By Rick Hanson, VP Worldwide Sales and Field Operations, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Security
Like a lot of global technology companies, Hewlett-Packard has a diverse sales organization that spans cultures and countries. Such disparity can make it difficult to build a cohesive team with singularly driven — yet shared — goals. But at HP, that’s exactly what we need to do.
Team-building, common cultures and shared goals isn’t just talk. It’s afforded HP Security double-digit percentage increases in the Americas and EMEA — increases that we believe are tied to our use of an innovative new sales tool, FantasySalesTeam. The product melds gamification and fantasy sports with sales contests to build peer relationships, strengthen team culture and ultimately improve sales.
As the VP of worldwide sales and field operations, I had been looking for sales tools that engage and encourage HP’s sales reps and provide us with a clear understanding of which metrics are important, how they are collected, and how they are analyzed. Equally important, I need tools that can help us formulate and execute consistent go-to-market strategies that leverage those metrics and analyses.
We’ve tried running sales contests in the past, using various software programs and tools, but most were too tactical and binary: there was a single goal and the reps who achieved that goal were rewarded, usually with money. Only a certain number of reps actually paid attention — those that had no way of achieving that goal didn’t participate — so the same reps were consistently participating and winning. This was hardly the work of a cohesive, driven team with shared goals, and the sales contest missed its mark: to engage the entire organization with a multifaceted approach, one where the goals and metrics span the sales process while becoming part of the culture.
FantasySalesTeam doesn’t perpetuate the single carrot/single goal mentality of traditional sales contests. With FantasySalesTeam, we can run a sales contest with multiple metrics in place and multiple motivators. Players (sales reps) earn points for everything they do. For example, a rep might earn points for increasing pipeline, number of POC’s or every deal they close. Results are shared via online leaderboards and dashboards, which make them highly visible to everyone in the company.
The unique twist is that the reps don’t just compete as individuals; they build teams just like in fantasy football. Reps earn points for their ‘FantasySalesTeam’ based on the performance of their chosen peers and friends, and this creates an environment of encouragement and pressure amongst the players. To win the game, they must rely and push on each other to perform. Even more exciting is just how many reps in our sales organization can, and want to, participate. FantasySalesTeam mixes business with pleasure, and when a rep enjoys a contest they typically work harder at it.
HP Enterprise Security initially deployed FantasySalesTeam in our western region in the United States. Adoption was high and feedback has been very positive. We’ve since broadened fantasy sales games to be deployed worldwide.
The product is easy to use and configure, and we’ve been able to change the focus of our games considerably with each game iteration to address new business areas for improvement. FantasySalesTeam integrates with Salesforce.com, and it gathers and documents metrics that are easily measured in our CRM. FantasySalesTeam has also been quite adaptable; we’ve been able to scale it to support a worldwide implementation that requires the use of currency exchange rates, links to employee IDs and the ability to drive metrics in different business areas.
A snapshot of our sales for the Americas illustrates FantasySalesTeam’s strength. In February 2014 (one month before we began using the product), our sales were down———–compared to the same time the year before. But in March 2014, while we were running a contest using FantasySalesTeam, sales increased dramatically. And in April 2014, when we ran another contest, sales continued to climb as did our behavior around certain metrics, such as pipeline health and deal conversion rates compared to the same time a year ago.
These results are hard to deny. So are the comments from some of our reps. “Using FantasySalesTeam has motivated me to close my business early in the quarter so I get a jump on making quota. It’s also improved communication with my teammates,” says Kirk Hillard, a sales specialist in HP’s Mid-Atlantic region. “As a result I’ve had many good conversations with peers around best practices and this has driven many of my own decisions around who to choose each week for my fantasy team.” Game on.
Rick Hanson is responsible for leading as well as defining the strategy and ensuring the success of the Global Enterprise Security Products organization. He has been a leader in the Information Security industry for over 25 years. He is an experienced leader who joined HP to make a difference. His primary goal is to increase the credibility, confidence and trust that HP has with its customers and partners in the security space.