The 5 point plan you need to determine if Independent, self-employed sales professionals will be interested in working with your company
"SoPro listed our business profile on the CommissionCrowd platform and within three weeks we contracted with two high calibre commission-only sales professionals, closing the first resultant deal in week 6. We have seen three further applicants and expect 5-10 deals closed under CommissionCrowd agents this quarter, contributing significantly to our expansion. Overall, an exceptional experience and I recommend CommissionCrowd without hesitation to any business looking to connect with competent, independent sales professionals on an immediate basis". - Ryan Welmans, CEO SoPro
A Quick Introduction:
So you've decided that it's time to ramp up sales, dominate the market or even expand your operations and enter new territories overseas. You're now starting to explore the idea of utilising an outside salesforce but perhaps you're not quite sure how to get started or even if you have a sales opportunity that's potentially attractive to self-employed (commission-only) sales reps.
Fear not, you're in exactly the right place! The number one mistake that many companies make is diving straight in and investing in a recruitment strategy without understanding the basics first.
Many recruitment companies and websites are quite happy to take your money, allow you to post your sales opportunity and hope for the best. How do we know? We'll it happened to us too.
Many years back we lost a fortune advertising on generic job sites when we were looking to build an outsourced sales team for our own business.
That's why CommissionCrowd is different. Our mission is simple… To unite a highly fragmented and largely neglected section of the global sales industry.
The following 5 point plan will give you the ability to tell whether or not you have a sales opportunity that's going to be attractive to self-employed, commission-only sales agents.
How it works:
Read the following points and select the answer that applies best to your company. You'll see a score underneath each answer that applies to you. Add up your final score at the end and match it to our feedback to determine whether or not it's the right time to start building an outsourced sales team for your business
Q1. Is your company established or are you a startup?
Yes, our company is established, we have happy and solid client base and our products/services sell well in the marketplace
Excellent! Independent sales agents love to work with companies that have a proven track record of success. Being able to supply customer testimonials, case studies and proof of market will also inspire confidence in your new sales partners.
if you answered yes
No, we are a startup and need sales agents to help take us to market
While independent sales professionals are willing to explore partnership opportunities with startups, you'll need to be able to demonstrate and prove that a solid market for your products or services exist. You'll also need to have strong USP's and be able to demonstrate what makes your company stand out from the competition.
Having absolutely no presence or customer awareness in the Market can be seen as a disadvantage over working with companies who already have a presence and customer base. Essentially it increases the effort to reward risk for the sales agent.
This is true for a number of reasons:
● They won't be able to provide testimonials or case studies
● They will be competing with other companies who spend on Marketing and Advertising and have consumer awareness
● They will be unsure of the potential market size or demand for your products/services
● Startups often fail
● They may be unsure whether your company will be able to fulfil orders and support the their clients
Here are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of attracting sales agents to work with you as a startup:
● Have an Advertising and Marketing strategy in-place and let the sales agent know you'll assist them by focusing a proportion of your spend within their territory. You'll find that sales agents are often very happy to help with Advertising and Marketing planning, strategy and implementation so this can work to your advantage also.
● Demonstrate your capability to fulfil orders and be open and honest about your capacity
● Demonstrate a solid understanding of your Market, Demographics and demand for products/services like yours.
● Above all else, you must demonstrate to the sales agent that they aren't going to run your business for you and that the success or failure of your company doesn't solely rely on their ability to bring in business.
if you're a start-up without funding, strategy or go to market plans
if you're a start-up with all of these things in place already
Q2. Can You Achieve The Minimum Deal Values That Sales Agents Require?
Yes, our clients typically place orders whereby the value of the sale exceeds £5000 (or equivalent currency) per sale or alternatively will place repeat orders worth a minimum of £500 per month on a subscription or recurring basis
Great! We surveyed a large number of sales representatives on our database and asked them what the absolute minimum deal value a company must be able to achieve when selling their products or services. You meet those requirements.
if you meet this criteria
No, our average sale values fall below either £5000 (or equivalent currency per sale or £500 per month on a subscription or recurring basis
Please note: The minimum sale value is not always your per-unit price. For example: If your company sells widgets at $0.30 per piece however, your clients typically place orders valued at $5000+ or re-orders of at least $500 on a regular basis then you do meet the minimum requirements stipulated by sales reps.
Minimum deal values are vitally important to self-employed sales agents who work on a commission-only basis and incur their own expenses while prospecting for business and developing their territory.
Ask yourself this question.
Would you spend time and money calling or travelling to meet prospects when the sale could also potentially take some time to close, only to be rewarded with an insignificantly small commission remuneration at the end?
if you don't meet the minimum at all.
Q3. Do You Understand How Self-Employed Salespeople Operate?
No, we're looking for free or cheap labour until we can afford an in-house salesperson or team
The single biggest mistake a company can make is failing to understand who self-employed sales professionals are, how they operate, why they chose to become self-employed and ultimately the benefits they can bring to your company above and beyond those of in-house employees.
