Rebuilding The Direct Sales Back Office
In the direct selling industry, we spend a lot of time talking about the field: how to improve training methods; ways to boost recruitment efforts; the best techniques for increasing retention. And sure; building a passionate, loyal, and experienced sales force will go a long way to achieving direct selling success—but it’s not everything. Just think about all the behind-the-scenes operations and processes that are vital to keeping a direct selling organization functioning: customer relationship management (CRM), enrollment, order processing and tracking, lineage management, commission payouts, inventory management—it goes on and on. Your back office system is the spine of your direct selling company. Without it, everything else falls apart.Your back office system is the spine of your #directselling company. Click To Tweet
It used to be that if a direct selling organization wanted a back office system tailored to their unique needs, they’d have to build it themselves—either from scratch, or by cobbling together a handful of out-of-the-box solutions. But the power and flexibility of back office software has improved dramatically over recent years. Today, third-party back office platforms offer intuitive and customizable digital platforms capable of handling all of the processes and functions of a modern direct selling company from a single interface. This is the future of the back office in direct selling.
Ed Jarrin is the President and Co-Founder of Exigo, a leading back office platform in the direct selling space. I reached out to Ed to learn more about his service and find out what companies should expect from a modern back office provider.
GH: What is Exigo?
EJ: Exigo is a technology platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and transaction engine for direct selling companies. Through a simplified third-party integration, we give clients end-to-end control of their direct selling environment—start to finish. We have an extremely versatile platform, and clients can shape it to do whatever they need: orders, commission payments, CRM, autoship, and so on.
GH: Why is it so important for direct selling companies to re-evaluate their back office systems?
Without the adoption of new, digital tools, #directselling companies will rapidly become obsolete. Click To Tweet
EJ: It’s not important—it’s mandatory. Older back office technologies give poor and uncompetitive user experiences. Without the adoption of new, digital tools, direct selling companies will rapidly become obsolete. Technology has changed. Consumers are getting the majority of their digital information through mobile devices, not desktops or laptops. Data is real-time, and systems are more integrated than ever before. Everything has gone global. Direct selling companies need to adjust.
GH: What are some of the advantages of integrating with a modern back office provider?
EJ: A modern back office takes advantage of real-time data updates, is readily extensible, and incorporates response design capabilities. Furthermore, they support numerous languages and currencies. Exigo’s open source platform provides clients with access to their real-time, actionable data, which can all be modified by the client’s own web team or third-party developer, rendered on websites designed for any device or browser. Having access to this information helps drive distributor behavior and sales. Exigo’s clients have full control of their back office and replicated web pages, and can structure their websites and data to reflect the information they want in the manner they prefer.
GH: Can you give me a brief description of the Exigo process, from initial contact with a client through development and integration?
EJ: We begin with a discovery process that helps us diagnose the client’s current pain points, as well as areas of potential growth. We gather all pertinent information and use it to provide a scope that is customized to the client’s specific needs and goals. We then configure their environment and integration points with our open source platform to provide customized data that fits the client’s needs. From there, we implement, launch, analyze, and optimize.
GH: What are some of the specific tools that Exigo offers?
EJ: There’s our custom mobile back office app, which gives customers access to real-time personal and team information—rank, volume, commission—as well as ordering and enrollment functionality right on their iOS or Android device. We also provide our SyncSQL replicated database, which allows all on-premise and private cloud Exigo data to communicate in real-time, giving clients far greater control of their data. Of course, all clients have access to our robust API library—Exigo’s extensive collection of pre-developed system connectors.
GH: Exigo has incorporated Hyperwallet’s commission payout functionality into it’s platform. What value does that bring to Exigo’s clients?
Integration with Hyperwallet lets our clients send commissions globally in one business day. Click To Tweet
EJ: It lets them transact globally in a range of unique payout options. Through our integration with Hyperwallet, our clients can send commissions around the world in one business day or less. The commission payouts come from the company’s branded platform, ensuring brand-cohesiveness and helping to build brand loyalty. Like Exigo, Hyperwallet allows for for customization and choice, perfectly complimenting Exigo’s service as an open source platform.
GH: What are some of the developments in back office technology that Exigo expects to see in the future?
EJ: A continued trend towards mobile technology. Ongoing optimization of products and developer toolkits for an enhanced mobile experience. As we move deeper into the 21st century, robust, real-time actionable data that can be used to drive behavior and sales will become increasingly important.
You can learn more about modern developments in back office technology—as well as how mobile technology is impacting the direct sales industry—in our comprehensive guide, Harnessing the Digital Revolution: 9 Questions for Direct Selling Companies in the New Economy.