More and more businesses are taking strides to add a little fun into encounters with prospects and customers - And it’s paying off! 

In this article I, with the help of Darcy Smyth and Steve Claydon, Co-Founders and Directors of Why Bravo, take a closer look at gamification in marketing and sales, and how the arcade effect can help motivate your sales team. 

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Fun isn't the opposite of work-it's the key to success

At iGoMoon we value a fun work environment. Ensuring you and your team have a fun and enjoyable workplace offers many advantages. For starters, having fun reduces stress. It also energizes people. These two factors combined can help increase productivity. Fun also makes people more creative because it allows them to think playfully.

Having fun means we’re amused, entertained and engaged. We often overlook this in the workplace with the way we approach and complete tasks. We have been told repeatedly that the key to success is working hard. Although this is important, at the Moon we believe fun plays a crucial role in achieving our goals. As communicators in the marketing industry, it is always important to make sure we’re having fun with the projects that we take on and with the customers; we work alongside. 

It all comes down to one thing - if you want to be successful and have fun at the same time, then you must find your own way of doing things that works for you. This is just what the Directors of Why Bravo Darcy Smyth and Steve Claydon did.

Meeting Darcy Smyth and Steve Claydon

When thinking of who we should speak to about having fun in Marketing and Sales, the first people that came to mind were, without hesitation, Darcy Smyth and Steve Claydon, from Why Bravo.

In addition to their empathetic nature, ability to think out of the box and curiosity to understand why we think the way we think, and do the things we do - Darcy Smyth and Steve Claydon are a powerful team with a clear and aligned purpose to use technology and games to change the sales atmosphere.

Since they began consulting together four years ago, they’ve transformed the previously dull world of Sales into Disney Land for Sales and Marketing teams. I caught the duo as they arrived in New Zealand, about to start their 4-week "Record Breakers" tour. They'll be visiting sales teams across New Zealand to do what they do best - sales training.

Here's a bit more about Darcy and Steve below:

 

Side note: As we started speaking, something very on-brand for these entrepreneurs happened. We barely made it 10-minutes into our chat before they had turned our discussion into a game of catch. The goal is simple: Don't drop the conversational ball. Every time you throw the ball and the other person can catch it and throw it back to you, you score a vague number of points. Bonus points if you drop in a powerful insight or inspiring anecdote. 

And not to brag but, I was starting off strong already tied for first on the leaderboard. 

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Why Bravo: Sales gamification software

For Steve and Darcy, it has been a step-by-step journey towards the business as it's known today. They began with their consulting company Why Bravo, working with project-centric sales teams in construction and manufacturing to help them win tenders and bids. But after being continuously approached by people who attended their trainings and told how "cool it would be if you could earn the fictitious coins in real life for doing real things" - this duo had their lightbulb moment that led to The Sales Game as we know it today.

 

We were like, oh hang on a sec. Here's a real problem that sales teams have. How do we keep our teams motivated to do outbound activity?... And that's pretty much what it is. You turn outbound activity into a way of collecting coins; you earn trophies and badges and bonus coins for achieving missions and achievements. And then you go cash in all those coins at the reward shop. Just like the arcade.

- Steve Claydon, Director of Why Bravo

Why Bravo is still Steve and Darcy’s consulting company, but ultimately, they’re in the business of sales training and helping sales teams hit new records and of course, celebrate those new records. They manage this with their in-person training events for business owners, The Sales Game and their digital platform for sales teams, Outbound Game

Darcy and Steve are so passionate about merging gamification with sales processes to help sales teams develop their skills by learning through play that they're also busy writing a book titled "The Arcade Effect”. We're excited for it to be released and to learn even more about this next era of what it means to be in sales from the experts on how to make connecting with your pipeline fun, engaging and motivating. 

How The Outbound Game motivates sales teams

Gamification of sales involves setting up challenges and sending your sales team out to compete against one another for the top spot on the leaderboard. Challenges can be as simple or creative as you want. You can rate your teams' performance in areas like individual results, deals won, calls made, revenue generated, and a lot more.

The element of competition is one of the best motivators for salespeople and people in general. As expert trainers, Steve and Darcy say “enthusiasm and eagerness are meaningless unless sales numbers are growing.” To be sure, there is a scientific explanation for why gamification is effective. When we accomplish something and receive a reward for it, our brain produces endorphins. And those endorphins produce excitement, which boosts motivation and the desire to continue playing so that we can continue to experience that rush.

In short, when you reward your sales teams, through gamification, they will want to do more to be rewarded again. The more your teams are playing the game of sales, the more you will see deals closed and revenue growth.

Why use gamification in marketing and sales?

Instant feedback

Games afford us the luxury of instant feedback for the sales strategy we just used. Did it work? Great, how can we refine it even further? Did it fail? OK, what do we need to change to win? The result is a fast-tracking of sales ability results without the wondering and waiting to see if the learnings truly landed.

