Why Distributor and Customer Experiences Are Key to Success in Direct Selling
In 2018 Data Was Driving the Success for Direct Selling Companies
The direct selling industry has come a long way in the business world, though it’s still facing numerous challenges, including high turnover rates, poor distributor engagement, and full reliance on non-stop large-volume recruiting practices. In spite of these issues, it’s gradually becoming one of the largest and most vibrant markets that provides entrepreneurial opportunities to numerous people around the globe. What’s the reason for this positive change?
The most successful direct selling companies fend off these challenges and boost ROI by empowering their field with the right tools and knowledge to succeed at every step of their entrepreneurial journey. This is a difficult path since it involves getting a lot of people who are outside of a company’s direct control to do very specific actions. How do they accomplish that?
Of course, every company decides for itself which approaches to use to accelerate their growth. The most forward-thinking DS organizations generate revenue and drive business growth by leveraging performance-based training systems. At the core of such systems lies performance-based training (PBT)—data-driven, hands-on, measurable, and highly personalized training technology that analyzes each distributor’s performance and ties specific business activities and KPIs to their goals.
Here are three ways that show how PBT systems benefit DS companies.
Performance-based training systems provide a personalized path to success for every DS distributor
Such e-commerce giants as Amazon and eBay have set new bars of what contributes to a successful customer experience through smart online shopping technologies. Gig economy companies, like Uber and Airbnb, have also taken steps forward into the direct selling industry to win over independent distributors and deliver a compelling value proposition. Today, DS companies have no other choice but to acknowledge the disruption and embrace new challenges by reshaping their strategies to stay competitive in the future.
Ryan Napierski, President at Nu Skin Enterprises, outlines an approach that DS companies have to consider in order to come off with flying colors in the disruptive present and future.
This non-traditionalistic form of business opportunity [the Gig economy] is what will disrupt the industry. It will also massively accelerate the opportunity for existing direct selling companies who can reposition themselves. The absolute starting point is getting clear on a vision of what needs to happen and where the company is going. You need to make certain that that vision has been tested and refined amongst your team. And in that co-creation process, your leadership vision goes sequentially throughout the organization to the field. It touches program areas which include compensation, recognition, roadmaps, and leadership development programs.
In other words, today, the direct selling businesses that rely on person-to-person interactions need to replicate them in a more efficient, digital way to square off with the gig economy giants. They also need to make sure that their company’s goals are known to every single individual involved as well as to provide distributors with support along the way, be it compensation, personalized journeys to success, or upline assistance.
If we’re talking about the possibilities that performance-based training systems provide, then efficient, personalized support can look this way: upon learning from all data sources related to each distributor’s activities, an AI-driven PBT system prompts the best ways to improve lead generation and closing a sale. From suggestions to promote new products on social media or contact existing customers to remind them of special discounts to running giveaways and contests, posting testimonials promotions as well as sharing useful content related to products. By correctly leveraging social selling principles, distributors will be able to tap into customers’ hearts, build trustful relationships, and, as a result, achieve their sales goals.
By embracing a performance-based training solution that customizes distributors’ onboarding and training experience, prescribing the right business activities to the right people at the right time, DS organizations can support their field during every step of their journey from the very first moment each distributor joins a company. It happens as if each of their distributors had a personal best-in-class mentor right from the company HQ, except that it all happens automatically due to robust machine learning algorithms and years of research on what makes the biggest impact among distributors in the direct selling world.
In particular, leading DS organizations that leverage performance-based training platforms like Rallyware see:
Such outcomes are the result of Rallyware’s unique approach to driving individual performance by connecting distributor data with daily activities that allow significantly improved business KPIs. When every distributor’s activity is tied to business goals, be it an increase in sales productivity, the quick learning of newly launched product lines or a social selling skills upgrade, every successful training program completion leads companies towards growth and improves their adaptability.
Performance-based training systems boost retention initiatives from the very first moment each distributor joins the company
The initial period of emotional connection for every new direct selling distributor is very short. It used to be that DS companies wanted them to begin doing business activities on Day 1. However, starting on Day 1 could already be 24 hours too late. With mobile applications and effective onboarding programs, the best DS companies engage their people from the very first moment they join.
The bottom line is: the earlier distributors engage with their onboarding activities, the more likely they are to stay with the company and succeed. The second most important indicator of success is them achieving certain milestones with the company. But how can they get to these milestones early on? While new distributors are still far from earning their first commission check, they could be earning digital incentives that encourage and motivate them to be successful.
