The Success Tracking Difference (1) : Single Score

In this mini-series, “The Success Tracking Difference“, we are focusing on the differences between the new discipline of Success Tracking and traditional analytics / business dashboards.

The single score is probably the most far reaching difference.

Compare the following images, one of a typical “business dashboard” the other of a single score success tracking program.

A business dashboard tends to feature several data visualisations without enabling the viewer to see a summary of everything in one go. It is designed with “monitoring” in mind – the idea that you are always watching the monitoring dashboard in case something goes wrong.

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A typical business dashboard layout with several graphics competing for attention

A success tracking program, such as the LinkedIn Social Selling Index, on the other hand, is designed for regular check-in and focuses attention on a single number.

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There are many benefits of tracking’s single score approach:

  • Simple to understand – everyone can appreciate a single number
  • Fast personal comparison – you can quickly see if things have changed (gone up or down)
  • Easy to communicate – you can send a single score via SMS text
  • Embeds priorities – you can add another layer of intelligence to the tracking by weighting different metrics and so prioritising some over others
  • Enables peer comparison – you can benchmark and rank yourself against others

The main disadvantage of the single score is that it takes time to design a good one. Working out the relative importance of different metrics is never straightforward. it is the job of the score designer to embed their own expert biases in the weighting. That means each “score algorithm” should be adjusted for the local context and business priorities.

This also means that just taking an “off the shelf” index such as that provided natively by companies like LinkedIn with SSI above, is not a good strategy.  Using someone else’s weighting is unlikely to deliver as great returns against your business goals as if you created your own single score weighted to your business preferences.

Three types of Open Badge distribution approach to consider

When thinking about the distribution architecture for your digital Open Badge program there are 3 viable approaches you should consider:

Manual Distribution based on Simple Criteria

Manual distribution is often fairly easy to do – an open badge platform  like Credly will provide features for sending badges via email and via claim codes.

From an administration point of view, manual distribution only works when there are a small number of badges, a simple criteria for achievement (attendance at an event, completion of a course for example) and a small number of recipients.

However, short of hiring a pool of badge administrators, this does not allow you to scale! For more ambitious programs, automation is required:

Automated Distribution based on Simple Criteria

With automated distribution you will need a separate system for handling the criteria achievement. Most gamification and success tracking platforms can do this for you. For example Rise lets you set up a number of checkboxes which can be updated via API, via spreadsheet upload or manually by managers.

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Rise metrics can be sophisticated based on numerical thresholds but can also be very simple – a checkbox for example

Then the tracking platform connects to the open badge provider and automatically distributes the badge once all the criteria are met.

One of the advantages of having an underlying tracking platform for multiple simple criteria is that for each badging program you can display the current participants and track staff as they progress. This provides social feedback for other staff who are encouraged to join the program and for those staff mid-progress, they are herded towards completion.

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A Rise board provides one way to track both simple and complex criteria for your badge recipients and then automatically distribute open badges on successful completion

 

But in many more sophisticated programs the criteria may develop to be more sophisticated than a simple yes or no – perhaps a grading system or different badges for different thresholds met?

Automated Distribution based on Complex Criteria

A good example of this sort of automated distribution might be a social selling success tracking program. Giving sales reps a badge dependent on their current size of LinkedIn network would certainly recognise them, and spur them to increase their reach and so earn the badge for the next level up.

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Automatically distributing threshold based badges for LinkedIn network size via a Credly account.

Again having an underlying gamification or success tracking platform is absolutely vital. The platform can track each underlying metric and then apply the badge rules and automate the distribution of badges as needed.

With multiple criteria the individual participants will want to see how they are doing – here the tracking app comes into its own as it can provide a dashboard for each participant to see the breakdown of their current scores and progress over time.

Rise clients are doing exactly this by linking their Rise board with Credly badges for seamless automated distribution. Contact us to find out how Rise can support you in your Badge program.

 

 

Tracking her way to world number 1

michelleThis is a guest post by Michelle Sandford from MicroSoft telling the story of how she tracks her rank and score on her way to online success.

I’ve always loved Linkedin. As someone working in tech, the idea of a CV – a static piece of paper that is out of date the minute it’s printed, is somewhat distasteful to me. I imagine mine buried in a stack of 200 other such documents, all black and white, Times New Roman, similar template, similar details. Indistinct.

But Linkedin was never like that, even from the start you could put a photo on it – which added some colour and personalised it. But now – it is so much more than a live résumé.

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It’s the Articles that I love most. It used to be that you had to be someone famous to write Articles on Linkedin. You had to be “An Influencer” already. But now – anyone can do it, and I believe it is the articles more than anything else that have been building my Tribe.

