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11 Trends for Direct Sales in 2021

Blog 11 Trends

Last year the pandemic forced the direct sales industry (alongside every other industry) to act fast and accelerate digitization and innovation plans. Across the board the industry rose to the challenge and implemented incredible initiatives to keep social selling moving forward. What we want to know is, what's next?

At the end of 2020, we spoke to top decision-makers in direct sales to get their insights on what the industry can expect to see in 2021 from innovative firms. Alongside the predictions, we surveyed over 265 leaders in direct sales across 120 companies and over 20 countries. 58% of the respondents were director level and above offering a top-level perspective on the industry.

Using these insights and responses we compiled them into the 11 Trends and Predictions for Direct Sales in 2021 alongside a 2021 Industry Benchmark Report.

Trends were provided by thought leaders in the industry including Alan Quan (Independent Advisor, Trifecta Group), Ashley Hower (Executive Director of Global Marketing, Forever Living), Deb Erickson and Shellie Sullivan (CEO and CBDO, ICAN Institute), Fabian Rodriguez (Global VP/CDIO/CTO, Information & Digital Technology, Tupperware Brands), Jonathan Gilliam (CEO, Momentum Factor), Lars Dahlberg (Independent Advisor), Mark Hughes (VP of Sales, Penny), Meredith Tieszen (SVP Connector and Customer Experience, Solvasa), Paul Adams (President, Adams Resource Group), Rodger Smith (CEO, DirectScale) and Roxanne Wilson (Founder, RoxTalks & Social Stories Membership).

Check out a sneak peek into what these thought leaders expect and hope to see from innovative social selling companies in below:

Direct Sales TrendsThought Leader AlanQuan

“Opportunistic Direct Selling companies will look to build stackable income strategies around segmenting seller profiles with complementary work demands, synergistic pull marketing and technology convenience tools (like the Penny App!).”

Alan Quan, Independent Advisor, Trifecta Group

“Savvy direct selling companies will really tune into opportunities that are driving traditional retail and sales channels like Amazon, Alibaba, Shopify etc.”

Ashley Hower, Executive Director of Global Marketing, Forever Living

Direct Sales Trends ThoughtLeader Ashley

Direct Sales Trends ThoughtLeader Fabianpng

“Artificial Intelligence will play a key in more than just external tools but also internal, as we try to drive more efficiencies in our industry with chatbots, and services that enable self-service culture, faster payment processing, etc.”

Fabian Rodriguez, Global VP/CDIO/CTO, Information & Digital Technology, Tupperware Brands

“These workers bring work ethic, desire, professionalism, commitment, but they also bring an employee mindset when what they need is an entrepreneurial mindset.”

Deb Erickson and Shellie Sullivan, CEO & CBDO, ICAN Institute

Direct Sales Trends ThoughtLeader ShellieDeb

Direct Sales Trends ThoughtLeader Fabian

“Following 2020’s crackdown on covid-related promotion by the FTC, the regulatory environment shows no sign of easing in the coming year.”

Jonathan Gilliam CEO, Momentum Factor

“When what the customer wants the most is what the company does best, the rising tide effect kicks in, and everybody benefits.”

Lars Dahlberg, Independent Advisor

Direct Sales Trends ThoughtLeader Lars

 ThoughtLeader Mark

“The winners in this industry will be those companies that provide their field with a consistent user interface that insulates them from these “backend” projects and lets the field focus on what they’re supposed to be doing—selling.”

Mark Hughes, VP of Sales, Penny

“For 2021, a new, simple plan is a must that makes customers the ‘Hero’ and positions the field as their guide to show the ‘Hero’ how their products can alleviate their problems.”

Meredith Tieszen, SVP Connector and Customer Experience, Solvasa

Direct Sales Trends ThoughtLeader AMeredith

 ThoughtLeader Paul

“It’s not enough to be “focused on the customer”, we have to become OBSESSED with the customer. I’ve watched too many companies rightfully shift their focus to get more customers but they have not yet stopped the exodus once they attract them.”

Paul Adams, President, Adams Resource Group

“Person to person conversations started by micro and nano influencers, when empowered with tools to champion the brand in exchange for commissions and rewards, will mark the difference between thriving and stagnation.”

Rodger Smith, CEO, DirectScale

Direct Sales Trends ThoughtLeader Rodger

ThoughtLeader Roxanne

“Creating interesting opportunities for virtual events will be key to attracting consultants. Virtual Experiences that are memorable & have a community component will be most successful.”

Roxanne Wilson, Founder, RoxTalks & Social Stories Membership

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