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Zurmo Open Source CRM Beta Adds Gamification

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Posted May 31, 2012 By Pedro Hernandez     Feedback

Level up! Zurmo includes a points system and virtual bling in its CRM application to incentivize sales organizations.

Zurmo, an open source CRM project, hit a big milestone with the recent release of the Beta version of its software. One of the application’s features is a points and leveling system that adds a dash of play to the workday.

Zurmo's point system aims to engage sales forces by offering an experience akin to Foursquare, which rewards users checking into locations with badges and mayorships. Instead of unseating another user to become mayor of a neighborhood watering hole, Zurmo allows employees to gain "levels" and rise through the ranks by meeting sales goals and performing other CRM tasks.

Zurmo aims to do more than have workers simply accumulate points and climb leader boards. In order to reflect the dynamic nature of the sales process -- and its potential rewards – Zurmo has instituted a Category Leveling feature.

According to a blog post by core team member Ross Peetoom, "Our goal with Category Leveling was driven by [the] ambition to do something different with CRM gamification. We wanted to provide a game mechanic which was meaningful and not just another points and badges add-on."

Category Levels are gained by racking up points associated with a certain activities like drumming up new business, closing sales or managing accounts. Since each of these activities level independently, Zurmo can give managers insights into a staffer's strengths and help employees identify areas for improvement.

Social Enterprises Go for Gamification

Zurmo’s gamified CRM suite arrives during a shift in the CRM software market. In order to foster collaboration and improve productivity, business software and services providers are rolling out Facebook-like features to connect stakeholders, share information and align the efforts of team members. Gamification is increasingly viewed as a complementary feature to this "social enterprise" concept.

Gamification was singled out as an important influence on the CRM market in Enterprise Apps Today's Eight CRM Predictions for 2012. According to Garret Ippolito of CRMtrends.com, companies will adopt gamified solutions to help bolster their social media marketing efforts and improve customer engagement. "Gamification is not a passing fad, it is here to stay,” he said.

The trend has also spread to internal workforces. In March, Jive teamed with Bunchball to bring badges to its CRM and social intranet offerings. Business consulting firm Bluewolf  last month introduced a service offering that incorporates gamification to help employees of Fortune 500 companies learn how to use social media tools to collaborate and connect with customers.

Now that Zurmo has released a Beta version of its software, it's poised to help businesses of all types get in on the gamification trend. But it's not all fun and games. Version 0.6.6 of the Zurmo project also incorporates such CRM staples as contact and activity management, deal tracking and customization options. In a nod to smartphone and tablet-wielding work forces, it also features mobile device support.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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