Distributors Top Challenges in 2021

If last year was all about customer experience, this year is all about supporting the field so they can give the ultimate customer experience. We wanted to know if the field’s priorities affected the challenges they were experiencing in growing and running their business. We took all the responses and divided them by whether the field’s priority was to Gain Customers OR Build a Team. From prospecting, to reaching out, to training, to new consultant onboarding… At every area consultants identified that they needed more support learning the key skills to run their business and how to teach these skills to other team members.

The survey results show that regardless of priorities, experience, or the stage of their business the biggest challenge for distributors is a lack of skills.

Negative Impact on Business Growth Prevalence of challenges amongst the field Low Low High High



  • PRIORITY: Gaining Customers
    CHALLENGE: Selling Products
  • PRIORITY: Gaining Customers
    CHALLENGE: Building a Team
  • PRIORITY: Building a Team
    CHALLENGE: Selling Products
  • PRIORITY: Building a Team
    CHALLENGE: Building a Team


  • Bulb IconLack of Skills
  • Magnify IconProspecting
  • Wrench IconNeed Better Tools
  • Personal Limitations IconPersonal Limitations
  • Business LimitationsBusiness Limitations
  • Outside Of Control IconOutside of Control

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Lack of Skills

This was spilt into a couple of clear trends.

  • Better social selling skills
  • Knowing how to train team new members and be an effective leader
  • Knowing what to say to people to sell the product and the opportunity, what to say when they follow up and how to nurture customers to make a repeat purchase.

Explore the need for quality Social Selling skills in Social Selling.

Explore how to solve other lack of skills in Continuous Learning & Development and Onboarding.

Big Wrench Icon
Need Better Tools/Resources

Most people were asking for:

  • Better marketing materials
  • More user-friendly information on how to understand the business
  • Better resources for adding and training new team members

With the ask for more resources it’s important that these resources work within the larger considerations of your organization.

The field may be asking for better marketing materials but it’s proven that everyone posting the same corporate image negatively impacts their social media engagement score as social media platforms identify it as spam.

The same with more information about the business. Every business already has detailed information available but the field either can’t find it or don’t want to read through a long document.

Explore Social Selling and Continuous Learning & Development to get an idea on how you can implement future-proofed change for the field that will actually give them the resources they need and want.

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Issues Outside of Control

These are the challenges that are completely outside of an individuals control.

In last year’s trends report we looked at how corporate can support the field’s mental and emotional health in the face of setbacks.

The top issues identified were:

  • Covid
  • Lack of events because of covid
  • Government decisions
  • Customers not being able to afford the products

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The second most prevalent challenge for consultants was finding people.

  • New prospects
  • The ‘right’ people
  • Good people
  • People interested in the company
  • People interested in building a business

Prospecting is explored more in Diversity.

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Business Limitations

In this category we grouped together all the responses that identified a company specific problem.

These included:

  • Customers inability to buy without enrolling
  • Cost of products
  • Over saturated product market
  • Too many other reps
  • Varying age groups uninterested in current business model
  • Shipping
  • Monthly personal sales volume cost
  • Lack of confidence in products
  • Pressure from team leaders

Explore Continuous Learning & Development to see how effective, consistent communication might support people with these challenges.

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Personal Limitations

Starting and running a direct sales business is an incredible undertaking and it takes it’s toll on distributor’s mental and emotional health. It was overwhelming how even beyond specific personal limitations, individuals blamed themselves. Saying they didn’t know enough or they weren’t good enough.

It’s clear that now, more than ever, the field need support. Some of the personal limitations that didn’t fall under other categories included:

  • Time
  • Motivation
  • Confidence
  • Budget
  • Location

Explore Continuous Learning & Development to see how effective training can help the field combat these challenges.

*In compiling this graph we removed all responses that said either they don’t know or directly stated reputation as the problem