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Relayware Partner Relationship Management

Game Mechanics And The Indirect Sales Channel

Posted on October 25, 2012 by Ken Snyder

Game Mechanics:  An Overview

In our personal lives we’re compelled to check in with FacebookFoursquare, and Yelp! in order to be crowned as the “mayor” of a restaurant, bar, or other business.  We compete with others, both inside and outside of our social circles, to prove our loyalty to the businesses we love.  Sometimes we’re granted discounts and perks from those merchants as a result of our loyalty.  These days there seems to be growing enthusiasm over the idea of game mechanics, like the ones mentioned above, as a motivator for driving improved employee performance and loyalty.  The theory is that leaderboards, badges, and other publicity-driven tools and measurements that have been widely adopted in our personal lives will encourage a healthy dose of competitiveness and excellence amongst employees within an organization – even across distinctly different business units.  In fact, an employer may even go so far as to offer perks, discounts, or other rewards to employees who demonstrate desirable behaviors and excellence as measured by their game mechanics criteria.

The History Of Indirect Sales Channels And “Private” Game Mechanics

I say, “Welcome to the party”.  Similar strategies and tactics have been in play as a means to motivate the indirect sales channel for years!  Scorecards, real-time business plan progress reports, training & certification, co-op, rebate, MDF, and incentives programs are all game-mechanics-like practices and they’re nothing new to the world of indirect sales!  These programs are all designed to celebrate success, track achievements and encourage loyalty, competency, and other desirable behaviors amongst an indirect sales community.

That being said, the traditional channel enabling programs mentioned above have primarily operated as private celebrations in the past.  However, the widespread use of mobile devices and apps that constantly ask us to brag about where we’ve been, who we were with, what we saw, and how fast we run, cycle, or swim has made society comfortable to the point where we shamelessly share every bit of evidence related to our whereabouts and achievements with the entire world – including photographic proof!  In other words, “game mechanics” appears to be making it socially acceptable to publicize EVERYTHING about ourselves – both personally and professionally.

The Indirect Sales Channel Is Already Conditioned To Adopt “Public” Game Mechanics.  They Just Need The Platform(s)!

This is significant because channel programs that, to date, have operated as a very private form of game mechanics are in need of change.  The expectation of the audience, the indirect sales channel, is that everything is public, transparent, real-time, accessible anytime / anywhere, interconnected, and automated (based on user preferences, of course).  The simple fact is that social sharing, PDA (Public Displays of Achievement), and mobile device usage – for both the consumption and distribution of content – have begun to weave their way into the fabric of B2B culture.  As a result, B2B technology solution providers must modernize their offerings to include the following:

  • Multi-platform accessibility to tools and content for both consumption and distribution
  • A means for tracking good behavior
  • A means for sharing achievements via PDA and social media integration

If B2B technology solution providers fail to deliver on the above requirements they run the risk of being displaced by a competitor who is better prepared to satisfy the social, mobile, collaborative, communication, and competitive expectations of both the enterprise AND the indirect sales channel.

Please share your thoughts on this phenomenon in the comments section!