Ambition brings fantasy football mechanics to enterprise sales organizations

By Michael Carney , written on June 10, 2014

From The News Desk

Good salespeople are by their nature highly competitive. It’s unsurprising then that adding gamification and incentives to the sales process has been proven to boost productivity. It’s with this in mind that Chattanooga-based Ambition created its SaaS-based “fantasy football for sales organizations” platform.

The Y Combinator W14 alumni aims to replace the standard spreadsheet and whiteboard-based sales competitions run internally by many corporations, instead using software and data analytics to increase accountability, transparency, and engagement. The platform integrates with Salesforce and other CRM systems, as well as phone systems to measure communication activity and other productivity-driving tasks.

It’s natural to be concerned that adding competition to an already mercenary sales culture could lead to a negative working environment. But Ambition is conscious to stress team-based competitions and to emphasize long-term (i.e. quarterly), rather than short-term competitions.

"We think it comes down to biology. Not psychology, biology," says founder Travis Truett. "It's human nature to form tribes and compete. Ambition is in our DNA."

Ambition has signed up hundreds of companies as far ranging as Dropbox and iCracked. Each company measures different metrics to drive performance. For example, according to co-founder Brian Trautschold one client wanted to drive calling volume and was able to see its 430 salespeople increase daily calls by 50 percent from 14,000 to 21,000 calls, and resulting sales by 44 percent.

Despite the early success, Ambition is not without competition. Similar offerings are available from Level 11 and Hoopla. But according to Trautschold, these products largely misses out on motivating the middle 70 percent of the bell curve.

“We’re somewhat unique in the way we focus on driving day-to-day activities that make sales reps truly successful,” he says. “We have become de facto consultants to a lot of these companies that come to us and ask about best practices for delivering results. We can actually auto-configure companies to meet or exceed the benchmarks of an 80th percentile employee – we help companies companies create 'Moneyball for their sales teams.'"

Ambition has raised $2 million in Seed funding from Google Ventures, SV Angel, High Line Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures*, Justin Kan, Rick Morrison, Acequia Capital, Lamp Post Group, and individual angels.

The company is in the running for the $100,000 Southland Startup Competition.