does create brand awareness and spread. I would say build something into the product, and that’s what we’ve done, and that’s been amazing.

What’s the vision for SalesScreen?

Sindre: I think every revenue team out there needs to have at least one tool in their ecosystem that talks human. These days we have AI and machine learning and everything, and having something that just captures human emotions and tries to do work a bit more fun and exciting and build people up from a psychological point of view. I believe that this should be a part of the ecosystem everywhere. We’re building out this space and will keep building it until everyone has a SalesScreen in their office.

What’s your story, Sindre?

Sindre: I did start pretty young as a 22-year-old. I founded this company. It turns out that was always the plan. I was pretty much a tech geek from the age of 13. I was coding at the assembly level. I hacked my high school and middle school and went all over when it came to programming and computer science, and I realized the challenges and overcoming them really motivated me. The ultimate challenge was obviously to create my own business. I started to prepare for that. And did a lot of like side jobs and IT consultancy work, made some mobile apps, and experimented with many different things until I just said – well, let’s just get going.

Brilliant people at the university surrounded me, and I could get them into the team before the big tech companies came and stole them. The timing was good as well. And, of course, the student loan was paying for my food and putting food on the table, so I could start bootstrapping and did that until 2018 when I raised money for the first time. It’s been a lot of SalesScreen, but it’s been an incredible journey and constantly developing and learning new things, especially as I bridged to the US and moved to New York to bridge that cultural gap between Europe and the US.

What’s your best piece of advice for founders?

Sindre: You need patience, breed with your stomach, and endure. Founding a company is a marathon, and it’s not a sprint. Make sure you understand that it might take longer than you expect. It. But the return will always be there if you keep at it. But more of late, I would say dare to select away stuff. For instance, when you target a customer base, be as targeted as possible. Hone in on your ideal customer and dare to say no. And focus, because the more precise you are on the personas and the companies you’re selling to, the easier it will be to scale. And you can always branch out with new products or new verticals later, but getting that snowball rolling is just so important and more accessible if you focus.

Also, just hang in there. Better days for coming. It will probably be another four to six months until the tides turn. But if you look and learn from the history of bear markets, it’s always much shorter when things are going down than bull markets. And rarely, much more than a year, year and a half. I do believe that if you stick, believe in your process, and believe in your company, you’re able to survive, and you’re going to thrive after.

What have you learned from being an angel investor?

Sindre: It’s been a tremendous journey because I love giving back after learning the hard way. For a long time. But also just going in, feeding a bit of that energy, and seeing some of that creativity firsthand. And in many cases that, that’s also benefiting our company. We are at the later growth stage, but startups they’re really pushing the edge on technology and what’s possible. And sometimes, they might be concepts, patterns, or technologies that are better than ours, and then we can adopt them. I started to invest reasonably late, around 2020. Right now,  they’re all alive, so far, so good. But these are challenging times for startups for sure. If they can pull through this drought or whatever you want to call it, you know, those companies are going to be super strong. It’s a good reminder of how brutal it is in those early days.

What’s your favorite software apart from SalesScreen?

Sindre: It’s a bit boring, but Slack is fantastic. The way you can collaborate synchronously and integrate with so many different things. I will give you a couple of other bonuses. Again, boring, but Salesforce is an excellent tool because it’s flexible. You can adapt all your processes to work inside that CRM if you have good people. It’s a significant investment, but it’s really paying off when you get there. And then, finally, I would say Notion is becoming more and more essential for us because we have put more or less everything in there, SalesScreen training academies and SalesScreen product processes, collaboration, playbooks, and all of that.

Connect with Sindre

SalesScreen: salesscreen.com

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/shaaland