Microsoft buys sales gamification company, so you can sell things and play fantasy sportsBy Devin Kate Pope
Microsoft recently acquired Incent Games and will integrate the startup's sales gamification platform into their own customer relationship management software in the coming months. Bob Stutz, corporate vice president for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, discussed details of how they will bring Incent's FantasySalesTeam platform into the Microsoft fold.
The fantasy sports component developed by Incent will be a new offering in Microsoft's CRM, making it appealing to the competitive sports fan who's also in sales. Or that seems to be Microsoft's hope.
Stutz says FantasySalesTeam will engage sales staff more effectively and then lead to better performance and sales numbers. Customers using FantasySalesTeam with other CRM products will continue to be supported.
As always, there's some skeptical commentary to be found online. In a post from Computerworld, an analyst questions the need for more incentivizing and says the real problem is that the sales people might enjoy the game so much their attention is taken from their work.
Microsoft, on the other hand, expects FantasySalesTeam to deliver a unique and worthwhile result. Where in other incentive programs, the top performers win and the rest of the team loses interest, "FantasySalesTeam creatively addresses these problems with a tailored approach that drives amazing results."
And after looking at some of the statistics about FantasySalesTeam, Microsoft's excitement may be more understandable. Service Corporation International ran a pilot with 130 sales reps and compared their performance to about 700 others. The reps using FantasySalesTeam on average closed 88 percent more deals at 213 percent the average contract value. Also, Wireless Zone saw a 176 percent increase in total sales, 35 percent increase in specific product sales and a nine percent increase in profit in the first month using FantasySalesTeam.