Does this sound like you? You know you need to figure out your sales plan going forward. Building an independent sales team is a strong consideration for you. With an independent sales team, you pay commission on the sale without the upfront costs associated with salaried sales reps. Before you head down the independent sales route, consider these 5 things:
Identifying qualified independent sales representatives is really tough.
The average experienced independent sales rep carries 4-6 different lines (products or services). That means they are busy. Unlike people looking for jobs, independent sales reps tend not to gravitate to job boards…they aren’t looking for a job! You’re going to have to use some creative techniques – industry contacts or a service like ours (RepRight) to help you identify possible candidates.
When you find potential candidates, you need to treat them like gold.
It is so hard to find great candidates that you’ll want to prioritize initial communications with your potential reps over most any other business communication. While no one knows for sure, it seems likely that there are about 25 great independent sales opportunity for every single qualified, available independent sale rep.
What you say at the first meeting is make or break.
When you talk to your prospective sales representatives, focus on what you can do for them, not product, not company. In other words, sell the features of working with you and your company. The rep holds the cards. There are many more qualified opportunities than there are qualified reps. So frame your conversation around:
- basics of the product or service
- work culture
- how you support your reps (leads you’ll supply, protected work territory, bonus at goal, etc)
- stories of other current reps’ success
Turnover is a definite consideration.
Regardless of how well you recruit and vet your candidates/new sales reps, you’re going to have turnover. If you can keep churn at less than 50% a year, that’s great.
Recruiting is a marathon, not a sprint.
Once you have your team in place, you’re going to continue to recruit. Some reps will not be successful. Others won’t jibe well with your culture and requirements. Others just won’t find the product or service engaging and will prefer to sell other things. You’ll find that you’re always recruiting to find more great talent.
Building a successful independent sales team is tough, but when you’ve it figured out, you can scale through sales at any pace you wish, with some of the most dedicated and hardworking sales reps anywhere.