In the beginning, I was a bit timid – afraid that people would read what I wrote and judge it unworthy. Now I realise that was foolish, because of course, when you start writing Articles no-one is reading them. But once you get into a habit, and are writing them once a month, or even better, once a week – you will start to build a following.

The other thing that I do, is I don’t try to come across as some mighty intellectual. I do not fill my articles with language designed to make myself sound smarter than those around me. I talk as I do in real life. I think many people find my manner child-like and somewhat endearing. But I know the simplicity of my language is what adds value to my blogs. Anyone can read what I write and understand it, it makes sense to them in the context of their lives. I’m not trying to be a “Thought Leader” by demonstrating my superiority to anyone. I am trying to make sense of all the crazy data and help the people around me through it.

Recently the guy who runs the Microsoft Social Selling Program told me that I was the number 1 Microsoft Social Seller in Australia and Number 3 in the world. He said with a tiny bit more engagement – commenting on other people’s posts, a few more connections – and I could become the Number 1 in the World! Which is interesting because I do not work in Sales, or even in Marketing. But I have the widest reach! I had a look at my own personal hero – Mark Russinovich – and he has 3,777,043 Followers. I have 2,510 Followers. How is it possible that I have a higher Influencer Score? The answer I think is that he doesn’t write Articles on Linkedin!

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Now there are a lot of people who tell me that “Social media just isn’t my thing”, which I think is insane in this day and age. Social Media is free! I can engage with people across the world. I can build influence and connection while I sleep! There is a permanent record of my personal brand across the interwebs.

When I go to events or meet new customers – it is rare that someone hasn’t heard of me. Many of them will say “Wait, what is your surname? Hey, I Follow you on Linkedin!”. I do not need to establish credibility anymore, it’s been established in advance and I can go straight in to talking about more interesting stuff. It is a tremendous time saver. It’s a relationship accelerator. It’s a connector.

I am a little bit anxious in big crowds. I am afraid of using the telephone. I get imposter syndrome when introducing myself to executives. But I have built a Tribe on social media and they have my back. They make me strong. They make me credible. The world knows who I am without me having to “elevator-pitch” myself to everyone I meet. And it’s better. Way better. Why don’t you give it a try too?

Michelle Sandford is a Tedx Speaker, Tech Girl Superhero, Microsoftie and one of MCV’s 30 Most Influential Women in Games. She is the Vice Chair of the Australian Computer Society in Western Australia and she is currently the #2 Social Seller on Linkedin for Microsoft in the World! Follow her on Linkedin and on Twitter @msandfor and if you like video, check out her YouTube channel.

If you’d like to see your own social influence score head over to the Online Influencer Rise Board and sign up to join, each week you’ll receive an email with your score and rank as you track your own way to online success.

Rise can also be used to track and rank LinkedIn activity and SSI scores if your team have sales navigator licences, email us for more details.

 

Use Success Tracking to encourage sales team micro-behaviours

As a sales manager you have a pretty good idea of the tools and techniques it takes to be a successful seller.

Often you can see the behaviours that your top sellers are doing, mostly out of habit, that you’d love to see in your mid and lower range sellers.

These behaviours could be the big obvious macro-behaviours – like getting out of the office, picking up the phone and making calls, but they might also be micro-behaviours, those smaller tips and tweaks that over 100 calls would make an incremental difference.

Examples of micro-behaviours might be:

  • tweeting on social media once a day,
  • keeping track of customer birthdays,
  • checking the industry movers and shakers news,
  • exchanging news with a colleague or
  • doing extra call preparation.

The micro-behaviours might only result in small improvements for each individual– an extra sale here or there – but as a sales manager, you know that if everyone on the team did them, that would all add up to a sizeable difference.

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But, if micro-behaviours are worth considering you still have the problem of how to incentivise them!

After all, most of your sales staff only get out of bed when there’s money to be earned, it’s the nature of the sales function and decades of conditioning from sales motivation programs based on financial rewards.

What you’ll find is that the big behaviours are already heavily incentivised: finding opportunities, making calls and closing deals are all covered within your formal  sales incentive scheme. It’s formal because this scheme is compulsory – every seller is measured by it and the commissions they earn are the key reason they come to work.

You may have other mandatory sales motivation programs on top of the commission structure too – for example, I’ve seen many managers circulate a sales leaderboard to encourage competition between sellers and win an additional, local, prize.

But micro-behaviours aren’t valuable enough in themselves to be worth incentivising with cash. So how do you do it and sustainably?

sales micro and macro behaviours

One approach is to run a success tracking program.

In a success tracking program, you help a seller improve professionally by giving good, digital feedback.

To do so, you track, for each seller, the micro-behaviours that you’ve seen work – for example, if you’ve seen digital selling on Twitter make a difference then you can offer to count for each seller how many tweets they did each day.

You can save them the trouble of tracking and reporting the number of tweets themselves.

