“To me, the definition of gamification is ‘a tool to get data you wouldn’t normally get.'” says Stefan Madsen, CEO of Echo.it. “You’ve noticed the mega-trend of big data. Gamification is a tool that can get you there. It can prompt sharing of behaviour that in our case that wouldn’t normally be shared.”
Echo.it is a Copenhagen-based B2B platform that allows employees to share their actions they think fits to a corporate value or goal. By doing so, the platform rewards good behavior through badges, and management can get access to data they would have no other way of getting.
The badges can cover low-level support actions, such as “helped a customer find a lost item,” or “showed a customer where the new ticket office is.” But there are some higher level goals to obtain, such as minigames based on the amount of stuff you do, as well as qualitative badges and awards. You could for example become a “hero” of the support category if you’re rated highly by the boss and other employees.
While getting badges and seeing progress bars go up rewards good behavior, Echo.it also offers a statistical module which can show management that a certain department is doing a certain type of action really well. For example in one area employees are cross selling better than average, but it seems they don’t care about efficiency. Management can then get some picture of what’s going on in that one area, and decide if some changes need to be made, if any.
Management can also use the tool as motivator for specific goals, such as keeping costs down. They can say to a team that they have to do a certain set of goals to get a specific badge, making goals and progress more visible.
Their first customer was S-Train in Copenhagen, which has about 1200 employees. After what Madsen says was a huge success there, this summer they expanded to all of the Danish rails. The company has raised two small rounds now, tells us they are in discussion with a few other clients right now.
In the course of the interview Madsen offered several insights to B2B sales to large corporations that I didn’t consider before. First, he recommends the book, The New Solution Selling and points out that many startups want to offer large companies a 100% SAAS product, but corporations don’t buy tools that way. In the back end Echo.it is still built as a SAAS product, but out front it’s sold as a solution. This requires a more hands-on approach (which doesn’t scale), meaning you’ll have to look to outside consultants for partnerships. But he claims its a much easier way to get companies to commit rather than preaching SAAS.
Another main point for selling to new clients is to keep everything dead simple at first, and then you add on. This will only give users very basic interactions, but as they move on they can make it more and more advanced.
And one last tip is to offer very lenient terms if you are a new startup. Madsen says he’s seen some startups’ terms give them the right to the corporation’s data if the company ever leaves, which will likely scare them away from a sale rather than lock them in.