Every year, our firm completes the most comprehensive benchmarking of field salesforce behavior in the direct selling industry. The 2020 results are in, and the numbers verify that last year was the best year our direct selling clients have seen since the turn of the century. The explosion of growth that started in late April and continued through a remarkably strong summer is turning into a record-breaking number of new social selling companies that will launch this year.
The mainstream media does not particularly care for social selling, but last fall everyone was talking about the changing U.S. economy. Amazon was winning, retail was struggling, and eCommerce companies continued to face issues with the cost of customer acquisition and disappointing reorder rates. Even the Harvard Business Journal was raising questions about sales channel strategy – https://hbr.org/2020/09/do-you-have-the-right-sales-channels-for-a-downturn
This environment is giving rise to the most significant number of new social selling companies I have seen in my 37 years in the industry. If you’ve ever thought of having a social selling salesforce, this seems to be the time to jump into the channel. While we only work with 3-5 startups at a time, I’ve averaged more than a dozen calls a week since October talking with people who want to enter the channel. The exceptional growth in social selling during 2020, coupled with the continuing challenges in both retail and eCommerce, have created a gold rush in social selling.
I am amazed at the breadth of new entrants we’ll see enter the social selling channel this year. Growth in the direct selling space will include many new opportunities created by large consumer products manufacturers already selling through other channels. Dozens will enter the U.S. social selling channel this year, selling skin care, nutritional supplements, personal care technology, home products, food, and wine. Existing service companies are also preparing to launch new social selling opportunities in travel, energy, and financial services. It is refreshing to see the social channel move from an era which had been dominated by wave after wave of companies with the next great CBD product to a period of expansive growth in a wide range of product categories.
We are working on three spring launches right now, but we’re always looking for the next client whose idea has a high likelihood of success. We’ve worked across virtually all product and service categories. Our experience includes helping completely new ventures succeed as direct selling companies and guiding existing consumer products companies as they enter this channel. We know what a successful launch looks like, which is probably why we’ve had only two failed launches in the last 12 years. If you think 2021 might be the year your company steps into the social selling space, reach out and talk with us. There may never be a better year to launch a direct selling company in the United States.