Retention does not just grow by itself. Rather, it is a result of providing targeted data-driven activities in the field, which requires DS organizations to provide the right tools and resources, timely feedback, and flexible opportunities that can either help or deteriorate distributors’ productivity and motivation. DS companies can resort to three channels of this “support chain” to recruit and retain as many distributors as they need.
- Via clear and smooth onboarding
Direct selling companies usually underestimate the loss of even one distributor, trying to focus on recruiting instead. In fact, according to SSN, a 1% increase in retention results in a 5% increase in sales. Just think about how much money and time is wasted on preparing new enrollees if they are going to soon leave their network.
It’s crucial to ensure a new distributor’s immediate success to keep them for long since those who manage to close their first sale within two weeks usually become long-term, successful distributors. That’s why onboarding has to be a focal point for every growth-oriented Direct Selling company.
Efficient onboarding means motivating distributors from the get-go through quick wins, whether monetary or digital, in the form of awards and badges; connecting them with uplines, HQ, and other fellow distributors for timely support (in this way also sidestepping a “lonely warrior” destiny); and giving them access to all the necessary materials to avoid extra challenges due to knowledge and experience gaps.
This way, DS companies automatically provide the needed support to their field during the onboarding period and beyond, relying on sophisticated technology and mobile learning that erases time and place barriers.
- Via the know-do-track development strategy
To be successful, distributors need to constantly upgrade their product knowledge, business knowledge, sales skills, familiarity with compliance policies, and more. If presented all at once or in the wrong sequence, it could become overwhelming for a new distributor. Rallyware’s activity driving platform adapts to distributors’ needs by analyzing their performance data to deliver only relevant content that can be applied to practice right away with no information overload.
Robust analytics algorithms process data that comes from a variety of sources: back-office data, downline activities, market shifts, prospect activities, consumer purchase behaviors, etc., creating action steps for each specific distributor’s path to success.
Real-time reports and dashboards allow the monitoring of the overall progress of uplines and downlines to see how knowledge is applied and whether changes need to be introduced to distributors’ development paths.
- Via a science-based approach to engagement
Any successful DS company always consists of outgoing, enthusiastic and motivated people who are ready to go the extra mile to close that next sale. But where do these skills and motivations come from? Is there any secret recipe? Yes—ongoing engagement via a supportive community of fellow-thinkers.
Since distributors don’t come to a typical office and don’t usually get the opportunity to talk in person with their peers, they can feel far less connected with a company and drop out just because of feeling lonely and helpless at the slightest setback. To alleviate their journey, DS companies need to foster the power of community.
One of the features that DS organizations need to consider while choosing a suitable engagement & training solution is whether there’s a capability for seamless connection and collaboration. For example, Rallyware’s performance-based training system provides the possibility to not only connect with uplines or peers through direct messaging and discussion boards but also to embrace the power of communities. Distributors can join communities based on their geographies, language, product lines, campaigns, time periods, and so on to develop a stronger bond within the internal network, enjoy on-demand feedback and get more support. Knowing that they’re not alone, that there are people whom they can share their stories with or ask for advice, distributors become much more engaged in what they do.
Performance-based training systems help upline leaders direct distributors to success
The worst-case scenario that can happen to a new distributor is an “orphan disaster” situation. Jan Gilmore, a direct selling consultant, clearly explains the background of this problem in the following way.
“Many people who join the direct selling industry have never worked for themselves before. They’ve only worked for other people, with their time structured and their work assignments laid out for them. Contrast that with suddenly being in charge of themselves, their time, and all the tasks they need to complete to succeed in their new business. Most don’t even know where to start! Just because these people are independent doesn’t mean that they don’t want or need direction. They do. They need support from the company.”
Now imagine what distributors feel being dragged into the waves of entrepreneurial freedom and left unsupervised. If their uplines fail to establish an emotional connection with them and provide the needed knowledge support, it’s highly likely that eventually, distributors will abandon ship in search of a more prospective and safer island.
Rallyware’s performance-based business suite empowers leaders by giving them access to tools that facilitate distributors’ management, streamline communication, deliver on-demand feedback, drive an emotional connection between uplines, downlines and peers, and develop relevant knowledge and skills for continuous success.
Feeling that their leaders are always there for them and ready to help, distributors become much more driven to succeed personally and as a team. As a result, you get a highly-engaged and productive field that achieve rapid ROI.
Want to empower your upline leaders, increase distributors’ retention, and improve their sales performance? Request a demo!
News and Insights on Workforce Training & Engagement
We’re among top-notch eLearning and business engagement platforms recognized for effective training and talent development, helping to empower distributed workforces