Students learn deal-winning sales techniques through gamification

The Industrial Distribution Program at Texas A&M University prepares students with the use of gaming technology.


By using a first-of-its-kind sales training program based on gamification, Texas A&M University students are learning about the attention and discovery stages of the sales process. The Lead Generation Process, developed and run by researchers and faculty in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution’s Talent Incubator Program (TIP),uses game design and experiential learning.

Lead Generation research was initiated at TIP in the Thomas and Joan Read Center for Distribution Research and Education and the Industrial Distribution Program. Students created a model to generate leads and provide metrics for sales leads. Lead Generation, a part-time job and experiential learning opportunity for students, uses the science of game design to teach sales skills. The program is sponsored by various organizations and businesses. In return, participants put their new knowledge to the test by generating leads for the sponsoring industry partner.

“I have been tasked with the duty to map out a lead generation process for Memorial Hermann,” said David Wisniewski. “I am expected to meet key performance indicators each week that include metrics on cold calling, contacts found and data entry. I have been using the CRM system, and after working with data and leads through calls, I will use analytics to determine the best contacts to call on, the best times to call and the best process to use while calling them.”

The design of the Lead Generation provides a collaborative, yet competitive environment for students to engage with their peers. The system provides an internal competition that keeps students connected, on-task and motivated to fine tune their sales abilities. This dynamic environment helps students be self-driven and self-motivated — skills that are vital to their future careers. 

The program employs gamification in goal achievement, connects students and provides extrinsic motivators for project success. Gamification is an innovative way to make learning enjoyable, provide extra motivation and improve skills. While students are developing leads for their sponsor, they are also being trained on the attention and discovery steps of the sales process and it shows students how and why customers make decisions.

The program provides interaction with real practice and connection with industry, and companies experience benefits in overall sales and recruiting. More companies are choosing to be involved and enjoy the relationship they maintain with the students and the university.

The semester-long sales training program is the first of its kind and follows in the footsteps of TIP, which centers on experiential learning aligning industry to advancement of student learning.

“The Lead Generation program has provided extraordinary value for my future career in sales,” said Clayton Hatten. “My sponsoring company is Wisenbaker Builder Services. I have been tasked with analyzing their perceived value in the national production builder marketplace, as well as performing a competitive analysis on their top three cabinet competitors.

“Our goal is to gain an understanding of where Wisenbaker value proposition can align with their competitor’s inefficiencies in the Texas marketplace. Understanding the competition is invaluable in a sales atmosphere. The Lead Generation program in the Talent Incubator has been one of the most practical educational tools I have experienced outside of the classroom, and is comparable to the value an internship provides.”

Lead Generation is directed by the Dr. Esther Rodriguez-Silva, and has evolved by automating the sales process. Sales activities are integrated and the students are engaged in generating leads through cold calls. They are also able to track the result of their leads. Students follow strategy with the industry and outside sales force regarding the estimated prospect opportunities, propose solutions in the selling phase aligned with the sales capabilities and customer typologies and assess the value added on post-sales activities.

For more information about the Talent Incubator and Lead Generation contact: Dr. Esther Rodriguez Silva via email or phone: (979) 845 3146. Or visit the program’s website here.