HomeBlog Why Can't Sales Technologies Be More Like Video Games?

Why Can't Sales Technologies Be More Like Video Games?

May 20, 2015 | By Steve Silver

  • B-to-b sales tech providers can learn from the video game industry’s focus on ease of use and positive end-user experience
  • SiriusDecisions study of sales technologies found that, on average, only 50 percent of buyers believe their tech investments meet ROI expectations
  • There is a direct relationship between value to the user and value to the business that can only be realized by ensuring a high level of end-user engagement/li>

I have a guilty pleasure that I suspect I share with a number of readers – I love video games. The graphics are amazing, the storylines are complex and the characters can actually evolve as the games progress. If you’ve ever watched someone play a great video game, you know that the player quickly becomes absorbed into the game, often to the exclusion of anything else.

I have a guilty pleasure that I suspect I share with a number of readers – I love video games. The graphics are amazing, the storylines are complex and the characters can actually evolve as the games progress. If you’ve ever watched someone play a great video game, you know that the player quickly becomes absorbed into the game, often to the exclusion of anything else.ideo gamesB-to-b sales technology providers, as well as teams responsible for purchasing, deploying and managing sales technologies, might be able to learn something from the video game industry’s focus on ease of use and positive end-user experience. SiriusDecisions study of commonly deployed sales technologies found that, on average, only 50 percent of buyers believe that their technology investments achieve the expected benefits or meet ROI expectations. Given the amount of time and money invested in sales software, training, support and licenses, 50 percent is a pretty scary figure.

The basic tenet of video game design is to apply design and aesthetic principles that facilitate an increasing level of interaction for play, health, educational or simulation purposes. What might this look like if we applied similar principles to b-to-b sales software and applications?

  1. Elegant introduction of complexity (also known as the “keep it simple” rule). When launching a new software tool, avoid the temptation to immediately add features, functions, complexity and customization unless they have a direct and measurable benefit to the user. It’s far better to gradually add complexity over time after users understand the tool’s core functionality and begin to incorporate it into job tasks.
  1. Deliver feedback and a feeling of accomplishment. Users must be able to make a direct connection between using the tool and completing tasks, increasing efficiency or improving results. For example, if you’re asking a sales rep to enter win/loss data in a tool, be sure they understand how that information is used by marketing to improve campaign effectiveness (e.g. provide better leads to sales reps) or by the product team to improve offerings and competitive positioning.
  1. “Teach” without teaching. Learning a new application often feels like a chore. Supplement text boxes, help guides and video tutorials with use cases, best practices and shortcuts to common functions that help users learn by doing. The goal is to gradually and continually increase users’ comfort level, trust in the new application and dependence on it.

As far as I know, there is no edict that says that business software must be boring and visually uninteresting. There is, however, a direct relationship between value to the user and value to the business that can only be realized by ensuring a high level of end-user engagement.  Whether considering the purchase of a new sales technology or trying to drive greater value from existing investments, take a lesson from the video game industry and put the end-user experience front and center.

Steve Silver

Steve Silver is a Senior Research Director of Sales Operations Strategies at SiriusDecisions. Steve brings with him more than 20 years of executive-level experience spanning sales operations, sales and product marketing. Follow Steve on Twitter @jstevensilver.

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