Independent Sales Agents are your strategic partners
One of the most important benefits of working with independent strategic sales partners aside from the up front savings you'll make when compared to hiring, training and paying a regular wage to employees, is the fact that independent reps typically have networks of contacts they are already doing business with on a daily basis. This gives you a potentially very quick route to market for your products or services.
Reps can also work remotely and give you a presence in areas you're trying to establish a presence in.
They build portfolios
Freelance sales reps build portfolios of products and services that compliment each other and fit with the needs of their clients. Very rarely will your company be the only one that a rep focuses on however, by ensuring that your products or services make up a part of their portfolio, your company will be presented to multiple clients and sold up/cross sold more frequently as multiple opportunities for a sale arise.
Imagine your company manufactures cleaning products for the automotive industry, and you connect with a sales agent that already supplies a non-competing product line into car dealerships and gas stations across the country, you can see how this would give your company instant access to a whole new customer base very quickly.
They Expect To Be Paid Recurring Commission For The Life Of The Client
By rule of thumb, independent sales reps who have invested time, money and potentially even introduced you to one of their existing contacts in order to bring your company new business, will expect to be paid a recurring commission for the life of the client. That applies to repeat orders placed, subscription based sales or up-selling opportunities.
if you're looking for temporary, free or cheap labour
Yes, we understand the benefits of working with independent strategic sales partners and are either looking to run an external sales team alongside our in-house sales team or operate solely using independent strategic sales partners
Fantastic! You understand that self-employed sales reps should be treated as strategic partners and are not your employees. Your products or services will make up a part of their portfolio and they can potentially open doors much quicker utilising their existing networks than employees can. By operating on a commission-only basis, you'll also save money upfront on the costs associated when direct hiring, training and paying a regular wage to employees
if you're looking for long-term strategic sales partnerships
Q4. Do you sell Business to Business (B2B) or Direct to the consumer (B2C)?
Independent reps typically prefer to sell products or services to other businesses (B2B)
The reasons being:
A). The rewards are much higher when selling into companies who have greater buying power and higher budgets
B). Selling direct to the consumer is much harder, slower i.e. selling small products or services individually and yielding significantly smaller sales values
C). The scope for regular repeat business up or cross-selling is minimal
Note: The majority of CommissionCrowd's database is made up of B2B sales opportunities for the reasons mentioned above. If you're looking to sell direct to consumers then more often than not an affiliate marketing strategy or paid ads are a better channel solution.
if you're looking to sell B2B
if you're looking to sell B2C only
Q5. The Length Of Your Sales Cycle
Many agents like to build a diversified portfolio. The modern self-employed sales representative is looking for a mix of short term "bread and butter" lines as well as potentially some mid/long term deals with slightly longer sales cycles but yield greater rewards when the deal closes.
If your products or services are extremely complex and have a very long sales cycle you may not attract as many agents to your opportunity initially. This isn't always a bad thing, as it will likely mean that the agents you do attract will be very well connected in your industry and be able to dedicate the time needed to nurture a relationship with the prospect for a longer period of time while still being able to sustain their existing business.
if your sales cycle is typically less than 3 months
if your sales cycle is 4 months or more
Your score is :
How did you do?*
You're ready to build a successful commission-only sales team! Let's get started, you have exactly the kind of sales opportunity our agents are interested in. Get Started Here
30 - 40 points
Great, you've likely got what it takes however, you may need a little guidance and advice first. It might be that you're looking for a certain type of agent who isn't as risk averse as others. Or someone with a very niche or specific market. Schedule a quick call with one of our consultants
Under 30 points
It's very likely not the right time to work with self-employed sales agents.
*If you scored 0 points on the 'minimum deal value' question it's likely that you won't be successful with independent sales reps regardless of your overall score.
Why Are We Selective About The Companies We Allow To Use CommissionCrowd?
We're very selective about the companies we allow to use our service for one simple reason:
The higher the quality of the sales opportunities we put infront of sales professionals means we attract and retain the highest quality independent sales professionals... Period.
By all means feel free to jump in and use sites like Gumtree, Craigslist or any of the numerous generic job websites out there that are happy to have you on board as long as you're willing to pay however, we're on a very different mission here.
The process of joining CommissionCrowd works like this:
Step 1: Get started by filling out your sales opportunity and submitting for our review once you reach at least 70% completeness.
Step 2: One of our trained consultants will request to speak with you over the phone to discuss your sales opportunity in further detail
Step 3: We make a decision whether or not to approve you for an account based on the initial information provided
Step 4: You'll be informed whether or not your application has been successful
Step 5: If approved, our consultants will carry out a full review of your sales opportunity and work with you to enhance your sales offering, this sometimes includes a strategy session if extra work is needed.
Step 6: Once we're happy with the opportunity we'll give you the go ahead to pay to activate your membership. Once payment is received you have full access to CommissionCrowd, our network of experienced independent sales reps and everything you need to manage your new found strategic sales partnerships globally.