This article is brought to you by CommissionCrowd - The world’s leading B2B commission-only sales platform.
2022 is the year companies are pushing harder than ever to grow and expand. Scaling your sales team is one of the most efficient ways of achieving rapid growth; however, hiring in-house sales employees is costly and potentially risky.
In this article, you’ll learn how to connect with top-performing B2B commission-only sales professionals and how to scale your business using a remote working independent sales team.
Working in partnership with self-employed, remote working sales representatives is quickly becoming the new standard for companies looking to expand their presence in existing territories, penetrate new regions, and increase market share.
The Benefits Of Working With Remote Working B2B Sales Representatives In 2022
You may have heard about remote working B2B sales professionals before and the benefits they bring to companies all over the world, but perhaps you’re not sure where to begin.
The first thing we have to understand is why employees are rapidly leaving salaried sales jobs to become self-employed, independent remote working contractors.
Salary vs Self-employment - Why Employees are giving up the safety net of a salary
Quite simply, a company pays a salary to their employees to purchase their full time and dedication to the company they are contracted to work with.
During that period, the salesperson will not represent any other company or sell additional products or services from outside of the entity they are contracted to work for.
While a salary provides somewhat of a safety net, it inherently limits earning potential compared with self-employed sales reps who build diverse portfolios of multiple products and services that can be sold into their networks.
Now, more than ever, experienced sales professionals are opting out of being tied to a single company and instead use their industry experience and network of contacts built over the years to leave employment in favour of branching out and becoming independent or forming sales rep agencies with their peers.
Here are just a few reasons why sales professionals are leaving salaried jobs in favour of becoming self-employed:
- Technology now enables remote working to be more accessible than ever before
- Buyers are becoming increasingly more comfortable conducting high-value business remotely
- Increased earning potential by building a diverse sales portfolio
The Benefits Of Working With Independent, Commission-Based Sales Reps In 2022
One of the most significant advantages of working with independent, commission-based sales representatives is the opportunity to utilize their existing network of connections.
Typically, this ensures a faster path to market for a firm’s goods and services, given that they already have established relationships with potential clients.
Consider a company that manufacturers cleaning products and supplies for the hospitality industry. Connecting with a commission-only sales representative who already sells a non-competing product line into hotels, restaurants, and health clubs across the country can quickly provide your firm access to an entirely new customer base.
In today’s competitive market, independent salespeople represent quality companies whose products or services complement their existing sales portfolio.
This not only assures a win for the firms they represent, but it also benefits the rep by having access to the products and services their clients already need.
There are many reasons that a company should consider outsourcing its sales function to independent sales reps. Here are just a few:
- Taking on an outsourced sales force may be less risky than employing in-house salespeople.
- Partnering with experts with pre-existing connections in your sector help companies expand their market share faster.
- Cash-flow management is easier when you only pay on newly closed business.
- Companies have access to a much larger sales talent pool when geographical limits aren’t in place.
Companies are willing to outsource their back-office operations. So, why not the salesforce? Steven Hamm, Bloomberg Businessweek
Some companies even outsource their entire sales team. We interviewed Bob Alecio from AMCI, which you can read here: How To Work Effectively With Self-Employed Sales Agents
10 Important Facts To Know About Remote Working Sales Reps In 2022
Before connecting with remote working sales reps in 2022, you should consider several critical factors. The following ten points will assist you in better understanding this type of sales agent and provide the information you need to determine if this is the appropriate approach for your firm.
1. Who Are Remote Working Sales Reps?
The majority of independent salespeople are seasoned salespeople who want to be their own boss. The biggest blunder a business can make is to believe that independent sales agents who work on a commission-only basis are desperate for employment and will volunteer their services gratis.
Self-employment is not a new concept. However, anyone who decides to go into business for themselves – whether it’s the local grocery store owner, a lawyer, an accountant, or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company – technically works on a commission-only basis.
This is because there is no one to pay a wage for performing the duties of running their own business, and if there were, we would all be doing it. So, in place of receiving a salary for performing tasks, a company owner gets a share of the profits from the sale of its goods or services.
There is no change in this rule for an independent sales rep who has decided to break away from the constraints of employment and start their own company providing sales as a service.
In actuality, most independent sales agents begin their firm because they have several years of expertise in their area, have amassed a considerable number of contacts, and no longer want or need to work for someone else.
2. What Do Remote Working Salespeople Seek From The Companies They Work With?
We must first consider the minimum deal values that freelance salespeople look for. The majority of remote working, self-employed salespeople, have a mix of low, medium and high deal value products and services in their portfolios.
At a bare minimum, they expect to sell at least $7000 per sale or at least products and services that equate to a monthly recurring value of $700pm. That being said, potential commission rewards are not the only aspects independent sales reps consider essential when searching for new companies to represent.
Although very important, potential commission earnings only play a part among a multitude of criteria that reps consider before agreeing to form a working partnership with a company.
We surveyed CommissionCrowd’s remote working sales professionals and asked them what the most important factors they consider before moving forward with a company.
Ranked in order of importance, here are what over 7000 remote working sales experts told us are most important to them:
- Honesty & Integrity
- Management Attitude
- Potential Earnings
- Attitude Towards Self-Employed Sales Reps
- Company Marketing Efforts & Samples Provided
- Payment Terms
- Customer Service
Without being able to tick all of these factors, you’ll more than likely find that salespeople will choose to work with another company over yours.
