The Difference between Diversity and Diversification
- To make the world a better place, Diversity is something all businesses should be actively working on.
- To ensure the longevity of business success, product and services Diversification is paramount to all companies.
Diversification & Diversity are very different. Yet, the uniqueness of the direct sales industry often means that by achieving one, you achieve the other.
How? Because, with Direct Sales, there are two unique values being provided.
- the physical product or tangible service, but equally
- the distributed salesforce that is the USP of the business model.
By diversifying the field, through a greater focus on diversity, a natural byproduct will be direct access to a larger, more diverse customer base.
3 Issues Caused by a lack of Diversity
Beyond the obvious reasons for wanting a larger customer base, there are several unique issues surfacing that demand that direct sales starts to look at how to attract a wider audience of sellers, in order to attract a wider customer base.
- Over Saturation
Over 30% of field respondents in the Direct Sales Trends Report 2022 said that Finding People – be it customers or team members – was their greatest challenge. Many even stated that their area was over-saturated, or that their demographic wasn’t interested in their products.
- Upcoming Retirement Plans
Some legacy direct sales companies are prospering with most sellers having been with the company for over 20 years, but the average age of their consultant is 60+ now and their sign-up for new sellers is falling rapidly. They’ve realized that if they don’t change their communication strategy and diversify their field, their company will go out of business as sellers look to retire. Attracting a different, new demographic is critical for business survival.
- Rise of Social Selling
Personality, stories, shared life experiences, human interaction, this is of far greater value than cold prospecting. Social media has enabled this at scale so now consultants can connect with people from around the world. But, customers identify with people that share similar struggles and pain points. Celebrating and supporting field diversity, means your company can create connections with the widest customer base possible which is key for growing a global business.
What are the true pillars of a new-generation direct sales company and how to develop a diversity strategy for each?
- An incredible product
- An engaged, skilled distributor force
- A corporate strategy focused on people
The traditional way of marketing often starts by creating a detailed description of your ideal customer, often based on the customer pool you have already. But, in doing so, marketing and advertising professionals have inadvertently been so focused on their target customer that they’ve neglected those who don’t fall into this specific customer persona.
A more inclusive marketing strategy is to look at the personality of the customer and define what problems the product is solving for them. This shift in perspective massively changes the way a product is marketed and thus the customers attracted.
QUESTIONS TO ASK
- Is our product being marketed in a way that attracts a large audience group?
- What message does our product and brand convey?
The churn rate of distributors in the direct sales industry is a well-known problem. When companies start implementing their strategies to attract a more diverse customer and then distributor base, it’s important that internal processes are in place to support and nurture minority distributors. When new sellers join your company you want to guarantee that everyone feels welcome, supported and has a clear pathway to success.
QUESTIONS TO ASK
- Are there mechanisms in place to support minority distributors?
- Is there training in place to support distributors’ own learning and knowledge around diversity?
- Are internal communications inclusive?
Penny AI is delighted to announce a $27 Million Series B Financing Round. Watch the Founder's story to see what this means for Penny AI.
Corporate People Focus
While corporate is building out a strategy that focuses on people, it is worth looking inward and assessing how diverse your company is from a corporate perspective. Much like with many industries, direct sales suffers from a lack of diversity at the top end of corporate.
With diversity, comes new perspectives. If you’re sitting in a room with people who all come from similar backgrounds with similar lived experiences, your company is missing out on insights and perspectives from all different vantage points.
QUESTIONS TO ASK
- Do you have a function to assess and progress diversity within your corporate leadership team?
- Is there a goal your company is aiming for?
- Who’s responsible for your diversity goals?
- Is the hiring and recruitment team equipped and empowered to reduce unconscious bias and focus on expanding diversity?
Some stats to consider. For more numbers check out the 37 Numbers you Need to Know for Direct Sales
Diversity is key for long-term Direct Sales Success. According to the Direct Sales Trends Report 2022, 61% of corporate responders think their company has made an effort to diversify its consultant base. But 26% said no, but it’s in motion. Take the time now to review what diversity strategies you have in place across the three pillars - product, customer and corporate - to identify where progress is being made and where work still needs to be done.