Selecting MLM Software

The most common and devastating mistake made by Start-Up MLM companies is that many attempt to develop their own commission tracking and genealogy software in-house under the misguided belief that they will save money.  99 out of every 100 times this is a VERY, VERY BAD IDEA!  The real cost of developing in-house is usually the loss of the company.

A typical in house development venture happens something like this: somebody, who knows somebody, who is friends with a guy, who is a programmer that “used to work for NASA, IBM or Microsoft“, blah, blah, blah…  What really happens is that if these non-MLM experienced programmers do finally get the programming started, these programmers most often leave frustrated halfway through the project either because of their employer or unfamiliarity with the beast they are trying to build.

Remember, the Network Marketing industry is very demanding, from both an expectations and requirements perspective. The same programmer that was able to develop a solid accounting system will give you a blank stare when you mention the term genealogy and look confused when told that Binary does not mean “1” or “0“.  Network marketers do not want to hear about a MLM programming newbie’s need for just 6 more months of development time any more than a programmer wants to hear about all the money he or she will make with the company tomorrow, if work is just done on the cheap today.

You need know, up-front, that as much as 50% of all the technical problems you will encounter will be with your in-house IT personnel.  Even if they can get your system working (which is a rare occurrence), sometime in the future the programmer will most likely resign and go to work somewhere else – leaving you, your company and your responsibilities completely dead in the water.

You absolutely must work with a seasoned MLM system expert, people that know what is going to be needed TOMORROW, not just today!  As a Start-Up you are going to encounter challenges you never dreamed of and a heavy workload; the very last thing you need to be worrying about is the central nervous system of your company, your software.

Finally, understand that a single programmer, a cranky spouse and an answering machine simply cannot handle the programming needs for a Network Marketing company.  Make sure your Vendor has, at the very least 10+ (onsite) staff members, or you know who you’ll be talking to the most… here’s a clue: “at the tone, please leave your name, number and a brief message“.

Unless you have asked for their opinion, help or advice, do not let any software vendor direct you to a specific compensation plan type based upon their “knowledge of the industry”.  If you’d like to hear what the vendor has to say, great, the vendor will usually be happy to share.  If you have done your homework and know what you want, stick to the plan and do not be dissuaded. Remember, this is your baby and you need to be passionate about it!

All too many times, a Start-Up MLM is pushed or talked into going with a different compensation plan by their software vendors.  The reason this is done is because the software provider is not listening to what you want, they are pushing you towards their own agenda.  It is truly amazing how easy Start-Up MLM companies can be manipulated into falling right into a software provider’s “success criteria” trap.  Know most of what you want to do BEFORE contacting any software vendor.  The software development process will become a lot more manageable and you will be negotiating with the vendor from a position of strength, not weakness.

Work only with a software vendor that can show a track record of personal success in the industry, in addition perhaps also as a distributor or an MLM company owner.  Note… “propellerheads” will NOT be there for you when you need vision or network marketing questions answered.  

We have all heard programmers say “if you can detail it, we can program it”, sadly that is NOT true.  MLM is a unique industry with unique demands – make sure that the vendor thoroughly knows the MLM industry ahead of time, otherwise you will waste countless hours and receive inferior results while they learn on your dime.  Lack of knowledge does not make an inexperienced MLM programmer a bad or unethical person, just one that’s going to have a difficult time delivering a workable product.

Be sure to work with a company that is on the same page as you and can work through the MLM thought process with you in finite detail BEFORE you hand over ANY money!!!  More importantly, RUN as fast as you can away from the “nod and wink” guys that assure they understand your requirements and will get the job done without first thoroughly committing the job to paper.  

Demand and review sample compensation plans and more importantly make sure you get your own Technical Specifications Documents (programming specifications) and 4 or 5 that were done for previous clients to see what thought process and marketing vision was implemented.  If the requirements aren’t professionally written, what you want won’t get done…and make no mistake, you’ll be left holding the bag. Make vendors earn your business and spend a little extra t