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!