Microsoft has acquired games developer Incent Games in a move to add the gamification of sales into its customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Incent Games owns a sales gamification platform known as FantasySalesTeam, which is aimed at incentivising sales teams to improve performance through running contests similar to those found in fantasy sports games.
Bob Stutz, corporate vice president at Microsoft Dynamics CRM, said that the company will integrate FantasySalesTeam into Dynamics CRM and consider its use in other Microsoft products.
"With Microsoft's focus on productivity and our obsession with customer success, this acquisition is a great fit. To help drive adoption of our CRM solutions in fun and creative ways, we are integrating FantasySalesTeam into our offering," he wrote on the Microsoft blog.
"In the coming months, we will integrate and offer this service to our customers and will continue to support customers using FantasySalesTeam with other CRM [products]. The potential of applying this feature beyond the sales scenario to other fields and areas in a business is exciting as well."
Adam Hollander, chief executive of FantasySalesTeam, welcomed the acquisition and its potential to help the gamification platform reach a larger audience.
"As part of the Microsoft team, I can't wait to help write the next chapter for FantasySalesTeam. Today our product is used by thousands and soon it will be available to millions," he said.
FantasySalesTeam runs as a web, iOS and Android app and allows a company to define sales metrics and assign sales representatives with ‘player positions' based on current performance and create a scoring method by which performance can be tracked and rewarded.
Sales representatives can use the game to create their own virtual sales team, much like in fantasy football, and use it to compete against other teams (as seen in the video below).
Sales teams are often given incentives to boost performance, but Incent Games claims that gamification tools like FantasySalesTeam keep sales representatives more engaged with incentives programmes as the top performers do not always win by default.
Furthermore, gamification platforms can better collect sales performance data without adding additional layers of operational software and services.
FantasySalesTeam counts other major technology companies such as HP, Comcast and CenturyLink as customers.
Financial details of the acquisition were not revealed at the time of writing, despite V3's request for more information from Microsoft and Incent Games.
Microsoft is having a busy year acquiring specialist software companies, having recently bought application management software firm BlueStripe and data visualisation company Datazen.
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