Incent Games, the Austin, Texas based company, has built what Microsoft calls a completely unique way to motivate salespeople that keeps everyone engaged — not just a company’s top performers.
Users first set up their own metrics, such as customer calls and revenue, and assign point values to each one. Salespeople then draft their coworkers, and arrange a lineup based on everyone’s strengths — just like in fantasy sports.
As the sales team goes to work, they earn points for their own ranking on leaderboards and for their fantasy team.
“Individual and team results become highly visible, driving both competition as well as collaboration and creating positive, impactful cultural change,” Bob Stutz, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Dynamics CRM, wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition.
Microsoft will build the product into its sales platform “in the coming months” and is looking at ways to expand the feature “beyond the sales scenario.”
Incent Games was launched in 2013 and announced in January it had raised a total of $1.5 million and signed up more than 100 customers. A Microsoft spokesperson wouldn’t disclose the terms of the deal, but she said it’s a small company with a “handful of employees” who are coming over to Microsoft.
The acquisition is just latest instance of Microsoft looking outside itself to innovate. It bought the creator of to-do list app Wunderlist in June, Sunrise calendar in February and Acompli email client in December. In each case, Microsoft turned to startup acquisitions to bring new features to some of its older products.
“FantasySalesTeam represents the best of an entrepreneurial spirit that takes a wholly fresh look at age old challenges and delivers a unique, original and innovative answer,” Stutz wrote in the blog post. “It’s the very embodiment of reinventing productivity and we are happy to welcome them into the fold, to share these great capabilities with our customers and to explore ways to expand this concept to other areas of the business in exciting and creative ways.”