5 Challenges Facing the Direct Selling Industry (and ideas for solving them)
Direct selling has changed drastically in the past 10+ years with advances in tech shifting consumer buying behavior and driving a premium in generating awareness and capturing mind share of customers.
With change comes new challenges, and also opportunity (yes, that is a cliche .... we know) . For direct selling executives - overcoming these challenges represents a way to differentiate versus their competition, provide added value to their distributors and customers, and drive revenue growth. Below are 5 challenges that should be actively address by each direct selling, network marketing company and some insights as to how to strategically overcome them:
Amazon is the #1 search engine for product with its selection availability, convenience, and ability to deliver in less than 2 days. Amazon has shifted consumer buying behavior as consumers rely on reviews in making their purchase decision. The environment they have created however is limited. Buyers cannot interact with sellers or vendors. Vendors do not know who their customer is. Amazon owns the relationship. This faceless transaction represents an opportunity - consumers still want to have a personal interaction during the purchase process.
2) ECOMMERCE & PERSONALIZED SELLING
The convenience of eCommerce and breadth of purchase options creates competition in selling your own product, let alone competitor solutions. Finding a solution that allows your distributors to provide an instant, one-step purchase while maintaining the personalized, social interaction that makes network marketing so effective is disruptive. Give your distributors modern tools through mobile, social selling to reach their audience and engage with numerous consumers at one time (we do this by the way).
3) RECRUITING YOUNGER GENERATIONS
Some companies face this challenge harder than others - an aging sales force or direct selling network. Before you have many sellers hitting retirement age, ensure you are targeting younger people. Many sellers and marketers focus primarily on customer acquisition costs, but one must consider the lifetime value of each customer. Targeting and acquiring a younger network of sellers provides a better lifetime value and ROI on your efforts. Create engaging content, have a social presence, and provide modern tools for millennial's and Gen Z. They are looking for multiple revenue streams and have an entrepreneurial spirit - target and reach them.
4) GENERATING AWARENESS & LEADS
The amount of distractions in our lives is at an all time high. With more entertainment options at our fingertips, it has become more challenging to effectively reach our target market. Increased bifurcation of audiences allows us to target more specifically, but engaging with the respective target segment is the critical aspect of an effective marketing campaign. Get above the noise. Provide a set of tools that allow your sales force to reach and engage with their audiences at a click of a button in a personalized way.
5) RETAINING YOUR SALES LEADERS
In the customer life cycle - loyalty & advocacy are often overlooked. Many companies focus solely on top funnel awareness and customer acquisition while ignoring the value of a current customer's advocacy. Referrals and testimonials are powerful, and are free. Create a sense of community with your sales force. Offer recognition and validation from a corporate level. These are easy things to do and will be one of your most cost effective marketing & sales initiatives. The benefit is not immediate, but will pay dividends in the future.