Need Sales To Grow But No Good At Selling? Outsource To Self-Employed Sales Agents

Not many companies start out because the owner is a great at selling. Most owners will have a specific skill or passion that makes the business a sound proposition … if only they could convince people to buy from them. Alternatively, they may have a sales team but need to temporarily boost activity to cover a new market, launch a new product or simply to cover prospects outside your normal working hours (eg: selling to international markets.)

Recruiting permanent sales staff can be expensive (although it is cheaper than it used to be) and the process takes time, particularly if after the interview process your chosen hire has to work notice with an existing employer. Finally, sometimes sales people just do not ‘work out’ and then you have to go through the whole process again, spend more money and lose valuable time instead of selling your service or product.

Connect With A Professional Independent Sales Rep

So, you are looking for immediacy, flexibility, scalability and above all, sales professionalism. Time to call in an A-Team of quality commission-only sales agents. The ‘pay-on-performance’ sales industry has been around for well over a hundred years and is popular across many industries as a cost-effective alternative to hiring in-house sales staff.

There are many reasons why you should consider using independent sales agents.

  • Lower overheads and financial risk associated than taking on employees
  • Enter new or broader markets with someone who already has experience in the marketplace
  • You can employ more than one agent at a time and build a whole team with specific skills
  • You can quickly replace under-performing sales people or those that do not fit in with your company ethos
  • You can manage cash-flow more effectively as you are only paying on what they actually sell

As Steven Hamm from Bloomberg’s Businessweek righty noted, “Companies are willing to outsource their back office operations. So, why not the salesforce?”

External Sales Is About Outsourcing Expertise

Outsourcing your sales is no different to more commonplace outsourcing activities such as accounting, legal services or HR. Ryan Mattock, co-founder of CommissionCrowd, suggests that businesses can make themistake of “hiring” and “managing” sales agents in the way they would an in-house employee.“Wise companies approach commission-only sales partnerships in the same way they would any other relationship with an external contractor who is paid upon completion of services, an accountant or lawyer for example.”

Experienced sales agents tend to already have many contacts within particular markets and industries. Essentially this means you can tap into a sales rep’s existing network and expand your reach very quickly. An example of this in action was when Intel bought Digital Equipment Corp’s semiconductor business – they used outside sales professionals to sell three lines of products in markets where its normal salesforce had no experience or contacts.

Bob Alesio, sales director of AMCI (a global manufacturer of industrial control systems) outsources his entire sales function: “Contracting independent manufacturer’s reps allows us to manage our salesforce costs in relationship to growth vs significant upfront costs associated with employed sales representatives”.

Agents are obviously not only the preserve of small and micro-enterprises.

Why Work With Commission-Only Sales Agents?

“Commission-only” can conjure up images of someone who’s desperate to get work, where in reality the reverse is true. Many are self-employed professionals with many years experience and are so confident of their ability to close sales that a salary is not their priority. They enjoy the flexibility of freelancing, the opportunity to pick & choose their clients and earning money on every sale they close.

Ryan Mattock and Laura McGregor believe they have also solved the problematic issues of finding quality commission-only sales agents, managing their activity in remote locations and helping businesses attract the best sales agents. “We’ve solved all these issues with CommissionCrowd by simplifying the process for both the sales agents and the employer. However, some businesses will need to understand that they are trying to appeal to professional sales people who know their worth and will not just work for anyone. They can be very discerning about what they sell and who they are working for because they only make money from successful sales.”

How To Attract Quality Commission-Only Sales Agents

Keith Crispin, a self-employed sales agent for over 30 years, explains the main reason for deciding to become self-employed was “the desire to use my professional contacts to earn more, but also I like the freedom to be in charge of my own destiny”.

Understanding how to work effectively with an independent sales rep is one of the key things sales agents look for when considering your company’s opportunity, explains Laura McGregor, “We’ve spent a lot of time talking with self-employed sales agents and one of the most consistent messages we hear is that they want to work with companies who understand how to do business with them.”

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