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10 important things commission-only sales agents consider before working with a company

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Commission-only sales agents are very different to working with in-house sales employees. It is vital that in order to attract self-employed sales professionals you understand the 10 most important things they look for before agreeing to represent a company.

CommissionCrowd is a revolutionary global platform that allows self-employed sales agents and companies to connect, manage your relationships, and work more efficiently together.

This top 10 list was based solely on a survey they carried out with the commission only sales reps on their database.

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10 important things commission-only sales agents consider before working with a company

  1. 1. By
  2. 2. Laura McGregor, CommissionCrowd Co-Founder
  3. 3. Industries & Companies that work with self employed sales agents Example Industries Business Financial Consumer Services Services Goods Health Care Manufacturing Example Companies Fact: Over 35% of Fortune 500 companies will utilise at least some outsourced sales in their businesses between now and 2015. High Tech
  4. 4. Benefits of working with self-employed sales agents • • • • • Reduced up front costs and risk associated with taking on new paid employees Being able to utilise self-employed sales professionals that have pre-existing contacts based on years of experience within a particular industry(s) Not reliant on local talent. Expanding your search can lead you to truly great sales people Enter new markets with the help of agents who already understand key players, culture, issues, competitors and opportunities Professional self employed sales agents usually share the same business objectives as the companies they have working relationships with. Commission-only sales jobs
  5. 5. - Bob Alesio, Director of Sales and Marketing at AMCI -
  6. 6. What is a self-employed sales agent • Entrepreneurs that choose to work for themselves • Have vast sales experience and an existing database of industry specific contacts A self-employed sales agent is not • • • Looks for product/service lines that compliment their existing client base • • Wants to break away from the constraints of employment • • Has drive, ambition and focus • • Aims to build a portfolio of companies they work with Someone so desperate for work they forego a wage Someone that will represent a company with poor products/services Willing to work for low levels of commission Looking for short term/get rich quick partnerships Is NOT an employee
  7. 7. Keith Crispin, Self-employed sales agent for 30 years Rob Leslie, Self-Employed sales agent for 20 years
  8. 8. Current Industry Challenges
  9. 9. Connecting There is a lack of understanding Fragmented Industry Expensive and not targeted enough Uncertainty around sales agent/company track records
  10. 10. Managing Existing technology is obsolete or fragmented Remote working relationships are complex Unsure of pipeline status. Losing leads No oversight on schedule, activity, training
  11. 11. Collaboration Company Information slow to distribute and share Difficult to share learning across all sales agents Difficult and timely to share feedback from customers Control over access permissions and shared documents
  12. 12. INCREASING SALES Multiple reports in various formats are time consuming Bad first impressions lead to bad relationships Slow sales due to endless reporting and other tasks that take away from selling Poor management stunts growth
  13. 13. Top Sales Agent Challenges Knowledge, Trust & Communication Commission payments slow, reconciliation difficult Need to spend more time selling and less time reporting Financial risk & pressure Managing multiple lines/companies
  14. 14. Top 10 Factors Sales Agents Consider When Deciding Which Self-Employed Sales Job Opportunity To Take On
  15. 15. CommissionCrowd surveyed a number of professional Self-employed (commission-only) sales agents on our database and asked them to rank the factors (excluding product/service type) they consider most important when deciding whether to work with a company or not.
  16. 16. The following 10 points will help you think in the same way a professional self-employed sales rep thinks, and will help you to better understand how to structure your company’s opportunity. Self-employed sales reps
  17. 17. Top 10 Factors A Professional Self Employed Sales Agent Considers Before Deciding If A Company/Opportunity Is Right For Them 1. Honesty & Integrity 2. Communication 3. Management Attitude 4. Reputation 5. Commission Structure & Offering 6. Attitude Towards Sales Reps 7. Marketing & Samples 8. Professionalism 9. Payment 10.Customer Service
  18. 18. #1 - Honesty & Integrity Acting honestly requires us to intend to be truthful, accurate and straightforward in all communications so that others are not misled or deceived. Make sure honesty and integrity is reflected in your opportunity • Don’t over-sell yourself/company/products/services • Be truthful and honest about the amount of business you currently have • Be honest about closing ratios, sales cycle times and earning potential
  19. 19. #2 - Communication The ability to communicate effectively with your sales agents is vital. It is important to know that you are not only there for sales support, but when they need to refine their pitch, better understand your products or are simply having an off day. Support your sales agents and they will support you. Remember to think About your support strategy and how you can be there for your team when they need you. This must come across when discussing your opportunity.
