Can you be digital-first without alienating non-tech-savvy sellers?
Digital transformation has been on the mind of direct sales companies for the last couple of years. With the rise of social selling and then the devastating consequences of covid, most companies fast-tracked their plans. Regardless of where your company is on the journey, change and transformation are felt throughout the whole company and they unveil new challenges. One particularly challenging aspect of digital transformation is the risk of alienating existing distributors who aren’t tech-savvy.
In the 2022 Direct Sales Trends Report we surveyed over 400 field representatives from across the globe. We asked them about the role technology played in their business and the responses showed a clear disconnect between what the field want and/or need.
- More tools
- Better tools
- Support to grow their social media presence
- Instant transactions online
In short, better technology!
- More in-person support
- Less confusing technology
- An easy system
- Better understanding of social media
In short, more support and guidance.
Managing Change for Everyone's Success
Responses from the field in the 2022 Direct Sales Trends Report show that companies need to think about how to support people from all backgrounds through change.
In the case of digital transformation, the less confident tech-users need more support. A leader and a beginner will use technology differently. And it's the same for someone who is technically savvy and someone who rarely uses digital tools. They will have different needs and will use company tech solutions differently.
One way of solving this is to ensure that the tools provided to the field allow users to self-select their technology confidence level. This way, each person is given the training they need to use the tool to its best ability. Knowing what to do and knowing how to use a tool effectively to do it are two different things.
Direct Sellers Need to be Learning while Doing
In order for learning to work, it must be effective, relevant, just enough, and just in time. These principles of learning are essential for adult learners and critical for any learner short on time and attention. Let’s be honest, that’s most of us. The rise of online learning was transformative in delivering accessible learning across time and geography, but the “always on” shift in our work culture and the blurring of boundaries between home and work pose evolving learning challenges. These learning challenges (effectiveness, relevance, just enough learning, and just in time learning) are especially significant for learners who are juggling multiple roles, multiple contexts, and multiple demands – cue new Direct Seller.
Learning in the flow of work with bite-sized learning relevant to the task at hand is the most effective way to enable learners to immediately apply new knowledge and skills and increase their performance. This can be accomplished with four leading practices: 1) anticipate learners needs by understanding what they do, 2) accelerate learning by bringing them into the flow of work (bonus for bringing them into the technologies learners are already using), 3) augment performance with actionable and relevant data, 4) empower and reward learners with meaningful recognition and encouragement (Deloitte, 2019).
Check out the Continuous Learning & Development section. Dive into the tailored, digital, learning revolution guided by psychology, powered by AI.
How can a diversity strategy for digital transformation change the direct sales industry?
Diversity & Inclusivity is not only imperative, it’s essential to the health of the network marketing industry in 2022 and beyond.
The current landscape has put a microscope on network marketing and its deficiency in the area of opportunity for all people. With more network marketing companies and distributors on social media than ever before, it’s impossible to ignore who is and who isn’t in a company.
How can diversity happen? The belief that diversity comes organically from the field is officially antiquated. In order to truly create an environment that is welcoming and attractive to many cultures, it must be a two-pronged approach:
- Ensure that diversity is a pillar in everything corporate touches, from the product, to the marketing and even to the faces in leadership.
- Recruit, support, and develop teams that embody diversity.
2021 saw the beginning of this with new network marketing companies intentionally incorporating diversity by offering products that can be used by many, using diverse marketing on their websites and in social media, and recruiting seasoned leaders dedicated to building diverse teams.
Intentionality and focus on diversity as an industry ensures that network marketing remains relevant and continues to serve the world at large.
Creating a diversity strategy for your digital transformation rollout is just one-way companies can make everyone feel like they belong. Recognizing, accepting and celebrating everyone’s differences is crucial for businesses to thrive in 2022 and beyond. The benefits of a diverse workforce impact company culture, innovation and revenue.
What will a digital-first diversity strategy mean for...
A greater breadth of knowledge, insight and skills to drive business decisions and infer nuances from data and feedback. And a larger, more robust field to drive increased product sales.
FOR THE FIELD
Opportunities to learn in a way that best suits them. Pathways for success set up to alleviate their specific pain points and elevate their strengths.
An incredible team of direct sellers who inspire diversity and representation and make every customer feel like they too belong.
FOR INDUSTRY REPUTATION
From an outside perspective, the world of direct sales will look radically different. Direct sales will truly be practicing what the industry claims – that this is a business model for all.
For more Direct Sales diversity insights check out the Diversity section in the 2022 Direct Sales Trends Report.