3. Remote Working (independent) Sales Reps Are Not Company Employees
The distinction between in-house employees and independent sales contractors is a distinction that must be made. Remote working Salespeople are not sales employees and don’t expect to be treated like one. Your company makes up a part of their broader sales portfolio, so you can’t explicitly dictate how they operate.
That isn’t to suggest that you shouldn’t have a structured working arrangement and legal contract to safeguard both parties. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
Of course, any remote working sales rep will expect to have a legally binding contractual agreement in place before starting work. But, by rule of thumb, their time is their own, their leads are theirs to nurture, and their clients are theirs to build a personal relationship with.
In addition, we’re frequently asked whether a firm should compensate an agent for repeat orders if the customer goes directly to the company instead of through them.
Simply put, your remote working sales partners should always be compensated for any repeat purchases that result from their sales efforts. The quickest way to destroy your reputation among other reps and lose the clients they bring to you is by being avaricious and cheating them of their earned commissions.
We recently interviewed an anonymous commission-only sales rep who was let go by a company because he brought in too much business for them! You can read that eye-opening article here: The Independent Sales Rep Fired For Being Too Successful
4. Think About The Sales Cycle Of Your Products/Services
When your commission-only sales staff begins to develop, it’s a thrilling time, yet being honest and upfront about the sales cycle of your products or services when discussing your opportunity is critical.
You might be tempted to tell your sales partners that the sales cycle of your company’s products and services is shorter than they are. However, this is a big mistake and here is why:
The number of contacts a self-employed sales agent may or may not have varies widely. A sales individual starting with self-employment may need to work with firms whose products or services have a shorter sales cycle to establish consistent earnings early on.
Being misleading about the length of time it takes on average to close a new sale jeopardizes your relationship with that individual and future agents and is a mistake many companies make. In addition, it may even lead to your company being misrepresented by agents who try to close business too quickly or, in fact, neglect the lead after a while if the transaction takes too long to complete.
That being said, more experienced remote working sales reps that are already well established and have recurring commissions will be on the lookout for more extended sales cycle opportunities that yield high commissions at the close of the sale.
5. Is Your Company Ready To Work With B2B Remote Sales Reps in 2022?
As discussed earlier, independent, remote working sales reps are not cheap labour and are in no way expected to take over the burden of expanding your firm alone.
Instead, they are attracted to companies with products and services proven in the Marketplace and generally already have product-market fit. In saying that, sales professionals won’t be averse to working with up-and-coming startup companies if they feel the fantastic potential.
At the very least, you must be able to demonstrate that your company invests in marketing, product research and development, customer service and other activities that set you aside from the competition.
6. You Need To Instill Confidence In Your Remote Working Sales Partners & Their Clients
Potential customers will want to know about the companies they are looking to buy from. Not only this, but salespeople want to know that their clients can be taken care of and their needs met by the companies they partner with.
Is your company’s website aesthetically pleasing and functional? Do you have effective customer service procedures in place? In addition, do you have case studies and client testimonials to show for it?
Tip: Something as little as an out-of-date copyright notice at the bottom of your company’s website can put off sales agents and prospective customers.
7. Proper Training & Support Is Essential
You need to structure your training so that your agents can learn about your company’s products and services quickly. This will help them get started selling fast.
Experienced sales professionals will also need to learn about your company and product lines, so don’t skimp on agent onboarding.
CommissionCrowd gives you everything you need to find freelance salespeople and easily maintain your remote working relationship. In addition, you’ll be able to create quick training tasks and give access to essential marketing materials and other documentation.
8. It’s Vital To Pay Sales Commissions On Time
To keep your new remote working sales team happy, make sure you pay their sales commission on time, every time. Failure to do so can quickly lead to the loss of your reps and your company developing a bad reputation with other sales reps.
Likewise, if the sale has been finalized and your company has received the funds from the client, make sure you pay your representatives on time, every time.
Calculating commission rates isn’t rocket science or set in stone. Ultimately it comes down to offering a competitve rate and being as generous as you can be. There will always be a negotiation with your new sales partners before work commences.
9. Do Not Micro-Manage Your Remote Working Sales Partners
Remembering that remote working salespeople are self-employed and autonomous, it’s essential to refrain from micro-managing them. Your company makes up a portion of their sales portfolio, and they dedicate time to each sales opportunity where relevant in their working day.
That being said, if you pass over a lead generated by the company, it’s reasonable to know that it’s appropriately worked and what stage the prospect is at in the pipeline.
10. Remember You Are Competing Against Other Companies For The Attention Of Top Sales People
A statement that rings true is that you should treat your sales reps as partners and be willing to pay them a good level of commission on closed business. Remember, they aren’t paid a salary, and it costs them time and money to nurture your company’s prospective clients.
In addition, always pay a residual (recurring) commission if the clients place a repeat order or pay monthly. You are up against many other companies in your industry who are all competing for the attention of top sales talent.
Making your sales opportunity as attractive as possible is of the utmost importance. Setting your commission level may seem complex, but in reality, it boils down to being competitive and offering as high a percentage as possible. Speak openly and honestly with your potential reps and negotiate and agree on a fair deal before you start working together.
Working with remote freelance salespeople will help you grow your business cost-effectively and efficiently in 2022 . Your new sales partners will also assist you in reaching new markets that your employees might find difficult to access.
Remember that even though you are not paying them a salary, these sales agents expect to be treated fairly and will only deal with firms that meet their exacting qualifications.
We hope these 10 points have helped you to better think about how to craft your opportunity on CommissionCrowd, which in turn will lead to a much higher rate of successful connections with reps in your industry.