Effective MLM Technology Partnerships

You’re not just buying MLM software, you’re selecting a technology services partner.

“Choose the software company you will hate the least.”  This is a common theme, uttered in variations from one MLM conference to the next by MLM consultants as well as war-weary technology executives.  Savvy startup entrepreneurs will ask, “Gee, have I selected the right business?  Is this the best I can hope for in MLM software?”

The good news is that you are not automatically doomed to the hateful relationship with your MLM software provider that many would caution awaits you.  In fact, it’s possible to have a productive, cost-effective relationship with your technology services partner.  The key is to select the right fit for you, and to keep your expectations real.

As a young, wide-eyed executive at Melaleuca in its early years at the corner of Broadway and Memorial in Idaho Falls, Idaho, our technology services team consisted of a brilliant programmer who worked days for the DOE (Department of Energy).  At night, there were evidences that he would come to the office, pick up the work orders we left on his chair, sort through them and go to work.  In the morning, we’d discover his papers either with a big check-mark or a few questions scribbled.  In this manner, we started the journey to building our technology infrastructure.  We learned a lot together about priorities, availability, resources, and expectations.  The key was communication, respect, and . . . realistic expectations.

Over the course of months and years, we grew to hundreds of thousands of distributors and more than $20 million monthly in sales by 1993.  Our office setting was humble, our MLM software was always under construction, but the software always did what our programmer told it to do.  And that was fine by me.  From that, I gained an appreciation for prioritizing features and reports, functionality and patience.  But the partnership with our technology team (a team of 1 at the very beginning) was built on respect and communication.

The relationship between an MLM technology partner (and their MLM software) and the client (whether an in-house service team or a third-party team with an application that they have designed and which they support) involves a variety of dimensions.  For the client, the concerns line up with fear of no control at the front, followed by the small nag in the back of the mind that should something go wrong, they will always be second in control over the MLM software, their own database, and the destiny of their company.  Facing this fear is the first essential building block in an effective relationship with your MLM technology partner.  There are practical and honored methods for handling these valid concerns, and addressing them openly and candidly will help you to determine whether such a partnership will work for you.

Virtually all of the client relationships we have been a part of begin with an enthusiasm to get the MLM software project underway.  Most begin with a “two team” perspective – the MLM technology services provider and the client home team.  This perspective runs a high risk of inefficiency and frustration, easily resulting in an “us versus them” sport.  In this setting, someone inevitably loses something.  Thus, a change in perspective can produce a mindset that will improve the entire relationship.  Seek to build this bridge of trust and teamwork early in the MLM technology partnership by initiating, developing, and nurturing a genuine “same team” MLM software perspective.  Always keep the objective clearly in mind: getting the system launched and supporting the business through its various stages of operations and growth.

In the end, remember that business is not an exact science, and MLM software will do exactly what you tell it to do.  If an MLM software application is new on the market, be prepared for limitations that might not exist in an MLM software system that has been through hundreds of installations and refinements that come with maturity.  And then seek a “same team” approach which will reflect on how you support your MLM software services provider and how well their effort supports you.  Collaboration and cooperation are the key elements of a successful MLM software technology team.

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