Sebastian J. Leonardi is President and Chief Business Strategist of DSXgroup, LLC., a Connecticut-based boutique management and technology consultancy firm. DSXgroup partners with direct sales organizations, technology companies and private equity firms to accelerate sales, conversion and growth by developing and implementing innovative channel design and model optimization strategies.
As a trusted advisor and expert in social commerce strategy, Sebastian consults with organizations on channel innovation, business and technology alignment, application of game mechanics, and the implementation of conversion-focused strategies to drive accelerated growth.
Guest Post by Sebastian J. Leonardi
4 Elements of Program Design to Drive Conversion and Productivity
I often work with social commerce companies that are either in the process of optimizing their business model, launching a new channel strategy, or evaluating their systems, programs and infrastructure for transformation.
Many times initial discussions about corporate objectives with executive management revolve around the need for growth, improved field performance, accelerating revenue and conversion, or the desire to leverage innovation to drive attraction through differentiation. Working through challenges to solve problems however, usually focuses effort on isolating, assessing, and fine tuning each area independently to achieve a positive result.
So here’s the thing… Invariably, plotting a solution in that manner may solve a problem but it fails in optimizing the overall environment due to the lack of focus on alignment. That is, coordinating the benefit and value of improvement made in one area throughout the enterprise to promote harmony in the business life cycle.
Whether you are considering the launch of a new program, implementing a system, or modifying your channel strategy, you are most likely doing so to drive sales and growth. To execute on those goals, there is a need to increase conversions (of one form or another), enhance productivity and experience (internally and externally), and most importantly- replicate a pattern of success.
Regardless of your initiative, to dramatically improve results consider the 4 key elements inherent to promoting alignment and successful program implementation: Adoption, Utilization, Dependency, and Replication.
These 4 elements are critical to incorporating and reinforcing desired behaviors to drive sales, revenue generation, productivity and business growth. To be most effective, these elements are ‘bounced’ against each program or initiative readied for launch to ensure the foundation is properly aligned for execution.
For example, follow the progression from Adoption through Replication in a ‘Gamified’ program launch for an innovative Direct Sales Company:
Creating reward, recognition and motivational drivers to increase Adoption (i.e., Subscribe to, sign-up, pay for, commit to use/participate) of a new system or program is the primary step for getting powerful tools and business management solutions in the hands of targeted Users. Two ways to accomplish this is to embrace simplification and improve intuitive design to minimize learning curves and reduce barriers to adoption by eliminating unnecessary complexities. This can be achieved by burying the horsepower and surfacing only key attributes that enable Users with ready access to applications they need most to drive personal success. In this case, behavior is focused on ‘what they should do’ rather than on ‘what they can do’.
As adoption is realized, focus turns to Utilization. As I’ve written and spoken about in previous posts and presentations; game mechanics can be used to drive increased utilization of systems and programs by introducing frequent prompts and notifications that ‘advise’ Users on what to do to achieve personal and team successes.
As Users continue to use core system attributes and act on behavior-driven prompts, they continue to be incrementally rewarded and recognized (privately, publicly or socially) as their level of system use and productivity increases. If motivational drivers of system utilization are appropriately aligned to behaviors that drive success, then increased utilization will deliver increased performance and accelerated results.
As Users continue to receive recognition for successfully using core system attributes on their path of progression (i.e., beginner to power user), their behaviors are tangibly rewarded by the results of their efforts (commissions, down-line growth, sales leader promotions, rank advancements, etc…). While recognition provides instant gratification and validation that continued system use can make them successful; their increased compensation levels provide ultimate reward.
As Users continue to experience incremental recognition and larger rewards, they become dependent on using the system and are motivated to embrace new challenges to achieve higher levels of accomplishment.
The effect of achieving high-levels of success and system dependency is implied retention, loyalty and improved results multiplied by the number of dependent Users. User productivity and success become ‘contagious’ as more Users achieve success by responding to the positive, underlying motivational triggers in the program.
As with most aspects of the direct sales model, increased results are achieved when all variables are aligned to drive goals and objectives by nurturing and perpetuating the right behaviors. By incorporating the 4 key elements in system and program design, reward and recognition triggers are aligned to work in concert with motivational drivers to fuel higher levels of performance.