Distinctly Regional Social Selling Trends Develop in 2020

Several companies have asked us why we chose a map as the primary image when we announced our annual benchmarking study this week. There’s a simple answer – this year, for the first time in more than a decade, we’ve seen distinctly regional trends develop in the behavior of direct sellers.

The year 2020 is unlike any previous year in modern times, and the arrival of the novel coronavirus dramatically altered the behavior of U.S. consumers. The behavior of direct sellers has also changed significantly. For the first time since we began benchmarking in 2009, there are major differences in the behavior of consumers and distributors based on where they are located.

We dropped regional analysis charts from our benchmarking reports in 2014 because they just weren’t interesting. Direct sellers and their customers behaved in a very similar fashion around the U.S. The impact of COVID-19 has suddenly generated interesting differences in behavior in different regions of the country. It’s not surprising, given the wide range of state and local rules and regulations that have been issued this year. COVID-19 has impacted different areas of the country in quite different ways, and peoples’ daily activities and attitudes about engaging in various social settings vary significantly. In some areas, K-12 schools have been in session for nearly two months, high school sports are being played with spectators, and restaurants are fully open to serve customers in their dining rooms. In other areas, sometimes nearby, K-12 schools are open for remote learning only, all public gatherings > 10 are prohibited, and restaurants are serving take-out orders only.

COVID-19 has impacted different local and regional areas quite differently, and this year’s benchmarking study will analyze the data and report on geographic differences in the behavior of social sellers and their customers.

Learn more about our 2020 Field Salesforce and Customer Benchmarking study at

2020 Field Salesforce and Customer Benchmarking Study launches in October to help clients understand developing trends

Each year since 2009, Hepfer & Associates has conducted its annual U.S. Field Salesforce and Customer Behavior Benchmarking study. This study has always been based on analysis of raw data from participating companies – not answers to survey questions – and it provides the only accurate, data-based assessment available to North American direct selling companies.  Our database contains historical information on the behavior of millions of U.S. Distributors and their customers.
We have changed the timing and scope of our annual benchmarking study to respond to the challenges direct selling companies are facing as they try to understand the new trendlines of a world dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We will produce two sets of reports as part of our 2020 study:
·  During October we will be enrolling companies for our 2020 study, and in late October we will begin to report on industry activity and monthly trends from the first nine months of this year. 
·  We will offer all study participants the opportunity to submit 4th quarter 2020 data in January, and we will produce updated 2020 reports in early February
We have simplified the fee structure for this study, with companies paying a fixed fee based on their annual U.S. revenues.
·        $1 – $49 million                $2,500
·        $50 – $99 million             $5,000
·       $100 – $999 million       $10,000
·        > $1 billion                       $20,000
Click here to have us contact you about our 2020 Field Salesforce and Customer Behavior Benchmarking:
Our annual studies have always profiled the behaviors of a company’s salesforce and customer base, but this year we will dig into the trends that have developed in specific areas of the United States.  New this year, we will look at distributor and customer activity trends in U.S. Megaregions, as defined by the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  We will also analyze sales and sponsoring trends by U.S. Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.   

The 2020 Benchmarking study will include analysis of distributor purchasing, selling, and sponsoring. It will look at trends in customer basket size and order frequency.
Over the past eleven years, we have developed standardized models for analyzing distributor and customer activation and engagement. Using those models, we will assess and report on trends in distributor and customer activation and engagement levels.  
Click here to have us contact you about our 2020 Field Salesforce and Customer Behavior Benchmarking:
Answers to some common questions:
How will you safeguard my company’s data?
Participating companies will be asked to provide a CSV file with basic transaction information for each month from January, 2020 through September 2020 and a CSV file with basic distributor/customer information.  We collect no names, street addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, or other personally identifiable data.  All files are provided via FTP or a secure Dropbox.  All data is moved offline once received by Hepfer & Associates.

How will you protect my company’s identity?
No data requested will contain any personally identifiable information, providing zero risk that any specific information about your representatives might be compromised.  Your company will receive a participant number, and all data being processed on our systems will refer to companies only by participant number.  Only two people will have access to the company/participant number cross-reference table:  Amanda Bowerman, our benchmarking study manager, and Doug Hepfer, President of Hepfer & Associates.