As the MLM Consultant continues gathering research and client experience with MLM Software best practices, we offer these insights. Selecting the right MLM software and technology vendor is the gateway to MLM best practices (in many ways), so our reports and updates focus on selection.
Starting and running a successful MLM company is a delicate balancing act of the following:
- MLM legal
- MLM compensation plan design
- Sales and marketing dynamics
- Fulfillment and customer service strategies
- Administrative considerations
- MLM recruiting strategies, and much more
If the journey to a successful launch of a new MLM is compared to crossing a wide stream, and the rocks that provide a stepping path represent the steps across the stream, then the first rock in the MLM compensation plan design is an awareness rock: make sure that your compensation plan specifications are written to best help the programmer(s) to understand the nuances and finer points of your thinking. Our practice is to write the specifications in a programmer’s lingo, eliminating frustration and minimizing delays for everybody. It’s worth every moment invested into the programming document. There is nothing more discouraging than to spend time, energy, and money to design an effective MLM compensation plan, then have it incorrectly calculate commissions when it is first launched.
A related safeguard is to contract with the MLM compensation plan design team to participate until the compensation plan is computing correctly. This is one of our best practices, and it has stood the test of time. We can vouch for it, and our clients appreciate the rigor that we put them through, although sometimes not at the very start when there is so much to do.
We have worked with the best thinkers, top programmers, and owners of some of the top MLM software companies. Dan Jensen, founder and former CEO of Jenkon Software (appropriately reputed as the grand-daddy of MLM software) provides these MLM Software Selection tips to our clients, as a member of the LaunchSmart new company launch team. Follow this checklist when selecting your MLM software provider:
- How many years has the MLM software company been in business? The application will reflect the refinement that comes with experience. There is simply no shortcut in this vital element of MLM software selection.
- What is the database used by the MLM software? Some say that Microsoft SQL is best in class because of its scalability and also because of the broad base of SQL programmers available.
- How much control does the MLM software give you for extending your company’s brand through the distributor replicated sites? The less control that is available, the more you will pay later on to get the control. It’s a simple, basic lesson learned from the trenches. Note well.
- Is the MLM software “closed” access, meaning that you are not permitted to set up your own compensation plan model and/or make chances and/or run “what-if” sales and recruiting scenarios? The greater flexibility permits you to respond quickly to contest, incentive, and promotional ideas while modeling scenarios at all times.
- How well does the MLM software support international MLM expansion? Items on your checklist should include language, taxation, bonus volume (BV), currency, and commission considerations, to name an important few.
- Do the offered features and modules match your requirements? As you write out your requirements, be liberal in your thinking and ideals. Chances are that this process will help to narrow the choices, putting you at a real advantage in selecting, as well as negotiating, what you want.
- If you currently have reps and customers, what do they use (and what are they regularly requesting)? By focusing on the customer experience, you’ll have a baseline for where to improve the customer and distributor experience.
- How often does the company release new versions and updates of the MLM software? Keep in mind that MLM software companies are constantly improving and expanding their application as a result of the collective, specific input from a broad base of clients. (Not all MLM software companies have the luxury of frequent, ongoing feedback, so beware.) As a rule of thumb, our favorite MLM software and technology partners release 2 to 4 updates yearly. Anything less indicates a lack of commitment and/or a lack of sufficient capital (or lack of the wise use of capital), any of which is a giant, 3-alarm emergency.
- Does the MLM software have meaningful, specific testimonies in support of the application and the customer service? Don’t be afraid to get dirt under your fingernails in this part of the due diligence. It’s okay to talk with vendors, including those whose names do not appear on the MLM software company’s reference list. With a little sleuthing, you can tap into amazingly helpful feedback from those who are actually using the MLM software.
- Have the MLM software application and supporting practices been developed to be compliant with the PCI security standards? Global security standards have been established for managing credit card data, applying not only to the company but also to its independent reps. PCI stands for “Payment Card Industry,” and the standards state that compliance must be assessed annually. The right MLM software can make this process much easier. This will save time, money, and aggravation, not to mention steep penalties for non-compliance.
- Does the “chemistry” work for you? In other words, do you feel a connection with the MLM software company (not just its sales representative)? This is vital, as it’s a marriage that is very difficult to get out of.
