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Gamification is a growing trend in corporate training, including pharmaceutical sales training. Around half of organizational innovation processes are expected to use gamification this year, and the technique will become a primary method top global companies use to transform business operations.

Games can be a terrific way to tailor learning content to different learners’ proficiency levels and personal motivators and provide instant feedback that helps them develop and sharpen skills. With gamification, trainees can learn innovative ways to solve real-world problems, but in a simulated environment. They can test their skills in simulated experiences without real-world consequences for wrong decisions. And frankly, gamification works because it makes learning fun.

Start By Identifying Goals

Successful training for pharma reps begins with identifying goals. What do you want trainees to learn to do? What effects do you want these skills to have on their everyday work? What do you hope the company will achieve from having better-trained reps? Gamification can be a very powerful way to influence behaviors, so it’s critical that you determine up front which behaviors you want to influence. Then you can select or design games that address those behaviors and reward them through points, leader boards, prizes, or the enjoyment of the gameplay itself.

Rewards, Collaboration, and Knowledge-Sharing Make Games More Effective

Positive rewards within pharma sales training games give players a feeling of accomplishment, which is an effective motivator. Additionally, when you can use games that enable peer learning and social interaction, you further reinforce learning and development of new skills. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) often add discussion forums to encourage communication, collaboration, and engagement concerning training games. The forums themselves can have gamification elements, such as reward badges for “most helpful” comments. Generally speaking, positive rewards and interaction reinforce learning better than negative rewards or overly competitive environments.

Games can be a terrific way to tailor learning content to different learner's proficiency levels and personal motivators.

The Focus Should be on Content Mastery Rather Than Game Play

Your goal in using gamification as part of pharmaceutical sales training is ultimately to help your learners become fluent with the content so they can use new skills on the job. Games should be chosen or designed so trainees are able to replay levels enough times to master the concepts, but not so many times that they exhaust the possibilities quickly and stall out at a certain level of learning. If your trainees can’t level up unless they continue playing after they’ve mastered all the content, they can grow bored and not feel sufficiently challenged.

Learning and Rewards Should Translate to the Real World

If you use gamification in your training programs, you can choose games where the reward systems mimic those that trainees will encounter in their day-to-day work. For example, rather than accruing points, your pharma reps could amass virtual commissions as they would in their actual work. This can help cement the association in the trainees’ minds that performing certain tasks can be expected to result in certain types of rewards, an association they’ll carry with them once they complete training and go back out into the field.

Leader Board Example

Sometimes Gamification Activities Take Place Outside the Game Itself

Have you encountered people on Facebook who play the wildly popular game Candy Crush? In this game, not everything happens inside the game interface. There are certain parts of the game where players are encouraged to reach out to their Facebook friends to progress. For example, they may earn additional lives by reaching out to Facebook friends. This concept can be extended to pharmaceutical sales training by incorporating some of your company’s existing tools (like an internal social media platform) into game design. You could even allow players to level up inside the game when they achieve certain real world performance objectives while working.

Companies in all industries are discovering the value that can be delivered by gamified training programs. Games are great for developing and rewarding skills, and they allow trainees to progress at the pace that’s right for them. Moreover, games make corporate training more fun by harnessing competitive spirit and including activities that are far more enjoyable than many traditional training techniques. There’s no reason pharma sales training can’t take advantage of the many benefits gamification delivers.

CLD, Inc. is a leading provider of pharmaceutical sales training materials in a range of media types and learning modalities, including gamification. For over 35 years, CLD has helped trainers develop the skills and qualities in their pharma reps that lead to individual and organizational success. If you’d like to learn more about gamification or any other aspects of pharmaceutical sales training, we invite you to contact us at any time. We would be more than happy to answer your questions and talk to you about our training products and services.