5 Ways to Turn Built-In Reporting into a Competitive Advantage for Your MLM
Today’s multi-level marketing (MLM) companies have access to more customer, inventory, and market data than ever before. While data can be powerful, it can also be daunting when it’s difficult to bring together. It’s estimated that businesses leave up to 73 percent of the data they collect unused because it’s difficult to access or takes too much time to wrangle and analyze.
Savvy MLM companies maximize the built-in reporting capabilities provided by their MLM software to harness essential data points and turn them into strategic insights that help them grow, adapt, and pivot. The following five truths are the foundation of successful MLMs’ built-in reporting and data-driven decisions.
1. More isn’t always better.
Collecting data has never been easier. But capturing each customer click or sales interaction detail isn’t meaningful if it’s difficult to access or connect to other relevant information.
Define your data focus based on your MLM’s objectives and growth plans. Your MLM software should provide you with an end-to-end view of your business as well as standard and customizable reporting options. Start by defining the most important data points that you need. Then, leverage your MLM software’s built-in reporting functionality to create a focused set of reports that provide a tailored view of your target markets, customers, field sales representatives, inventory, sales, and marketing.
Once you’ve got basic, focused reports set up, you can identify areas where you want to dive deeper, such as retail customer buying patterns, wholesale sales by geographic region, or more complex inventory management analysis.
2. Customer data drives increased customization.
Understanding target customers, including their needs, interests, and purchase behaviors, is vital for MLM companies. That means capturing relevant customer data points – and making the information easily accessible – for both corporate and sales representative use – is critical.
MLMs thrive based on their ability to build strong, personalized relationships between MLM representatives and their customers. In fact, the one-to-one relationships and personalized shopping experiences that MLM representatives create for their customers are a primary differentiator between direct selling and traditional retail businesses.
When independent representatives have built-in reports highlighting customer profile and purchase history data at their fingertips via the MLM software’s representative portal, they’re perfectly set up to provide customized shopping experiences that today’s customers expect and value. Eight in ten customers prefer retailers who deliver a highly personalized shopping experience. And they spend more, too – up to 17 percent more when an experience meets or exceeds their expectations.
Related: How Customer Experience Adds Up to More MLM Sales
3. Inventory data unlocks insights.
Inventory management offers unique insights into an MLM’s business performance. Optimizing built-in reports to understand on-hand inventory, best-selling and under-performing items, and turnover rates at the SKU level unlocks insights that make business decisions data-driven rather than based on gut feelings.
By integrating your back-end software and front-end sales, your MLM company – and your representatives – gain an end-to-end view from the warehouse through the delivery of a purchased product to a retail customer. Along with providing essential data points about what’s selling and who’s buying, integrated inventory management provides the retail receipt visibility needed to ensure regulatory compliance.
Leverage your MLM software’s built-in reporting to provide:
- Real-time on-hand inventory reports: As sales representatives receive wholesale orders, an MLM’s software should enable automatic updates to their personal inventory stock, including providing the associated product images and descriptions. Then, as sales are made, the rep’s on-hand inventory counts update automatically, ensuring seamless customer experiences and efficient wholesale re-ordering.
- Best-seller reports: Keeping tabs on what’s selling – and what’s not – is crucial, even when you think you know. By monitoring these types of reports regularly, you will uncover additional insights that can help you anticipate trends, capitalize on customer interest in best-selling items, and incent representatives to promote and sell under-performing products.
- Inventory turnover: Knowing your inventory turnover rates by product helps to ensure you aren’t tying up too much money in inventory. Calculate inventory turnover – or the number of times an item sells within a defined period – by dividing the cost of items sold by the average inventory. Typically, a higher inventory turnover rate means you’re selling a lot without overstocking.
4. The future is forecast-able.
Sales forecasting should be more data-driven than intuition. With accessible data and built-in reporting, the process of compiling and analyzing past sales data to predict the future is simplified.
For direct selling companies, accurate, realistic sales forecasts are the foundation of strategic growth. A company should have a long-term forecast that looks ahead on a yearly basis over the next three to five years. In the shorter-term, an MLM should create a rolling monthly forecast that lays out specific sales targets for each month.
Your MLM software’s reporting capabilities should enable you to create automated reports showing daily, weekly, and monthly sales activity. By varying the level of detail within the reports, each can serve a distinct purpose, providing views at the product, region, and sales representative level. With this type of data at your fingertips, you will be able to track trends, identify patterns or unexpected results, and predict sales activity levels with greater accuracy. The insights provided by regular sales report analysis support in-the-moment business decisions as well as long-term strategic planning.
Effective forecasting doesn’t just include the projected sales totals by month or year. A forecast should also outline a plan for how the totals will be achieved. For MLMs, this includes establishing recruiting targets for new MLM sales representatives combined with a data-based understanding of the sales activity to expect. Again, focused, built-in reporting and production analysis for reps as they are on-boarded and trained makes realistic forecasting possible.
Related: Fast Forward: How to Recruit the Right Reps to Fuel MLM Growth
5. Automation and integration are the secrets to data optimization.
Optimizing the data captured about customers, sales, inventory, and representatives is a powerful, strategic tool for MLM companies. Doing it well requires the integration of back-end and front-end systems to eliminate the need to bring data from different sources together manually. Seek MLM software solutions that enable end-to-end integration and make comprehensive data accessible for a wide range of both canned and customized reports.
The second secret behind data optimization? Automation. By automating standard reports, you are ensured you will have consistent views into your business as it grows and changes. As you monitor these types of built-in reports, you gain a deep understanding of your company and your market. When you see changes in the data, you’re able to instantly dive deeper to uncover the insights you need to adjust your strategies and capitalize.
Built-in reporting without limits.
Wayroo’s built-in reporting capabilities give you an end-to-end view of your business, making it easier to analyze what’s happening and predict what will happen next. And, with Wayroo, there are no siloed metrics or canned reporting limitations. You own the data, the reporting, and the insights. Discover what Wayroo can do for your MLM business. Contact us for a demo today. Plus, for additional direct selling insights, download our infographic, Cha-ching! How well does your MLM payments process measure up?