Importantly, always remember that technology works for you, not the other way around. Make your MLM software work for you by investing time and care into screening and selecting the right solution for you. If you cannot afford to purchase our services, we encourage you to contact Terrel Transtrum, co-founder of LaunchSmart and request his Guide to MLM Software Best Practices and Selection. There’s a good chance he’ll send it to you. With a smile. Because that’s how the top MLM consultants work!
One of the regular phone calls we receive is from people who ask how much does it cost to launch an MLM? This article provides an overview of the important questions to help you determine the answer to this question:
- What is the mix of products and services that you will sell? How much research remains for you to have your MLM products and services ready for market?
- Do you plan to support your enterprise with hosted MLM software or are you planning to build your own?
- Do you expect to work with an MLM compensation plan expert or will you create, test, and write the programming specifications yourself?
- Do you require the services of an MLM consultant, an MLM law firm, an MLM compensation plan design team, or an interim head of sales, and if so, how much will you budget for these services?
- Are you in an existing location from which you can operate do you need to secure and prepare office space?
- Will you be picking and packing orders, and if so, do you require warehouse and fulfillment systems (regardless of how small or grand)?
- Will initial workers be unpaid family and friends or will you be paying them wages? What is your budget for labor costs until the business is cash flowing?
- Will you require forms, brochures, and other documents? If so, do you have a budget for creating the templates, writing the copy, and printing them?
- Will you design a starter kit, catalog, or other marketing collateral? What is the plan and budget for creating and producing these?
- Do you plan to implement a web marketing strategy that incorporates search engine and social media strategies for presenting your company to the world?
- Do you have existing equipment to use in the business, and if so, what is its value? What additional equipment will you need to acquire?
- What is your budget for the launch event, travel, and costs associated with the early recruiting efforts?
- Are you able to identify other unique expenses and capital expenditures for your company?
Early worries can be eliminated by completing a launch and operating budget . If you don’t have one, contact us and we’ll get into our toolbox for you. As you work through this important area of budgeting and planning, don’t focus on timing as much as the actual planning of expenditures to start selling products and recruiting and supporting MLM distributors. With some careful thought and focused homework, you can determine how much it will cost to launch your MLM.
This article is about MLM Software.
Recruiting customers and new sales people in MLM companies is essential to grow sales of the business. As groups of customers and distributors expand, it is not unusual for an MLM genealogy to consist of thousands, even hundreds of thousands extending many “levels” deep. Some of the most complex business processes integrate order processing, payment processing, fulfillment, commissions, returns, sponsoring, leads, promotions, ranks, inventory, sales tax, and web services.
This article will give you a checklist of the basic features that you should expect of MLM software, whether you “build” or “buy” a system. Whether your plan requires MLM software or party plan software, these considerations are important.
MLM Software Checklist & Key Considerations
- Enrollment Processing
- Lead Processing
- Order Processing
- Payment Processing
- Returns, Exchanges & Credits
- Commission Processing
- Customer Service Administration
- Web Services
- Fulfillment & Inventory
MLM Software Scorecard and Selection
For more than two decades in and around MLM software, we remain convinced that there is no “perfect” software solution. We keep a report card of many of the party plan software and MLM software providers, and we have our favorites; we also keep our eye on the real dogs. Since we receive no commissions or fees for referring software, we aggressively support you in determining the right fit for your company.
Terrel Transtrum is the founder of ServiceQuest® and co-founder of LaunchSmart™. As a top MLM consultant he specializes in startup consulting for party plan companies, multilevel marketing, MLM and network marketing. He is an experienced advisor in MLM software, network marketing legal, party plan business, distributor recruiting and retention, operations and fulfillment and MLM legal.
To explore your most urgent questions–the stuff that keeps you up at nights–don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call Terrel at his desk. 208-529-9698. There’s a good chance he’ll pick up!
For a free MLM Startup Manual, contact our offices. We are eager to provide free MLM consulting services, and our MLM Startup Manual is a great place to start. As a leading MLM Consultant specializing in MLM Best Practices, MLM Attorney and leading MLM consultant Terrel Transtrum combines his MLM legal experience and skills with decades of real-life MLM best practices and corporate experience from the trenches to provide a more comprehensive MLM Consulting experience. Recognized by the Direct Selling Association (DSA) who presented Transtrum with the 2009 DSA Partnership Award for his work in MLM Distributor Service, Transtrum is the recognized world authority on MLM distributor service and customer service best practices.
