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The Keys to a Successful Launch: 5 Steps to Consider

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Launch a Direct Selling Company

Direct Selling Launch | In an era where change is the only constant, the landscape of the direct selling & multi-level marketing (MLM) space is undergoing a transformative shift. The evolution of the industry is not just about adapting to changes; it’s about embracing a forward-thinking approach that intertwines technology, strategy, and the indispensable human touch, hallmarking the uniqueness of the industry.

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Understanding the market landscape

Today’s market needs have changed dramatically from the past. Traditional strategies that focus heavily on recruiting have given way to modern, technology-driven approaches that focus on building customer relationships and providing the necessary support to both affiliates & reps in building a business. A notable change is the emergence of the ‘Super Affiliate’ model – a fusion of modern affiliate programs that combine key learnings from direct sales/MLM strategies (compensation, culture, training, etc.). This model stands out by blending effective sales productivity and team-building strategies with the extensive reach and adaptability of affiliate marketing. We’re seeing both existing direct selling companies, and new entrants to the space focused on finding the right blend of “affiliate” vs “team building” in terms of both compensation and focus within the field.

5 Steps to Consider at Launch

If you’re new to the industry and looking to launch a new hybrid direct selling/affiliate business, understanding the nuances and intricacies of the landscape is vital. As you start building your business, be sure to prepare with these 5 steps:

1.   Developing a Strong Product Line:

The heart of your business lies in the products you offer and having a compelling product is one of the biggest drivers of success. Quality, appeal, and alignment with customer needs are non-negotiable. Start with comprehensive market research, dissecting the needs, preferences, and pain points of your target audience to ensure your product offers a unique proposition that sets it apart from the competition. We have seen companies that focus on early product market testing to validate fit prior to an official “launch”, and prior to making larger investments in the company. Through market validation, you’re able to adapt your product based on customer feedback, ensuring your product drives customer demand.

2.   Initial Considerations Before Launch:

Launching a direct selling business is akin to setting the foundation for a towering structure and demands a strategic approach to set you up for success. One of the unique aspects of a direct selling business is the robust compensation structure and it’s critical that you fully understand the payout implications, along with ensuring compliance from a legal perspective.

A well-crafted compensation plan is essential to drive both affiliate referrals, and broader direct selling business building activities. At its core, your compensation plan is focused on motivating behaviors that drive revenue and results for your business. As part of your strategic planning, you will have to decide how much of your revenue can be allocated towards sales compensation. Beyond knowing the overall percentage of revenue you’re able to payout, the next consideration is to decide exactly where those funds are allocated to drive sales most effectively:

  • Personal Sales & Productivity: This is where standard affiliate compensation comes into play. What are you able to pay for the personal sale/referral? Do you provide higher compensation for reaching larger sales targets? Will you pay for just the initial sale, or for any future sales from the same customer? 
  • Personal Mentoring Overrides: When considering paying for team building; the first level of this is motivation for the person who personally enrolls a new rep/affiliate. How do you provide incentives for a rep/affiliate to work with a new member on their team? By providing aligned incentives between both the sponsor and the new recruit, you create a culture of mutual goals and alignment on success.  
  • Team Leadership Bonuses & Recognition: As reps grow within your company and begin to build sales teams; it’s important to provide compensation that drives the behaviors and activities that will ultimately scale your sales. This can be a combination of direct compensation for leadership (e.g.: more levels of payout, promotion bonuses, company pools, etc.), along with rank/title recognition for achieving results.  

Understanding both your budget, along with the exact motivations and behaviors you’re working to drive is a critical step in establishing your compensation plan. Each bonus should be designed to drive the most impactful behaviors, creating momentum that propels your entire team forward.

3.  Building Your Go To Market (G2M) Strategy:

A robust G2M strategy is your roadmap to success. The key here is to really consider the journey and experiences you’re providing to customers, affiliates and reps with sales teams. Focus on acquisition, retention, and understanding the tools and training necessary at each stage. Identify areas where you can leverage technology to drive and optimize these experiences; while understanding how to track and quantify success. And don’t overlook the importance of navigating the legal landscape diligently, ensuring compliance with regulations to safeguard your business and its affiliates.

4.  Recruiting and Supporting Your Affiliates & Reps:

Your affiliates are your front-line ambassadors and attracting (and retaining) the right talent requires more than just a compelling compensation plan. It demands comprehensive training, robust support systems, and a community that resonates with vibrancy and enthusiasm. A structured onboarding process tailored to an individuals’ goals; coupled with ongoing skill development ensures that your field is continually growing.

Beyond training, it’s important to provide your field the foundational elements that empower them to sell, including, modern eCommerce, personalized websites, and sales tools like actionable alerts and advanced reporting. These resources not only enhance their productivity but also foster a sense of ownership and commitment to the brand.

4.  Deploying Promotion Strategies & Measuring Results:

A dynamic marketing and promotion strategy is critical to success – from ad-hoc/seasonal promotions, to more robust customer loyalty programs. Using a combination of corporate-driven, traditional digital marketing (email, social promotion, etc.); while leveraging your field of affiliates and reps provides access to a wide range of audiences. Incorporate promotions and referral rewards to attract new customers, retain existing ones, and motivate them to share your brand, ultimately turning them into long-term advocates.

While running promotions and adapting your G2M, it’s important to understand the results you’re targeting and the leading indicators that tell you you’re on track. Setting clear, measurable KPIs is the cornerstone of strategic growth and enables faster decision making. Regular performance reviews against these metrics provide insights into what’s working and what’s not. Be agile and ready to pivot your strategies based on real-time market feedback and data, ensuring that your business stays ahead of the curve.

Author: Daryl Wurzbacher – CEO, ByDesign Technologies a Retail Success Company

Originally Published In: The World of Direct Selling –

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