Play-based learning

We naturally learn our greatest lessons through experience. This doesn't mean textbooks or PowerPoint slides aren't useful. It just means they're missing out on 95% of the action when it comes to truly developing ourselves for sales success. 

Having fun in the sales process

Having a solid customer acquisition strategy is an essential component for any business. Without it, you're going to seriously struggle to grow your business in any kind of meaningful way.

In both marketing strategy and sales, there is often a question of how to differentiate. Differentiation can help you grab a foothold and grow more easily rather than grinding head to head with your competition. Darcy and Steve have embraced this and as Steve puts it are “doing the exact opposite of what a lot of people in their area are doing...We like to stand out and we like to teach people to stand out, particularly from a prospecting point of view.”

In his book, The Opposite Effect, Steve uncovers exactly this - what it takes to stand out from the masses in business and occupy a valuable piece of "real estate" in your prospect's mind. An excellent read for aspiring entrepreneurs. 

As the duo speaks about their bold prospecting and nurturing strategies they also don’t miss a beat to speak about their sales process. Darcy and Steve explain the importance of being selective and knowing who your ideal customer is. Knowing who would be the right fit for your brand goes a long way to ensure that this spirited style of customer acquisition lands in the right way.

We have a lot of fun in our prospecting... we're big on handwritten notes. We're big on strategic gifts. We're big on building really genuine long-term relationships.”

- Steve Claydon, Director of Why Bravo

 

Darcy and Steve do things their own way by introducing their personal brand into just about everything they do. Just take a look at their approach to Outbound Game's fun and highly entertaining LinkedIn content for example. 

We love their unconventional approach to everything they do and as marketers; we know that building your personal brand helps you as a salesperson become known in your industry. Bringing your personality into your inbound strategy will help you improve your reputation and leave a lasting impression when you sell to prospects.

Having fun as the odd ones out in tech

When I asked Darcy and Steve how other professionals in their industry have met their stand-out-from-the-crowd brand attitude, their response wasn’t a shock.

As Darcy says just before he earns back a few stray points, “They either love it or hate it”. The pair are content within their brand persona and are comfortable being polarizing. They want to work with professionals and Sales teams who aren’t afraid to do things differently.

I think that a lot of technology companies will use fun as a strategy to get results, whereas we have a ton of fun and we use technology to help us do more of that. To get more results, while having more fun. So we see the most important thing is that the human beings running the company and being a part of the company are doing great work and are enjoying it and want to keep doing more of it.

- Darcy Smyth, Director of Why Bravo

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Enjoying the fun of failure

Cultivating a growth mindset about our careers—embracing challenges, persisting in the face of setbacks, emerging from criticism, learning from other’s successes—is vital for successfully failing, and is hard to do. It’s easy to have a growth mindset when things are going great but, once a screw-up happens, triggers and defensiveness quickly materialize.

So I was curious. What are Darcy and Steve’s most valuable lessons or better yet, most important failures in their careers?

In summary, my learning about business growth actually has nothing to do with business at all. It has everything to do with me in my own world.

-Darcy Smyth, Director at Why Bravo

What I take away from my conversation with Darcy and Steve is to enjoy the fun of failure. Most people hate to fail. We loath to act without the best information. But if we aren’t willing to fail, if we always want to execute perfectly, we won’t be able to rethink, reconsider and find new ways and strategies to achieve our growth goals.

The biggest failure I had is to not just learn to love it earlier as a kid. Just make as many mistakes as I could to learn that making all the mistakes in the world is actually the best thing you could be doing.

- Steve Claydon, Director of Why Bravo

Having fun in our partnership

As Steve and Darcy's time is finite, and with The Sales Game going international, it was getting harder for the pair to scale their in-person training events. And, right at the tipping point, the 2020 pandemic hit. Steve explained, "We had a great product that people were demanding, and we could no longer deliver it in an offline world." 

So, in an adaptive stroke of genius, and with some help from the iGoMoon team, Darcy and Steve re-configured their game-based training to work online.

Their new app, the Outbound Game takes their offline event and recreates it digitally so they can deliver it to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Darcy and Steve no longer need to be "in the room" and the app helps in raising the event's profile by becoming its own tangible product.

We've loved working with Darcy and Steve to develop their app and we're pleased they chose iGoMoon as their partner. We love how their playful energy seeps into everything we do together and every conversation we have. It makes the work we do not feel like work at all. Our company cultures are well-aligned and we're looking forward to continuing to support their scaling-up journey. 

You can read the full case study and how we helped transform their in-person training to work in an online setting on our customers page.

Having fun can separate you from your competition, and that pays off as greater commissions and longer-lasting relationships with your customers. When you are having fun, playing a game and celebrating your wins you will enjoy the process more, and your prospects will feel that positive emotion.

I'd like to extend a big thank you to Darcy Smyth and Steve Claydon for taking time out of their busy schedules to speak with me and share the many inspiring ways they have fun and motivate others to have fun in marketing and Sales. 

Oh, and just in case you were keeping score:

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