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Microsoft borrows playbook from fantasy sports leagues to inspire your sales team

If you could build the perfect sales team from among your existing employees, which star performers would you draft first? What rookies would you add to the starting lineup, and how would you inspire better performance from strong utility players?

Microsoft’s business software group thinks it can help make those decisions, while improving the talent on your company’s bench. This week, it acquired FantasySalesTeam, a Austin, Texas-based company that sells an incentive system that uses gamification ideas and the familiar fantasy sports concept to improve sales performance.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the application will be integrated with Microsoft’s customer relationship management (CRM) software, Dynamics, although it will also remain a separate app that can be used in tandem with competitive applications, such as Salesforce. Reference accounts listed on its web site include cable company Comcast, tech giant Hewlett-Packard, and tire maker Michelin.


Microsoft disclosed the rationale for the transaction in a blog post written by Bob Stutz, the corporate vice president who manages Dynamics:

Their platform is highly effective at increasing team collaboration, productivity and consequently driving greater results and business growth. Through team-based competition and involvement of non-sales employees (such as managers, service, operations, marketing and finance) employees “draft” teams and become truly invested in each other’s success. Individual and team results become highly visible, driving both competition as well as collaboration and creating positive, impactful culture change.

Besides, who wants to be the last person selected?

This is the second publicly disclosed acquisition by the Microsoft business applications division in less than a month. In mid-July, the organization bought FieldOne Services, a software company that supplies field-service applications to companies like United Technologies and Mitsubishi-Hitachi Power Systems.

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