The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through. Sidney J. Harris
We live in an information-rich society that seems to overload us with yet more data each and every passing day. This data can be informative and helpful when it comes to effectively managing your business. As an executive or leader in the network marketing space, you rely on key data every day to make meaningful decisions.
Here at Xennsoft, we love building tools that present that data in ever more clear and meaningful ways. Whether it’s a single custom report, an expansive downline tree view with all the relevant data, or a powerful dashboard that a distributor can modify and save to their heart’s content, we excel at providing solutions in the MLM space.
Although information is critical, it is my belief that communication still trumps it. May I suggest that without proper communication, information often becomes a meaningless jumble of words, numbers, and random web pages. I’d like to share with you a few tips we’ve gleaned over the years in serving and working with our clients, who have ranged from one-person startups to multi-billion dollar entities.
The bottom line is this: those who communicate effectively often enjoy a stable, successful company once they get off the ground. That doesn’t mean that every company who communicates well becomes financially successful but we have learned that, with rare exception, every company who grew large and remained large, mastered the art of communication both internally and externally.
Here are a couple key areas to apply your focus:
Communication with the field
It goes without saying that if you keep your field leaders in the dark on where you’re headed with your vision, mission, and strategy, any initial success you may experience will not be sustainable long-term. Large new features and promotions often necessitate buy-in from your field generals and captains. This doesn’t mean that every little nitpicking thing needs to be run past them, but consult them often. They are the ones who will marshal the troops in your behalf and can make things happen in a dramatic way if they are believers in your cause and culture.
Many successful companies elect an advisory board or committee. It’s best if you can rotate leaders in and out of these positions (just like government) so that one leader does not overly dominate or gain too much power. On the flip side, it’s wise not to over-promise and commit to your leaders on programs or policies that are unproven before you’ve had time to fully evaluate it. They are there as an advisory resource; ultimately it’s your company and you need to manage it best. Effective communication is key, especially when you decide not to act on the advice of your advisory board.
Another form of communication with the field is proper training. In network marketing, the most effective companies have duplicable recruiting systems. At an even more basic level, how are you teaching your distributors about your compensation plan? Are you training them to effectively use their back office, reports, replicated websites, and more? Just because they have a dashboard full of numbers, widgets, and charts doesn’t always mean that they know how to properly use that information to run their business. Sure, some of it should be self-explanatory, but ultimately it’s your responsibility to train your distributors. Whether you send out videos or pdfs or stage training events or webinars, you need to ensure they know how to use the tools and gather the information they need to succeed.
Communication with your key internal stakeholders
You’d think this completely obvious, but we can’t tell you the number of times that companies stumble when it comes to relaying critical information to their employees with respect to certain development projects, compensation plan changes, and more. Often, certain departments get so excited about some new feature or promotion that they may neglect to share their exciting idea or announcement to other key departments before pulling the trigger. What ensues can result in everything from irritation and annoyance to major train wrecks.
As an executive or manager with an MLM company, please ensure that your project managers and those who coordinate with your software vendor have clear and accurate information when it comes to new promotions, new features, etc. Your software provider should be your partner in helping you dodge any bullets for which you are unaware and help steer you to the best solution possible given any resource or time constraints.
It’s a good practice to get at least a high-level estimate and a rough ETA on what it will take to finish the project before you even start on it or an announce it to your field. At Xennsoft, we do our best to meet deadlines with about 85% accuracy. However, even the most carefully planned and executed projects may sometimes fall short, especially if there are any changes involved. It’s always smart to provide a buffer when making major announcements to the field so that you have time to test and be certain that all is well with the new software or comp plan feature you’re releasing. The old adage to “under-promise and over-deliver” certainly applies here.
In the end, communication is an art and good leaders must learn to master it well. Those who effectively communicate their intentions to both internal and external stakeholders are positioned to reap the rewards of success in their network marketing business.