2023 Direct Selling Trends

As 2023 kicks off to an interesting start, direct selling professionals are wondering – what does this year promise in terms of distributor training, productivity, recruiting, and other key elements of the business? 

From macroeconomic trends to specific developments in the field, we predict, based on the latest information, that the following are “trends to watch” as the next eleven months unfold. 

Direct Sales Software, Distributor Training, and Business Practices Trends 2023

1. Automated Distributor Training – As the World of Direct Selling recently made clear, one of the pitfalls of direct selling is that the industry often fails to implement new training programs either when or as promised. Which is a bit understandable – direct selling is a fast-moving industry, one that requires quick adaptation. 

We predict direct selling companies are going to start adopting tech that will help them automate new training programs so they don’t have to expend so many resources rolling them out.

2. Image Refresh – With the gig economy growing at an unprecedented pace, how will direct selling make a case for its version of independent business building? Direct selling companies, we predict, will begin rebuilding their image in light of any questions that have been raised over the past decades about compliance and their business model. What will that rebranding be? How will direct selling transform their public-facing image? Only time will tell, but we have one idea…

3. Reframing Direct Selling – Increasingly, we predict, direct sellers will start to reframe their business as a form of gig work, in line with corporations like Uber, Taskrabbit, and DoorDash. This could, quite possibly, help direct sellers market themselves to millennials and Gen Z individuals who want to pursue their business goals independently. 

4. Increasing Global Expansion – Major direct sellers have been expanding into countries with varying levels of success – countries like China. In 2023 expect to see more diversification in the developing world, with performance enablement platforms there to support direct sellers as they deepen and widen this expansion, as documented in this Rallyware case study.  

5. Digitalizing Rewards & Recognition – Rising through the hierarchy is one of the most meaningful parts of distributor training and the overall sales lifecycle. More and more, direct sellers are learning that rewards and recognition – prizes, badges, new titles, and so forth – can be digitalized and automatically distributed based on achievements. Expect more direct sellers to embrace direct sales software for rewards and recognition. We’ve even covered 2023 rewards and recognition trends before. 

6. Smoother Communications – Similarly, direct sellers have recently discovered that it’s far easier to communicate with the field – uplines and downlines – via digital channels, rather than emails or texts. For instance, emails might get slotted into the spam folder and the distributor might never see them; or a distributor might rarely check their emails. Seamless, streamlined communications tools via direct sales software are a better idea, and we’re already seeing many direct sellers discover and embrace this fact. Just make sure your application has those tools.

7. More Empathetic Distributor Training – A large part of past controversies around direct selling has been (potentially, in some cases) misleading onboarding and training. We predict that now that we have climbed out of the COVID pandemic, the industry will embrace more empathetic distributor training that is up-front about what distributors can expect in their direct selling experience. Not only expectations, but also what the benefits and empowerment of direct selling are. We expect that this will help retain distributors as well as increase engagement.

8. Clearer Progress Indicators – Again, promotions up the direct selling hierarchy are a huge motivator for the field. Direct sellers, we predict, will start to use technology to visualize distributors’ progress toward rank increases, as well as showing them what they have to do to reach the next level. But this will require smart technology that interprets data from multiple sources and tools. Which leads us to our next point…

9. Tech Centralization – One major pain point for distributors is the dispersal of tools. Many distributors, we’ve seen, have to switch between multiple tools in order to get onboarded and trained and start selling. However, new paradigms have emerged. 

Apps like Uber, Taskrabbit, and Rallyware point the way forward in terms of all-in-one technology. From the first onboarding interactions to advanced sales learning, distributors will have everything they need in a single location, with data from different tools moving seamlessly between these tools to personalize the experience for their goals and progress. We predict that direct sellers will spend more resources centralizing their tools.

10. Performance Enablement – Lastly, we think that direct sellers will start adopting performance enablement as a paradigm for delivering technology to the field, combining learning and development, incentives and recognition, and CRM tools to drive individual performance and corporate KPIs. 

To motivate and engage your field, you’ll need the right technology – a platform using context and data to trigger the right activities at the right times for the right behaviors. Click here to see Rallyware in action or read more about our performance enablement suite.