The Direct Sales Back Office is typically the brain behind a company’s business. Everything from commissions and reporting to incentives and promotions runs through the back end. Frequently the back office provider also offers a shopping solution and tools to communicate with the field and the customer base. Knowing the best way to utilize your back office can make the difference between growth and profitability and struggles and business challenges. Two months ago, Trace Jensen joined the Verb sales team. Trace has over two decades of experience working with various back office providers. This episode of the Direct Sales Masterclass focuses on tips to help you maximize your back office in ways that can impact your growth and momentum.
To view the full video of McKinley’s Masterclass with Trace click here.
Back Offices Enter the Age of Technology Innovation
When Trace first started working in the back office space, the companies offered their software as an on-premise solution. They would license it and have the back office provider come on-site to install and train their team. It required a full IT staff and system admin.
With the emergence of the internet, back office providers began to innovate their solution and the tools that they offered. The transition from clunky and manual to innovative and SAAS-based provided the opportunity to offer a wide variety of different tools to help companies grow. Companies began to look at the way they accessed reporting, the information they supplied to the field (and digested internally at the corporate office) and focused on better ways to connect with the field and their customer base. While the old office was NCRs (remember those?) and fax machines, the new era of back office took advantage of digital tools that allowed a new level of connection.
This new era of back office allowed the field to consume the data and drive additional sales, focus on new team member activity, and focus on a separate customer pathway in their business. Distributors didn’t use to have great insights and lacked a connection to their customer base. Fast forward and you see the companies that are succeeding the most are the ones who maximize the back office tools and use them to help their field succeed.
Knowing the Different Types of Back Offices
There are numerous back office providers in the direct sales space that offer various solutions. Knowing what they provide and how they can support your business is critical when choosing a back office.
Tier One: This back office solution offers a proven platform, support services, and ways to help you grow and will keep pace with your growth. They are extremely scalable, flexible, and offer high levels of automation. They are configurable to your business rules and requirements. Choosing to go tier one may not be the most cost-effective, but can help you avoid the experience of heartburn when you are forced to transition from a tier two provider.
Tier Two: This base back office solution will be more cost-effective. They are tempting for start-ups as they can get you started quickly and get you into business in a shorter time. Many back office providers offer a basic (similar to a tier two) plan that will eventually allow you to scale up to their tier one solution.
Running the Right Reports that Will Impact Your Business
One of the essential ways your back office can impact your business is through the reporting services that they offer. Utilizing the reports internally with your corporate team, and providing them to the field is critical to achieving success and improving your business growth. Analyzing the data and comparing month over month, quarter over quarter, and year over year are key ways that your team can find areas of strength and weakness.
30, 60, 90 Day Reports: These reports can show attrition and drop-off and aid in retention. Why are business builders and customers dropping off? Are there onboarding weaknesses that you need to address? How can training, upline connection, and product experience improve these numbers? Predicting things before they happen can come from connections in these reports.
Genealogy: Active vs inactive. Customers and business builders. Advancing team members. These reports can provide warm leads, customers open to promotions, and easy ways to connect with people who have experienced the brand previously. In addition, team reports can help your executive team and field leaders to focus on up-and-coming leaders or areas of a team that may be struggling.
Customer Pathway vs Business Builder Pathway: These reports can help focus on creating separate success journeys for team builders and customers. Different metrics and communication methods are critical for both segments. Finding the appropriate ways to measure and display different reports in these areas is a great starting point.
Rank Advancement and Title Requirement: Helping a business builder see how close they are to the next rank (and similar info for personal enrollments) can be just the motivation they need to focus on the key behaviors that will help them succeed. Gamifying this and helping them communicate it with their team can create a culture of success. Breaking it up into bite-size bits to help them advance is a key focus for this report.
Tip: Many of these business-building reports from the back office can be displayed in the Verb App. This provides your field with the key business reports and can utilize notifications and gamification to help drive the behaviors that will help them advance in rank.
In addition to back office reports, incentives and programs run through the back office can also help drive behaviors. Many tier-one providers have various tools that focus on incentives. Long-term and short-term incentives have different ways of impacting enrollment and purchasing behaviors.
How Automation Can Help You Succeed
A couple of years ago Trace worked with a direct sales company that was losing over $1.5 million in revenue due to lost orders. These orders included customer orders, autoships that weren’t tracked properly, orders that had been canceled, and other pain points. By implementing some basic automation to provide insights and reporting, this company was able to access “low-hanging fruit” and automate the process to recover the revenue. This company was able to generate over $14 million in profit in just one year with a change in the back office and the way they automated some of their internal reports. Small things can have a major impact and having the right back office will more than pay for the cost.
Integrating with the Best Front End Tools Can Create Powerful Synergies with Your Back Office
Trace worked for a highly respected back office provider who had clients that had integrated their back office with the Verb app. Trace saw first-hand what this type of integration could do to impact his client's growth.
“I saw what the tools did for our client’s enrollments and revenue and knew that the tools worked.” – Trace Jensen
When Verb first entered the digital tools space, some of the back office providers worried about potential competition. Quickly they realized that the potential synergies between the two platforms would help their clients succeed and create a win for everyone involved. Here are two of the key features in the Verb app that integrate with back offices to provide unique solutions to direct sales companies:
verbLIVE: This live selling tool integrates directly with the back office to provide buying links and even allows team members to invite guests to their upline’s meetings and get correct attribution for purchases and enrollments. Last month, the Verb platform had over ten thousand unique meetings throughout the world for one client! The platform is scalable, services international markets, and provides unique data and reporting for distributors and corporate to follow up effectively with attendees. This feature helps drive growth and is the next wave of innovation and technology.
verbPULSE: This new feature drives everything that a back office is helping a company do. It is the ultimate tool to maximize the back office reporting. The unique integration sends a push notification to the distributor any time there is a new order, an upcoming autoship, or a canceled autoship.