We all know that you can’t have success in business without sales. Sales are the lifeblood of every company, and when your company is not getting enough leads it’s important to find ways to generate more. One way you can do this is by hiring external sales people who will take care of representing your business for you. In this blog post, we’ll go over some points to consider when hiring external sales reps: procedures for outside sales representation.
The Brief for Outside Sales Representation
When hiring sales people or anyone to represent your business and brand, there are risks. Most companies will have policies and procedures in place for employees however external service providers, such as outside sale representation, are sometimes left to their own devices. You need solid procedures in place before hiring outside sales representative so that they are able to work efficiently and effectively with your team members, produce great results and represent your brand well.
You may be hiring an individual or a team of sales people. No matter what the scale of your needs are, you’ll need a solid brief. This is much the same as a job description you’d use for employees. The Sales Job Description should include:
Sales Goals and Expectations
Sales people should be well aware of what the goals and objective are that you expect from defined in terms of the amount of sales, the time frame expected for meeting these targets and any commission or bonus payment structures that may apply when they meet or exceed expectations.
Sales Territories and Limitations
There may be certain territories that your sales reps must stick too. Salespeople need to be aware of these limitations and what is off limits. They also need to understand your company’s competitive landscape so that they can properly position products and services in the market place.
Sales Tactics to Use Within Your Business
This includes details on pricing strategies, who your target market is, and what type of messaging you want your sales reps to use when selling to customers. There are many methods for managing the sales and marketing pipeline such as cold-calling, door to door selling and trade shows. The sales reps you hire should be suited to the specific tactics you wish to use within your business.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Representing Your Company
Make sure that you spell out exactly the Do’s and Don’ts of representing your company. There are a few ground rules that all sales representatives should follow. This includes how to act when meeting with clients, what type of communication is acceptable, and business etiquette tips.
Motivating and Compensating Sales People
Good sales reps are often competitive people who rise to a challenge. Some will be motivated to perform well, due to a sense of achievement and recognition. Some will be motivated to perform due to remuneration. It’s important to have a good understanding of how you will be motivating and compensating sales people for their efforts. This includes base fees, commission or bonuses.
How Hiring Sales Representation Works
The first step is to seek proposals for suitable companies or go to tender for larger organizations. Many sales companies will have their own set of policies and procedures they will not deviate from, others will customize their services to suit your specific needs. The most important part of the hiring process is to find the best possible match to suit your needs.
When seeking proposals, you should request the Sales Rep’s take the brief and present a plan to fulfil that brief. This plan should define the specifics of how the sales representation will be implemented. There may be aspects of the sales service that you are absolutely clear on and there may be other areas you’re like the recommendations and advice from the external sales company.
When reviewing proposals, ensure the company presents a solution that is based on your product or service offerings, customer profiles and potential marketplaces. It’s important that both you and the sales team are happy with the plan and are confident in its ability to produce results.
Many sales representation teams will specialize in specific niches. That comes with its advantages and possibly some disadvantages. For example, a company that specializes in the home hardware industry will likely have connections with the appropriate decision makers in that industry. Classic Duo in Australia is a prime example of this, with strong connections with Bunnings (one of the largest companies in Australia) who they also support with merchandising. The downside is your competitors may have already hired them so there could be a conflict of interest.
When the final decision is made, you’ll need to ensure contracts are put in place so everything is well documented. The contract should outline what you expect from the outside representatives including compensation, training requirements, termination clauses and expectations. You should also be careful to protect your own interests from a legal standpoint. For this, we highly recommend hiring a lawyer who is an expert in the field.
Training & Support
As a specialist Sales Representation company, your selected team should be well versed in general principles of sales and service. You should also have documentation, policies and procedures in place to explain the specifics of your products, services and brand.
To represent your company, it is important that each Sales Rep receive adequate training. They should also be familiar with your sales process, terminology and culture. This will help to ensure a smooth handover from sales to fulfilment and prevent any misunderstandings or culture clashes further down the line.
Sales Materials & Resources
To function effectively, your sales people will need appropriate tools and resources. This may include presentation materials, slide-decks, CRM’s, product literature, sales process documentation, or even using videos in your sales funnel.
Depending on the sales company you hire, they may provide some of the required resources and request you produce other resources. Don’t assume anything and document everything! It is important to have clear policies in place for the storage of these materials so that Sales Reps know where everything is located and private information remains secure.
Outside Sales Representation
With these simple guidelines for external representation, your company can see an increase in sales. It’s also import to have KPI’s and be prepared to test, measure and tweak so you can create incremental improvements in your sales process. Hiring outside sales representation is a fantastic idea for many businesses since it can produce fantastic results and is one less department you need to train and manage internally. Hiring sales representation still requires solid sales and marketing cycle operating procedures.
Outside sales representatives are not going to have the same knowledge and understanding about your company as you do so you need to provide them with instructions and resources so they better understand your business and brand. If a potential customer asks a question that the representative can’t address, then further resources may be required. With the right training and documentation, your sales team can be confident to move forward and produce fantastic results.