The exact micro-behaviours you identify will be according to your context and business. Your job as a sales manager is to identify them, make a list and then encourage the rest of the team to apply them.

Don’t forget, you need to offer your team your success tracking service on an optional basis. Don’t position the program as yet another sales incentive scheme or management and monitoring scheme, instead position it as a self-help tool for them to help them get better at selling. By getting better at the micro-behaviours of selling they can be sure that this will improve their results on the macro-behaviours where they are formally rewarded.

instead position it as a self-help tool for them to help them get better at selling.

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Another way to look at this is, to think about “lead” and “lag” indicators.

Typically sales remuneration is focused on “lag” indicators – opportunities closed for example. These indicators track how you sellers did in the past but they are difficult for sellers to improve themselves – they can’t magic up sales opportunities to close.

Lead indicators are the KPIs that track behaviours that lead to successful sales (and closed opportunities) – filling the top of your sales pipeline with prospects for example. That’s a surefire way (if not the only way) to increase the number of closed deals that come out the other end.

A good success tracking program focuses on the lead indicators that bring success.

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So, how do you go about designing your success tracking program?

You can test success tracking very easily today.  These are the steps:

  1. Decide what do you want to track = what metrics matter? How do you weight them or assign points? You might want to ask your team.
  2. Who do you want to track? Are you tracking teams or individuals?
  3. How will you collect the data? Can you automate data collection or will some steps need manual intervention?
  4. How will you distribute the score to opted-in sellers?
  5. How will you track your own success in running the program? Has it contributed to a positive change in behaviour among your sellers?

I recommend heading over to Success Tracking University where I present a couple of courses you can take to learn more about Success Tracking.

 

 

3 answers to Gamification and Big Data questions

Gamification and Big Data often go hand in hand. It’s worth asking a few key questions as to why and how:

1. Why is gamification a critical component of any data strategy?

Because gamification provides the context and reason for data sharing between player (e.g. consumer) and manager (e.g. company). i.e. loyalty programs are primitive examples of gamification – you exchange your data (shopping at the supermarket) in return for rewards (redeemable points).

2. “Manage Data like a stream not an ocean.” What does that mean in a Rise context?
With big data you cannot and should not be storing everything in the hope that it will one day be valuable (the data ocean / data lake approach) – this is a waste of resources. Data isn’t that valuable, it is tricky and expensive to store well and you’ll probably never use it. Instead you should be planning ahead, processing the stream as it happens and act at the time, using it to kick start other processes.
For example, Rise processes 90 days of social data into online scores for sales reps wanting to become better at social selling. Each week we create a ‘release’ which summarises the previous week. In so doing we keep a permanent history of their aggregate scores but delete the raw data.
3. Are data brokers like Rise going to be increasingly needed?
Yes, as data privacy becomes an increasingly complex area between employees, the company you work for and the apps you use – there is a key role for data brokers like Rise who protect and support the data interests of all parties. For example in social selling programs, we allow employees to share Linkedin data with their employer on number of new connections per month but do not allow the employer to see who those connections are.

Rise launches Social Selling Club

iconWe think Social Selling, the art of prospecting and engaging with customers via social media, is absolutely wonderful and we’d love to see more sales professionals use it. The social selling club is an opt in club to track and measure your social selling performance for free.

The Internet, search engines (i.e. Google!) and online digital data (especially social media data) make today’s buyers (both consumers and businesses) hold all the aces in the procurement game. There is general consensus that a B2B buyer has completed 2/3rds of his buying process before interacting with a single vendor. This is why every business needs to embrace social media marketing and social selling. These tools allow you to position yourself so that you are the natural port of call when a buyer decides to talk to a vendor.

Social selling is no different from normal selling, except the conversations and interactions happen on social media – on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogs, etc. The objective of social selling is to post content and contribute to conversations on social media so that your prospective customers get valuable information and advice to help them in their buying decision making. A minimum requirement for success in social selling is to achieve reach (how many people are reading your content/posts), activity (how much content/posts are you contributing on a regular basis) and engagement (are people taking notice of your content by acknowledging your contributions positively and interacting with you in conversations).

You start social selling by tweeting, responding to other people’s tweets, following people, getting followers, making posts on LinkedIn, making connections, blogging. How do you keep track of how well you are doing this week after week, and also relative to other social sellers?

This is where Social Selling Club comes in. We will help you keep track of all these activities and report back to you on a weekly basis, giving you a single score that will be easy for you understand how you are doing from week to week. The score will also show how well you are doing relative to everyone else in the Club. Look at the detailed data every week and you’ll be able to understand what you are doing well and where you need to do better.

And the best thing is that, this won’t cost you a penny since this is a free service from Rise. So, what are you waiting for? Join now and start your journey of social selling success.

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