The Evolution of Replicated Websites Part VII: Education and Training

We started this series with a history of the direct selling industry online.  This was a close look at how replicated websites were created and used in the early days of product sales and recruitment on the web.  Distributors began to raise concerns about the websites they were being offered as new tools began to show up allowing distributors to create their own websites and blogs outside of the corporate structure.

The last few posts detailed the factors that need to be taken into account when choosing the right replicated website service.  Talking to distributors and understanding their needs play an important roll in this process.  Now that the right tools have been decided on, it’s time to educate the sales force on how to put those tools to use.

Education and Training

Screen shot 2011 04 07 at 11.28.12 AM 300x180 The Evolution of Replicated Websites Part VII:  Education and Training

Even the best tools and resources for the sales force will not be fully realized without the proper training and education put into place.  Today’s post will focus on distributors maximizing the web through their replicated websites.

Why Do We Have These Tools and What is The Value?

More and more distributors are already on-board with the idea of having a personalized web presence. However, there will always be naysayers, and those who don’t fully understand the value or whatever exactly they need to do.

Dynamic replicated websites should be viewed as an investment by distributors – a way for them to expand their warm market, attract a broader audience, and convert more leads. It’s the company’s job to get everyone in the right mindset, and provide education and guidance on why and how distributors should market themselves online through replicated sites and beyond.

How Should We Use Them?

Even with all of the build-in technology tools in the world, there is no perfect software that solves every problem automatically. It’s important to teach distributors not just how to use their site, but give them strategies for how to maximize it’s potential, intriguing users of every level to get the most out of their new website.

Making this task easier for companies, Empowerkit has built-in tutorial videos that guide distributors as they go. A Knowledge Base is also available, which has a wide range of helpful tips and tricks to answer most questions right up front, and inspire distributors with new ideas.

But more than anything, giving them simple tools that don’t even require training is the way to go, and this was our whole philosophy when with Empowerkit.

Setting Expectations About Results

Distributors should understand what the end goals of their replicated website is, be it product sales, recruiting new members or curbing distributor retention. This will require adequate communication to the sales force, so that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them and their sites.

Inevitably, the results will vary amongst distributors depending on the goals set and the level of effort exerted in creating an up-to-date, personalized website. It’s important to not over promise and under deliver, especially with replicated websites.

Distributors need to understand that they play a vital role in achieving their own success through their replicated websites, by using them as a way to promote themselves, in turn attracting and converting more interested leads. To draw an analogy, you can have the best carpentry tools in the world, but without picking them up and using them, the house will not get built.

The Value of Staying Within Compliance

Compliance, whether on the company level or industry wide as set forth by the FTC, is an issue that is constantly changing and evolving. Distributors should be clear on why it’s important to stay compliant, and what specific policies effect the use of their personal replicated sites.

The right replicated website solution should have a flexible system in place to allow the company to seamlessly make changes and adjust distributor control levels, to keep the sales force compliant through the continually changing policies and procedures.

Often times when compliance issues arise, the distributor that has stepped over the line is not even aware of what they’ve done. The best way to pre-emptively address compliance concerns is to put the proper boundaries and guidelines in place ahead of time, in turn minimizing the risk and possibly of inadvertent missteps.

Ongoing Education and Corporate Leadership

Communication is vital to the smooth operation of any organization, direct selling companies included. The right replicated website should incorporate a communication system for distributors to share information and best practices, offer tips and advice and stay up to date with the latest company news.

We help facilitate internal communication is through Empowerkit’s Pulse feature, which doubles a network-wide activity feed as well as a messaging tool that can be used to keep the dialogue going between distributors and the company representatives.

This way, communication about online marketing and the replicated websites can happen right in-line with the actual site editor.

Up Next – Roll-Out Strategy

In The Evolution of Replicated Website Part VIII we will look in the steps that need to be taken to maximize the roll-out process.  What does a smooth roll-out look like?  How will distributors enroll in the new service?  The questions and more will be addressed in the next post.

April 12, 2011

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