  20. 20. #3 Management Attitude Self-employed sales agents are NOT your employees! While the terms of your working relationship should always be pre-defined, It is important to have a strategy in place prior to working together. • • • • • • • • • How you approach your relationship with self-employed sales agents Employee vs. Partnership How you resolve issues How you set and manage expectations How you encourage and anticipate their needs The respect you show them in terms of their value and time How you understand their challenges and how they like doing business How you support them and your clients How you give and receive feedback How you encourage, train, manage and empower them
  21. 21. #4 Reputation Reputation is EVERYTHING to a good sales agent. It is unlikely that A company with a poor reputation will attract quality self-employed Sales agents. If your company has a great reputation then shout about it and make Sure when crafting your opportunity that you showcase why: • • • • • Client testimonials Awards Reviews Social Media sentiment Other successful sales agents
  22. 22. #5 – Commission (Earning potential) Can your sales agents really make money from your opportunity? No, but really… Can sales agents make money from your opportunity?? We’re not talking about pocket change (Pay peanuts, you get Monkeys): • The most important thing you must consider is the earning potential for your opportunity. can an agent actually make a decent living selling your product/service • Agents love residual commissions *see next slide • Give us much as you can and still make a profit – be fair & transparent “what would you prefer, 50% of everything or 50% of nothing?” – Dragon’s Den
  23. 23. #5 – Commission (Earning potential) • Show both conservative and advanced earning potential • Offer added incentives if targets are met • Consider compensation for: • New business • Existing customer upsells • Retention / win-back
  24. 24. Thinking About Your Commission Structure Getting your commission structure right is essential! You can have the best product or service in the world but if you pay peanuts you get monkeys. In order to attract the best self employed sales agents and stand a chance of growing your business, you must be willing to compensate your agents adequately. Residual Commission Structure Probably the most effective commission structure is the residual commission model. This is when your sales agents are paid a percentage of any repeat orders that come around due to initial business which has been closed by your agent. This is also the case if your services are billed to the client monthly. There are three reasons why this structure works well: 1. Your self employed sales agents will work very hard to close new business and add to their existing commissions. Their earnings have the potential to grow rapidly and it acts as a guaranteed income after a while. 2. Your sales agents will be more willing to manage their own accounts as they will want to keep their commissions coming in for a long time. This frees up more time for managers to concentrate on other areas of the business. 3. You stay top of mind (so long as they also like to work with you)
  25. 25. #6 - Attitude Attitude is everything when it comes to working successfully with self-employed sales agents You must recognise that self-employed sales reps are not your employees. They wish to be seen as partners in a business. You must be willing to accept the level of information your reps want to share with you Share the attitude that your sales agents are looking for long term partnerships and not short term solutions You can never be tempted to let a sales rep go for being ‘too successful’ and earning very high levels of commission Attitude works both ways. If a sales agent has a bad attitude, steer clear!
  26. 26. #7 - Samples Do your self-employed sales agents have the tools they need to sell effectively? Are your products samples, company literature & website up-to-date? Are you willing to invest time/money if the answer is no? • • • • • Your sales agents need great samples to show clients Your Marketing materials need to be up-to date Are you willing to invest in new materials if needed? Is your website up-to-date? What kind of materials will your team need in order to do business?
  27. 27. #8 – Be Professional Be professional – pretty obvious but very important to remember! • • • • • • • Don’t get into the ‘friend zone’ too quickly. Keep your word Give your full effort Act appropriately Be knowledgeable Be generous Be honest
  28. 28. #9 – Paying Commissions • Not all agents will look for a short sales cycle and short pay periods. Some agents like a mix of long and short sales cycles in their pipeline. • Agents understand that there is likely a delay in receiving commissions as you will need to collect payment from customer. Be open and transparent and clearly set out pay terms. Then stick to them. • Communicate any issues or delays immediately!
  29. 29. #10 – Customer Service Poor customer service will not only lose you your clients, you’ll lose your sales reps too! • A sales agents main priority is keeping their clients paying and recommending your services so they can earn more. Lose their business and lose your sales agents with them. • Agents need to know that you can service your customers in a timely and efficient manner • They need to know what kind of support is available, how you resolve issues and generally how reliable it is • Let them know the level of support available to them and to customers and how happy your existing customers are too.
  30. 30. CommissionCrowd is a revolutionary global platform that allows self-employed sales agents & companies to connect, manage your relationships, and work more efficiently together