Sebastian Leonardi has an outstanding record of creating triple-digit growth by leveraging innovation and leading key business initiatives and is regarded as a “thought leader” within direct selling markets. He is now the President and Chief Business Strategist at DSXgroup. DSXgroup is a management consulting firm that specializes in providing direct sales organizations among others, with cost-effective consulting services and innovative solutions. Prior to founding DSXgroup, Sebastian was a senior executive for a U.S. based private equity owned SAAS e-communications technology provider. He is a frequent speaker, published writer and sits on the Technology Councils for the DSA and MENG. He has spoken at various meetings of the US DSA and the WFDSA.
Guest Post by Sebastian J. Leonardi
Driving Engagement and Conversion Through Social Marketing Innovation
During the past five years, technology providers have worked diligently to evolve system capabilities to meet the growing needs of direct sales companies. Of all mission critical components; the areas of e-communication and e-marketing have experienced the greatest transformation. The initial phase was through the exploitation of social media; incorporating sharing, posting and forwarding functionality to promote engagement and social community development.
The secondary phase is leveraging engagement and community to drive conversion. Ultimately, making good on the prophetic claim that direct sales companies will be able to derive ROI attribution from social marketing campaigns. Progress however, has been slow as initiatives have been skewed toward promoting application dependency rather than adaptive program design.
To stimulate new growth and accelerate conversions through social marketing innovation; direct sales companies should consider: a) Reengineering internal training, recruiting and sales programs to align processes with innovative applications, b) Move e-marketing initiatives from a content-driven to ‘conversion-focused’ perspective, and c) Optimize results of conversion intensive campaigns by integrating two key elements: Simplification and Gamification.
Two Keys For Changing The Game
Simplification is both a requirement and a byproduct of intuitive design.
The first step in driving more engagement and conversion begins with increasing User Adoption and system Utilization. Simplification and intuitive design minimizes the learning curve and reduces the barrier to adoption by eliminating unnecessary complexities. This enables users with ready access to applications they need most to drive success by focusing them on ‘what they should do’ rather than on ‘what they can do’.
Gamification is the design process that integrates mechanics of behavior and reward modification.
This is by far the most exciting and promising area of system and program design for direct selling and reinforces Adoption and Utilization by promoting Dependency and Productivity.
Of the approximate 24 stages of game mechanics, five have the greatest potential for kicking field performance and conversion results into your company’s next level of growth. Stages can be integrated independently or combined to drive NextGen levels of engagement, loyalty, influence and revenue.
a) Achievements are virtual or physical representations of accomplishments that are often considered ‘locked’ until users have meet a series of tasks that are required to ‘unlock’ the achievement. Specifically with regard to direct selling; Achievements can be applied to any recruitment, retention or sales programs to motivate progression toward personal and downline accomplishments.
b) Behavioral Momentum is the tendency of users to keep doing what they have been doing. The key here is to integrate Behavioral Momentum mechanics to ensure adoption of best practices, continuity of progression and institute a pattern of replicable success.
c) Levels are part of a ‘system’ or ramp (much like direct selling compensation plans) in which users are rewarded with points, rewards or capabilities of increasing value. Leveling-up is one of the highest motivational components for gamers where features or ‘functionality’ is unlocked as users progress to a higher level.
d) Status is associated with rank or standing and users are often motivated to increase proficiency and effort to reach a more ‘elite’ status (similar to direct selling reward and recognition programs).
e) Virality is a gamification element that requires collaboration among multiple users and has a strong social component for getting others in on the action to accomplish a given task. Another important aspect that has the capability of raising peer performance levels and motivating social networks comprised of customers and prospects to drive recruitment and sales activity.
Systems and programs that incorporate innovative design mechanics provide enhanced reward/recognition triggers that fuel anticipation and motivation of users to stay the course to achieve performance overdrive and an ‘elite’ status among peers.
As a result, the power and value of gamification within direct selling may be more capable of delivering unprecedented impact on conversion and network velocity than any other traditional approach today. The question is: Are you ready for what it can do for you?