Do you need extra sales help these days, but aren’t ready to hire employees? While that’s understandable, your business still has to make money, so if you’re not ready to hire inside sales staff, hiring an outside sales rep might be the answer. In fact, according to Wharton, the dotcom bust in the early 2000s saw many businesses move to use an outside sales force and never go back to employees.
Here are five factors to consider when hiring a sales rep:
1. More To Sell
Hiring an outside rep can especially help if you’re expanding your product line or services. You may have done a great job representing your company when you first started out, but at some point you need to step back and work on growing your business and let someone else handle the sales. As you expand, you can have reps dedicated to different parts of your business, so you have a team of experts to help your clients.
2. Expanding Your Reach
Outside reps are even more important if you’re selling outside of your geographic area. With today’s virtual business world, it’s easier than ever to hire reps across the country or even the world. With 80 percent of sales made on the fifth to 12th contact, having someone a client can meet with on a regular basis gives you a competitive advantage.
3. Commission vs. Salary
There are a variety of sales commission structures you can use with an outside sales rep. If you go through an agency, you’ll have to go with their structure. Find out what the rest of your industry does and follow their lead. Usually that involves some commission plus bonuses for landing new clients or exceeding sales goals.
4. Good Communication
The most important consideration in developing a successful relationship with an outside rep is good communication. That includes regularly scheduling meetings (in-person or virtual); keeping in touch by phone, email or SMS; requiring reports and more. When the rep is not on site, you need to make sure it’s clear what you expect in terms of communication. Invest in a customer relationship management system to make sure everyone is keeping current with the company’s sales efforts.
5. Selling to the Rep
If you can’t do a good job selling your company to the rep, that person is not going to do a good job representing your business. Put in the time in the beginning of your relationship to train and groom the rep so he or she is extremely knowledgeable about what you do and what you offer. If the rep represents other companies, make sure you know how they plan to represent your business, and follow up with clients to see how the person did.
The bottom line is that hiring an outside sales rep can get your sales where they need to be in a way that's easier for you as a business owner. Keeping these five factors in mind will make sure you choose the best rep possible to represent your company.
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