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Hazel Raoult
Hazel Raoult February 23, 2023

SaaS is gradually becoming one of the fastest-growing technology sectors. It witnessed more than 5X growth from $31.4 billion to an estimated $195 billion between 2015 and 2022. For projection, it is safe to consider the growth at a CAGR of 18.82% from 2021 to 2030, making it a $702.19 billion industry.

Such massive competition drives SaaS businesses to innovate, thus giving them an edge in the domain. The evolution in product engineering, robust usability, user-centric approach, etc., creates a solid platform for SaaS businesses to prosper.

Therefore, as technology advances, SaaS businesses must keep up with the latest trends and innovations to remain competitive and successful. And one such innovation is SaaS gamification.

SaaS gamification involves game design elements like badges, points-system, badges, leaderboards, and challenges, in non-game contexts. The goal is to boost engagement and motivate users to use more of the product in a way that is of value to the business. 

Overall, businesses can use gamification to ensure a high level of user engagement and quick adoption of software that minimize training dependencies.

Understanding SaaS Gamification

SaaS Gamification is an approach where the software implementation is based on game-like elements that engage users, encourage loyalty, and increase usage. As mentioned earlier, elements like badges, points, leaderboards, and more are integrated to encourage users to interact with the product, complete tasks, and achieve goals. Also, the gamification visuals and the logo design create the effect of familiarity among users.

The goal of gamification is to motivate users to come back and use the product consistently and increase customer loyalty in the long run.

The following are the key components of SaaS Gamification:

1. Points

This is to quantify users’ progress and achievements. Points are awarded for completing tasks, meeting targets, and tracking progress over time and act as a reward for certain actions. Businesses using software for product development can leverage it to assign points at each scrum, while the sales team can use points for leads converted/closed.

For onboarding, provide users with points for responding to a survey, uploading a profile picture, or taking a product tour. These points can be redeemed for prizes, discounts, and early access to new features.

2. Badges

Badges are virtual symbols or awards earned for completing specific tasks or achievements. SaaS gamification will have badges in the form of recognition that are rewarded to users for successful task completion. A SaaS company that offers project management software can leverage the concept of badges to gamify SaaS. 

Here, users can earn badges for various accomplishments like:

  • Creating their first project
  • Inviting a team member
  • Adding their first task
  • Reaching 100 tasks in a project
  • Completing all tasks in a project
  • Timely task completion

Badges are a great way to recognize customers for their achievements and can encourage them to continue using the software.

3. Leaderboard

Leaderboard is a ranking system showing how users compare to each other in terms of points, badges, or other metrics. This can increase competition, encourage users to work harder to accomplish tasks, and increase rankings. 

A SaaS CRM company can create a leaderboard to track the top salespeople based on the number of deals closed or the value of those deals. For instance, Autodesk has implemented this idea with a gamified tutorial during its trial period. Users engage in virtual missions to make their way onto the leaderboards. Individuals with the highest scores are recognized and featured on Autodesk’s homepage.

4. Challenges

In SaaS gamification, these are specific tasks or goals that users must complete to earn points, badges, or other rewards. SaaS businesses can include challenges as a part of the self-training module to motivate employees to engage more with the software and encourage them to pick up new skills. 

Offering users regular challenges can promote feature discovery and usage among users. For instance, Nike’s Run Club app offers limited-time challenges to motivate people to engage and explore various options. Such features include GPS tracking, levels, and rewards.

5. Storytelling 

Storytelling uses narratives and storylines to engage users and make the SaaS gamification experience more immersive. The software can have a narrative to help users understand the context and purpose of the gamification elements, making the experience more meaningful and enjoyable.

Aspects of SaaS Gamification

#1 User Onboarding

User onboarding is an important journey that helps to establish an enduring relationship between customers and your business. Introduce gamification at the user onboarding stage to prevent frustration and churn. This help ensures users are guided in the right direction and know what to do at the right time. A positive onboarding experience can make good associations with the brand, resulting in a high retention rate.

After a successful customer onboarding process, they should feel empowered to embark on a journey of exploration and experimentation. Provide clear instructions to users on what they should do next. 

A well-designed onboarding experience should also address the issue of engagement and encourage progression while fostering a set of habits that promote activation. Gamification techniques can make the onboarding process more enjoyable and improve the app’s usability.