Transtrum and his team of MLM consultants provide clients with support at every stage of success, from MLM startup and launch to full growth and production. Terrel Transtrum and his unique MLM startup consulting firm will guide you through all aspects of starting and running a successful MLM company. Although some MLM consultants specialize in MLM startups, and other MLM consulting teams focus on established companies, Terrel Transtrum and his MLM consultant team specialize in both. Building on the best practices followed by established MLM companies, Transtrum’s MLM startup clients benefit in every way. From MLM software selection to MLM best practices, this firm has been quietly working behind the scenes since 1988. “We’ve been so busy working with MLM companies, that we haven’t taken a lot of time to market ourselves,” admits Transtrum who works from his modest offices just down the street from the Melaleuca corporate headquarters.
Take a close look and you will like what you see. When you are considering MLM Consultants, MLM Software, MLM attorneys, and MLM best practices, please check with us. We enjoy the free half-hour consult because it is our investment in your success. We believe that you want to know the best options, and we are eager to answer your questions not only about what we do, but more importantly, the questions that YOU want to ask. And it won’t hurt a thing to get your hands on our Free Startup Manual for MLM companies.
When it comes to selecting MLM software, you can’t go wrong by doing your own comparison of MLM software. From our experience and work papers, we list below the elements we carefully review with each MLM software company that asks us to take a close look at their technology solution.
- How long has the MLM software company been in business?
- What do 5 clients say about them?
- How much does it cost to get launched, and then how much to operate month-to-month?
- What do the reference say about what was quoted and what they actually paid in the end?
- What are the backgrounds of the founders and principals of the MLM software company?
- What language is their MLM software written in?
- How many total installations do they have in their history, and how many currently active?
- Get a copy of their contract and go through it carefully, make notes and ask questions.
- How does the conversation “feel?” Have you met the account manager(s) you will work with after the sale?
- What does your “gut” tell you about this MLM software company?
- Is your MLM consultant receiving a commission for referring / recommending a particular solution?
If you would like more insights on selecting the MLM software that’s right for you, call or email us. We’ll be glad to share, and you’ll be glad to know that we do not take commissions for recommending MLM software.
Be sure to ask your MLM consultant if they accept commissions for recommending MLM software to you. You might be surprised by their answer. For straight talk, no surprises, and guidance that has your best interests in mind, give LaunchSmart a call for help in selecting the MLM software that’s right for your company and your budget.
The Administration function in MLM and Party Plan Companies refers to the administration of business processes, with the responsibility to ensure business processes are operating properly. In many organizational charts, Administration refers to the physical plant, office operations, etc. Both are correct. In our world, we refer to the System Administrator as the individual who is on the lookout for potential problems that can hold up processes such as unposted orders or shipments that have not been ship verified.
This function is accountable (as an individual administrator as well as a departmental team) to both company management as well as to the distributor force who depend on 24/7 effectiveness of the business processes.
The success of a fast-growth direct selling company is found in its ability to respond to change. Every direct selling organization has to build into its very structure the management of change. Forces that affect change in fast-growth MLM and Party Plan companies come from all angles:
- Legally mandated issues such as the “5 customer rule” or the “70% rule”
- Sales-driven challenges that respond to trends and newly discovered sales techniques
- Marketing-based opportunities in an ever-evolving global market based more and more in technology
- Relationship and connection-based situations
- Growth and scale-related demands (including manufacturing, financial, and fulfillment)
- Technology-driven mandates
Regardless of the sources and types of change, adaptation and innovation are essential. As circumstances require, system administrators can keep up by understanding their business processes and knowing the settings within their enterprise application. Familiarity with these can alleviate, if not delay, the need for much of the custom programming that is costly and usually aggravating.
The accounting function discloses the grade, whether it’s a “D” or an “A,” of how well your MLM and Party Plan company business processes measure up. The efforts of everyone within (employees) and without (field organization) your company are posted for display. The measure of success—the scoreboard— is reported by accounting.
As a generality, the strength of direct selling software applications will not be found in accounting, but in the way that they support accounting and business processes. One of the activities to build into your launch plan is the task of integrating the summary information into your choice of accounting system, such as Quickbooks® or PeachTree®.