When applying gamification and effective use of game persona roles to real world business situations, we have to avoid swallowing game theory lock, stock, and barrel.
When recruiting candidates for B2B sales, we have to be careful not to fall down the rabbit hole into the gamers’ middle-earth. In B2B sales, we are not playing in dungeons, and we do not build business on dragon relationships. To make effective use of game persona roles, we must remember we are dealing with metaphors. Still, lacking other strategies, game personas can provide helpful profiles for filling open sales positions.
In previous articles, with great respect to the original thinkers, we have recognized
- some difficulty in clearly naming the major player personas,
- language limits attempts to describe motives,
- different players play differently for different reasons and change their interests and motives over playing time.
We have not gotten involved in the empirical studies that support the gaming industry so well – because they simply are not relevant to business processed in any practical sense.
However, when recruiting candidates to fill open B2B sales positions, sales managers can build a strategy on the discussions open before us. Sales managers too often hire for the wrong reasons: gut feelings, personal chemistry, and gregarious personality. Manager should use of game persona roles. We are working toward a language that describes desirable behaviors and the interview questions that elicit those behaviors.
Settle on four game persona roles
Victor Manriquey complicates our needs by lengthening the list of personas and visualizing them as avatars. Avatars are virtual, and we need to ground our imagination more than that. We are not recruiting angry birds. We are trying to recruit people whom we know we can engage and keep engaged.
- Enjoyers are fun people. They like stimulation and surprises. They engage with the quick and simple. They need enough stimulation and mystery at the beginning to make them want to pursue.
Enjoyers train easily on short tutorials with ready rewards. But, if the business product or service is not so structured, sustaining such employees’ engagement will be counterproductive. You can ask candidates to describe the competitions that appeal to them and the elements that interest them. The interview is the best place to discern how the candidate defines and values “joy.”
- Achievers are players – with a capital “P.” They are in it for recognition and rewards. They are seriously in the game and do not hesitate to game the system. They do not suffer amateurs well and secure intrinsic satisfaction through extrinsic rewards.
Achievers earn their keep and remain engaged as long as you up the ante on pursuits and prizes. They also need you to publicize the scores and progress. Your risk here is in hiring the showoff that has little integration with larger goals. In an interview, they are likely to remember the specifics of their previous sales campaigns. So, you can have such candidates narrate a previous sales competition experience, and listen for the signs of interest.
- Socializers live to network. Socializers amass contacts, and they will contribute to teams and customer relationships. However, socialization is not the sole sales purpose. Players who do not share their motivation discourage socializers because they assume team goals are common goals.
How prominent you want your socializers to be may depend on the product or service. You can satisfy them with group awards, engage them with social reports, and brainstorming on plans. Interviewers can ask candidates to name the players they have worked with before and to provide a narrative describing a team experience.
- Explorers want purpose in their lives. Games excite them as a means to something else. They like getting around the board without going to jail. Games are fun and bearable so long as they lead to progress and adventure. They like the journey as long as it takes them somewhere new.
Explorers like meaning, and meaning takes language more than signs or symbols. Steps that have values that affect larger business goals impress them. Interviews ask what is meaningful to them.
The nature of B2B sales will determine the best balance of sales personas. Cold calling, for example, prefers a profile different from that of inbound call centers. Products and services need different strategies. But, generally, there is value in having a balance in personas. There are more game persona roles, of course, or variations thereof, but we want to move onto structuring effective interviews.
Game persona roles Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net