Gamification? How About Generating Channel Sales Instead

Updated March 22, 2023
Published in Channel Marketing Strategy, Channel Success, Partner Incentive Programs

In the channel management world, it’s a shame how much energy goes into gamification. All that energy does is focus attention away from the whole point of having a channel: generating sales.

I’ve never been a big believer in SPIFs and contests either. Gamification is just the latest version of that sort of distraction.

“All right, now we got to entice this.”

“We have to make deal registrations fun.”

Really? No, you don’t. You just have to make it easy.

Gamification puts focus on the wrong stuff. Who cares who’s winning the game. The pertinent question is, who’s selling the most?

The Difference Between a Root Cause and a Symptom

Forget gamification. Sales are what matter.
Forget gamification. Sales are what matter.

Always take symptoms with a grain of salt because it’s easy enough to stimulate symptoms. I can get people more active in my portal if I just SPIF them or gamify the sales process, but more people in my portal is only a symptom of what I really want (which is sales). Sales organizations who employ that tactic usually attract a certain type of person who will likely waste an inordinate amount of time caring about making the leaderboard or winning the weekend in the Poconos.

Meanwhile, the other individual – the better salesperson – is out hustling and closing deals and doesn’t care about contests. In fact, she or he is annoyed by gamification.

What If You Just Focus On the Fundamentals?

What if you just focus on having the right product at the right price with the right support? How about delighting your customers – versus trying to manipulate the last two weeks of sales by offering up SPIFs to redirect people’s attention? If that’s what you’re doing, you’re always going to be doing that. You can only manipulate people’s behavior through SPIFs and incentives temporarily. And at the root level, you’re just creating an inordinate amount of noise and confusion – and a lot of inconsistency.

The amount of energy put into running and managing a SPIF as part of your channel management strategy, or any sales strategy, is ultimately wasted. Ultimately, all you’re doing is compressing the sales cycle – or trying to. You’re creating suction at the bottom of the funnel and only robbing from the future pipeline. Trying to accelerate sales artificially, you’ll find yourself with a gap three months out.

Instead, A Good Salesperson Will Fill the Top of the Funnel

He or she will increase the quality in the funnel, and that’s how you increase your business. Running a SPIF because you’re not going to make your numbers and you don’t want to get fired is ultimately going to backfire. You’re better off keeping your integrity and getting fired. I’m serious – it’s a great experience.


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