Using Social to Encourage Productive Salesforce Behaviors

Using Social to Encourage Salesforce Behaviors from http://jenfongspeaks.comOne of the aspects of gamification that I find most intriguing is how powerful social elements are to the overall success of a game. Particularly in the casual gaming space (think Farmville, Bejeweled Blitz, etc.), players are motivated most by challenges they can complete with their friends. This is why you see those posts asking for cows and such on Facebook. You can’t “win” if you don’t involve your friends.

Now obviously this is important to game makers, because the more people who play the game, the more potential there is to monetize. But the impact on behavior is also powerful. People like these games BECAUSE they can participate with their friends. In fact, one of my friends recently said to me that the only interaction she has with certain friends is through Words with Friends. They are her “game friends” and she’s happy to have that outlet in which to interact with them.

Now what if we took our understanding of the social element in encouraging behaviors, and applied it to the salesforce experience? In some ways we already do…team meetings, booking blitzes, convention, etc. But what if we could do it with technology too? What if many of the daily tasks a consultant needs to do in order to succeed were turned into social opportunities? Wouldn’t that encourage the salesforce to complete these tasks more often, and therefore be more successful?


  • Using Social to Encourage Salesforce Behaviors from http://jenfongspeaks.comNike Plus has an app for running. When a member of the community starts a run, the run is posted on Facebook. Every time one of the runner’s friends “likes” the run post, the runner hears cheering WHILE they’re running. Now imagine if, when a consultant begins (for example) making calls, they can post this task where their consultant friends can see it. Every time one of their friends likes the task post, they get some sort of encouragement that their friends are cheering them on. Don’t you think this would encourage them to stick with it when they get the inevitable “no’s”?
  • The company has a team meeting competition. Every member of a team can “check in” to a team meeting when they attend. The team with the most check ins earns a certain status for the month (maybe a pizza party, a special recognition at convention, etc.)
  • Consultants within a team are paired up. Each of the pairs is competing to meet the most new people and share the business in a given time period, and enter that data into the system. New contacts from both individuals in the pair count towards the pair’s total. The team with the most new contacts in a given time period get special recognition (as well as a lot more business.) This could be an ongoing incentive with either the same or new pairs throughout the year.

And these are just a few ideas. Yet within all of them it’s not just about the individual. It’s the social element that provides a powerful encouragement to keep at it. And a bonus is that the social behaviors we encourage can lead to greater salesforce retention as well, as our sellers build stronger bonds with one another.

How could you create social experiences that encourage the consultants on your team to work their businesses more consistently? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

5 Responses to Using Social to Encourage Productive Salesforce Behaviors
  1. Cathy Ritter
    April 2, 2013 | 11:35 pm

    Perhaps I’m not the ideal person to be in the direct sales business. I say this in response to the idea of adding yet another element of competition to manipulate behavior. My feeling is one of pure anxiety at the thought of having to game through my day to build my business. I’m not one to play Farmville, Words With Friends, etc. Although I have used the Nike app for running. I quit using that app pretty quickly because it became yet another non-consequential bit of time clutter. So perhaps, I just don’t get it.

  2. Karen Clark
    March 12, 2013 | 10:30 pm

    I am curious about your thoughts about negative consequences of gamification. This is something that concerns me due to the “abundance mentality” that the industry is known for promoting – adding lots of competition could change that culture couldn’t it? I am all for team incentives, contests now and then, and achievement levels but I worry that if we go too far toward gamifying the business, people will figure out how to “game” the game, and not truly grow in their being/doingness, and we risk alienating or discouraging those who don’t, won’t or can’t “game” the system as well as the others. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this aspect! Here’s an article that kind of relates:
    Karen Clark recently posted..Online Parties for Direct Sales May Not Work for You

    • Jennifer Fong
      March 13, 2013 | 11:37 am

      Karen, it may be useful to you to read Gabe Zichermann to further understand some of these concepts (and it may be useful for the author of that article as well.) A lot of those concepts (and more!) are often discussed and addressed in current gamification research. It’s up to the designer of any gamified experience to create game dynamics that specifically reward the behaviors you’re looking for. Will there be some “gaming” of the system? Probably, no matter what you do. But we also need to keep in mind that this relates to the casual gaming space, not the hard core gaming community, and these players are wired differently. They’re not going to be looking for the “hack” like a hard-core gamer would be. And with sufficient monitoring of the system, much of the gaming can be kept in check. Add to this the fact that consultants that choose to participate in these gaming apps that are designed to help them do better in their business, those that would seek to grow in their businesses anyway will recognize the value in honest participation. Will it work for every single consultant? No, but neither does our current system. What it may do, however, is encourage people who may not be motivated by our current system to do a bit more and experience a bit more success. And that’s what we’re all working towards!

      • Karen Clark
        March 13, 2013 | 11:46 am

        Thanks – I’ve got his new book on pre-order and look forward to reading it! I think as long as people like yourself who are familiar with the special considerations for this specific industry are involved, it has potential! I’m anxious to hear of any companies who decide to take this leap and try it out, and what their results are over time! I wonder who’s going to be the guinea pig? 🙂
        Karen Clark recently posted..Online Parties for Direct Sales May Not Work for You

        • Jennifer Fong
          March 13, 2013 | 12:12 pm

          I know of a few Karen! Stay tuned!

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