By incorporating game-like elements into the onboarding process, businesses can foster a feeling of excitement and anticipation among new users, encouraging them to explore and interact with the platform’s features.

#2 Skill Development

With SaaS gamification, employees can earn points for completing learning activities, compete with their peers for the top spot on a leaderboard, or earn badges for their achievements. This creates a fun and interactive environment where employees are motivated to learn and develop new skills.

Businesses wanting to track employee progress and skills adaptation can pick gamified SaaS. It enables tracking and monitoring employee progress, giving them valuable insights into which employees excel in certain areas and where they need additional support. This can help identify and address workforce skills gaps, leading to more effective employee development programs.

SaaS gamification provides employees with a fun and engaging environment to learn and develop new skills. Gamification-led learning can drive increased motivation and engagement, helping employees to improve their skills and become more valuable assets to the organization.

Salesforce has revolutionized the learning process with its Trailhead program. It integrates different modules for quick learning that help use its products better. 

Salesforce modules for skill development

For instance, Sales Cloud Basics will have different modules with points awarded on completion. It also has badges and a leaderboard based on these points. 

Customers choosing Salesforce CRM can be certain that their staff will be able to pick up the skills they need to operate the platform efficiently.

#3 Referral Gamification

Gamification can effectively engage customers from early onboarding (as mentioned earlier). For example, placing a progress bar on registration forms can motivate users to finish all the steps.

Other common gamification tactics include loyalty programs and incentive systems for referring new users. Incentivize users to refer friends and family, rewards like discounts, special gifts, and points can be offered. For instance, if a user invites five friends to sample the product, and one subscribes, the user will get a reward.

These points could be accumulated and used to get discounts and other rewards.

An example is Harry’s referral program, where a referrer may get shave cream after referring only five people and a year’s worth of free blades after referring fifty people.

It is possible to employ progress bars to reward customers who make referrals. This can be done by granting them new “sharing ranks” or “sharing levels” each time they reach a certain amount of referrals.

#4 Drive Productivity

SaaS gamification also works to enhance productivity that involves most everyday tasks.

For example, check out the karma point system by Todoist, a task management app:

When users make changes or finish assignments, they gain karma points. The app’s users will be encouraged to keep at it because, after all, who wants to avoid reaching the pinnacle of productivity?

However, there is an intriguing twist to Todoist’s system: if some tasks are delayed (for instance, more than three to four days), you will lose karma points.

The user is kept on their toes, which in turn boosts their real-world productivity.

At its core, gamification is about providing users something to strive towards, like a goal or a milestone they may feel the accomplishment of finishing it. 

An intimate understanding of SaaS users and what motivates them can help create these objectives for each phase of your customer’s journey. To ensure that gamification keeps the user’s attention away from completing the task, start small and put your ideas through their paces. This ensures that users understand the process and are in tandem with the intention behind gamifying certain aspects of SaaS usability.

Wrapping Up

Businesses can make enterprise gamification work by adopting SaaS software that follows the same philosophy. Businesses may integrate software’s gamified features with their organizational goals. 

It’s important to note that SaaS gamification is not simply about adding game elements to software. The key is to create a meaningful and relevant game experience that fits the software and the users. For example, in productivity software, gamification elements encourage users to complete tasks and achieve their goals. In contrast, gamification might focus on incentivizing users to provide high-quality customer support in the customer service software.

Implementing SaaS gamification starts with defining goals for the target audience. Gamifying SaaS features and functionalities requires constant feedback from the users and their teams. This can help refine what works best. The gamified elements require systematic integration within the software to offer productivity, customized UX, interactive onboarding, and an intuitive referral mechanism.

The Upshot.ai Advantage

Upshot.ai is an omnichannel, user engagement, and gamification platform that helps digital product owners and marketers improve product adoption and conversions.

With Upshot.ai, banks, Insurance, and FinTech firms can enhance their digital experiences with pre-built gamification features. It can provide personalized insights, actionable recommendations, and contextual nudges designed to deepen its relationship with its users.

Book a demo of the most comprehensive user engagement and gamification platform to achieve your digital product goals. Join our communities for more insights, guides, and best practices that keep you updated with proven strategies and tips to supercharge your campaigns.

About the Author

Hazel Raoult

Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and works with PRmention. She has 6+ years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing, and all things SaaS. Hazel loves to split her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.

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