The Evolution of Replicated Websites Part V: Talking to Distributors

This series started with the initial migration of the sales industry online.  We have seen how direct sales companies began to move recruitment and sales on to the web through replicated websites.  These sites were a quick solution to help distributors sell products and enroll new members into the sales force.  Our previous post took a closer look at the problems distributors faced with their replicated websites.

Talking to Distributors

Screen shot 2011 04 06 at 9.50.28 AM 300x140 The Evolution of Replicated Websites Part V: Talking to Distributors

Today I want to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.  What do distributors really need and want from their replicated website?  These questions and other concerns from the sales force need to be addressed before moving forward and offering tools for online marketing.

Understanding Distributors Needs

Addressing the needs of the broad spectrum of distributors in the company is important. Whether they are using their own personal websites and blogs, begrudgingly sticking with their replicated site, or have yet to adopt the Internet for recruitment at all, your distributors offer valuable feedback and insight into what your company needs to provide the sales force moving forward.

Who Makes Up the Market?

Are your ideal distributors college students? Stay-at-home moms? Retirees? All of the above? Understanding and segmenting the audiences that make up the target market for your distributors’ recruitment efforts will help determine how much variation and flexibility you need to provide through replicated websites, so your sales force can effectively attract and engage their prospects.

What are Your Distributors Strengths and Interests?

The greatest advantage for any distributor is their unique personality, and their ability to build relationships hinged on trust. How do they express themselves? What are they passionate about? By providing distributors with the right tools and flexibility in their replicated sites, they’ll be able to showcase their strengths and interests, to brand themselves and broaden their reach on the web.

What is the end goal of your replicated websites?

In most cases, the goal of replicated websites is first to provide distributors with a place where they can promote interested prospects to go to sign-up, and secondly to sell products through in some cases. But with practically zero distributor personalization, conversion rates suffer in a big way because prospects become alienated when they arrive at the page.

Sign-up rates are even worse for prospects that seek out the replicated site before even talking with the distributor. It’s critical to clearly define the end goals of your company replicated sites, and then strike the right balance of satisfying company protocol while truly meeting distributor needs to achieve your goals.

Up Next: Finding the Right Solution

Once the questions in this post are answered, it’s time to start thinking about the right replicated website solution.  Part VI of this series will focus on the various elements and features that must be considered when choosing distributor websites.

April 8, 2011

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