Industry Innovators: Laura McGregor
Industry: Staffing and Recruiting
Title: CEO / CoFounder
Where Are You Based/Your Company Based: Inverness, UK / Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Years In Business: 5.5 Years
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”– Dale Carnegie
Firstly, how are you and your family doing during the pandemic?
Laura: We are blessed to have our health during this challenging time. As is to be expected, there is a lot of heaviness and grief in the Zeitgeist. It’s important to remember that collective weight when times feel strict with quarantine restrictions and the changes we’ve all had to make to the way we live, travel and socialize.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded or joined this company!
Laura: Before starting CommissionCrowd, we had a digital marketing agency. We experienced colossal frustration and expense building our own external commission-only sales team. We didn’t understand how independent reps worked, where to find them or how to manage a remote working relationship with our sales partners. We wasted a fortune advertising on generic job websites, and the agents we did find left us quickly because we didn’t understand how to manage our working relationship effectively. In the end, with much hard work, we got it right and felt we had a lot of experience and value to bring to the market for both companies and commission-only sales agents.
My two co-founders (Alistair Robinson & Ryan Mattock) and I started CommissionCrowd to solve a genuine problem we had in our business. We’ve built a global B2B marketplace that helps companies and freelance sales professionals achieve their mutual goals of finding each other. Our functionality allows Companies and commission-only sales professionals to connect and manage their partnerships, amplifying their success while protecting their autonomy.
One of the things we’re most proud of is how we’ve helped educate so many Companies on successfully building strong working relationships with commission-only sales agents.
What makes your company “THE choice” in your industry? How is your business special?
Laura: We won the ‘Overall Innovation For Sales’ Award at Sales Innovation Expo. The judges understood how our sophisticated search engines help companies and commission-only sales professionals connect and get to trust faster. Our platform revolutionizes the earning potential and lifestyle of sales agents across the globe and provides functionality that allows both parties to have full anatomy.
How has your industry changed in the past five years? What have you seen from inside your company? What changes do you think will happen in the next five years?
Laura: Navigating the world of commission-only sales can be overwhelming for companies and sales agents alike. Statista reports that freelancers will make up 50.9% of the US workforce by 2027 and McKinsey reports that 70-80% of B2B decision-makers prefer remote human interactions. Forward-thinking companies are looking to remote global partnerships to save money and take advantage of a reps’ local knowledge/network and sales reps crave the freelance lifestyle.
We identified early that our platform would be in a great position to help companies adjust to working with remote sales teams. We wanted to stand in solidarity with Companies and Agents during these challenging times we’re facing. We made a public commitment to deliver as much value as possible for those looking to adopt new remote working commission-only sales partnerships. We also set up new Covid relief pricing, which incorporates a monthly, bi-annual and discounted annual membership option and automated the sales process to help companies make a decision quickly.
For entrepreneurial sales professionals, we provide vetted, lucrative sales opportunities and free tools to run their business more profitably and efficiently. For companies, we help save tens of thousands annually in staffing costs by providing access to a global network of independent B2B sales reps and all the tools they need to manage a remote sales team.
We have been lucky to help even more companies and sales agents during these challenging times.
How has the pandemic affected your business? The industry?
Laura: Growth and expansion no longer mean opening new offices and hiring additional employees. Instead, it’s about creating strategic partnerships with the right sales partners and taking advantage of the network effect that comes with it.
The changes in the way companies now conduct business also extends to the types of relationships we have with our external partners and vendors. We see a rise in companies utilizing a remote working, and an independent sales force and similarly we’re also seeing a rising trend in the number of sales agents making the transition from employment to self-employment.
More and more companies are partnering with remote working agents who have exiting networks to tap into and include their products/services in an agent’s wider portfolio. Having extended market reach by working with agents with local knowledge.
Was your company required to make difficult choices? What are the lessons learned?
Laura: As a bootstrapped startup, we are used to making difficult choices and managing a very lean and tight ship. Luckily, we didn’t have to make any staff changes or cut many costs because of this. Our company was recession-proof because we run our business like it’s always in a recession; this is what it means to be a bootstrapped startup. We invest in our people, our technology and our client’s success and always have. So the lesson for us is that even though it’s a challenge to maintain self-sufficiency, we are on the right track. It’s been great to know we have a service that helps companies grow, even in these hard times.
How has your sales team found the transition to remote work? More generally, did you offer sales professionals remote work from home or flexible jobs prior to the pandemic? If you have specific experience working with freelance, commission-only, independent sales reps, manufacturers’ reps, 1099 reps, or commercial agents, please share it here.
Laura: The entire team and I work remotely, so the day-to-day hasn’t felt much different. We try and stay in close contact with friends, family, our sales partners, staff and clients. As someone who’s worked remotely for over ten years, it’s been quite refreshing to see so many friends and family embrace Zoom and other technologies that I’ve been using for a long time.
What remote-working technologies and tools have helped you embrace the “new normal” and improve efficiency and productivity?
Laura: Zoom, Slack, Intercom, Google For Business
What was the last business book you’ve read or podcast you’ve listened to? What did you learn?
“An 8 Week Conservatory-Style Training for Purpose-Driven Founders and Sales Leaders who want to double their sales this year”. I’m sure I’m like many founders who can sometimes get distracted by the noise within the business. So for me, It’s been an enlightening deep dive into sales psychology, nailing our messaging, creating repeatable step-by-step sales processes, and better defining our metrics. If anyone is interested I’ve linked to her waiting list. I believe the next course runs in May. Highly recommend it!
How are you feeling about 2021? Anything else you’d like to share?
Laura: The team and I feel great! We are aligned on our mission to help more businesses accelerate growth with the help of remote b2b commission-only sales partners.
Like all the other skills a business has to master, working with commission-only sales professionals takes dedication and commitment to learning how to be a competent sales partnership recruiter and a sales leader.
It is over five years since we launched CommissionCrowd, and we’ve learnt a lot over that time about what kinds of sales opportunities are most attractive to the sales professionals in our database. We find explaining this eliminates any risk of not finding interested agents within our global platform. To learn if commission-only sales could accelerate the growth in your business, check out the 2 minute b2b quiz here:
Sales Professionals who work on a commission-only sales basis can register free.
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