Smart business leaders are looking to gain an advantage by adopting alternative ways to drive sales.
Not so long ago - on a hot and humid afternoon - I met with a potential client. Over a coffee, we discussed ideas around how he could improve his total sales result. I suggested that he consider farming-out his sales to a third party.
“Impossible!” – He snapped back to me.
“Why?” – I asked.
“Because… Sales has always been in-house.”
“Well, what if I could show you that contracting-out sales could reduce your cost per sale and increase your sales revenue…….. Interested?” I asked.
“ABSOLUTELY interested.” Came back his excited reply.
And that’s the reaction I usually get from most business executives.
So, how does contracting-out sales stack up? Let’s take a look.
1. Results, Results, ResultsYou’re looking for a better outcome, right?
An expert who specialises in sales will have a history of success. The specialist has many years’ experience in different companies and markets. This experience is hard to come by. The sales expert also has a ready-made tool-kit, honed over many years which has driven sales growth previously. The expert sales contractor will have an established network that he can leverage. His network has been carefully cultivated over time.
He will have ample knowledge about business in general; He will have done his research on specific markets. He will tap into lots of data on markets and where they are going.
So… your company can readily use this great wealth of skill and capability.
2. Take the weight off your shouldersSelling can be a hard grind! Internal sales people get disenchanted. Some can end up downright problem employees. You know the ones. They tell you you’re not giving them enough leads, or your prices are too high, or there’s not enough internal support, or customers are not interested in your product.
These guys are just making excuses for a lack of expertise and persistence. Do you really want them representing your company with that mindset? Terminating these guys is almost impossible. It costs you money and it takes time.
A professional sales contractor will have resilience and the tools to push through the inhibiting barriers. And because he’s concentrating solely on your sales, he’s not distracted by office politics or other side issues which is common among employee sales teams.
So take that weight off your shoulders and let the sales contractor take accountability. He will give you support, providing you with expert advice, feedback and a roadmap for the sales assignment. He will work with you to set sales goals and put a specific sales plan in place for success.
There’s an added bonus too. A sales contractor will represent your company and its products with professionalism, pride and passion. Can you be sure your internal sales team will consistently do that for you?
3. The hiring headacheI hear time-and-time again from senior business leaders that the hiring process often fails to bear fruit. I bet this has happened to you! You couldn’t find anyone with the right skills, the candidate you picked didn't accept the role, or worst case scenario; your new team member failed to deliver results.
Is the time and expense of the recruitment process worth the headache for you? You've engaged a recruiter, advertised the role, read the candidates’ CVs, short-listed, interviewed, re-interviewed and then put an offer to the selected candidate….Phew! No wonder you’re fatigued. And what about the work that you’re not getting done while you are busy recruiting?
Engaging a sales contractor is faster, less resource intense and far less expensive. And, in the unlikely event the sales contractor really doesn't work out for you, it’s easier to say ‘good bye’.
4. A Package DealContracting-out sales isn't just about field sales people. A reputable contractor will also be able to put together a full sales strategy.
Sales forecasting, account planning, managing the sales pipeline and sales reporting are also things a sales contractor will offer. This means less sales administration costs for you and better monitoring of sales performance.
Most contractors offer a tender evaluation and response service as part of their armoury. Again, this can be a big cost saving for you.
Tenders have a tight time frame. Many companies don’t manage the tender-response process well. You know the situation. Lots of team members tied up on the bid. There’s a huge amount of concentrated activity, long nights…. even panic, just to ensure a tender is done on time. So, take the pain out of tenders. Let a sales contractor take charge.
Sales contractors can also monitor your competitors effectively. They are independent, so they're often able to pick up competitor activity and trends faster than your ‘employee’ sales team.
So, contracting-out sales can be a total package deal for you.
5. Down to BusinessContracting-out sales generally sees the contractor getting up and running faster than ‘employee’ sales people. The sales contractor gets down to business right away. No need for job orientation or a phasing in period.
Sure, he has to learn about your product and your company, but because he can concentrate fully on that education, he’s likely to be able to hit the ground running before an employee has completed ‘Company History 1.01’
The sales contractor’s single focus is to make sales for you. And that’s exactly what you want. He (and his team) are fully trained professionals, so they can start generating sales fast. You simply get more bang for your buck.
6. Hunting and FarmingWhether you’re looking for hunters or farmers, sales contracting delivers. If you’re launching a new product or selling an established product into a new market, it’s fast and easy with a contractor who will hunt the business.
Likewise, if you’re looking to ‘farm’ established accounts to get higher returns and closer relationships, the sales contractor will work with you to create a long term profitable partnering bond between you and your major clients.
At the end of my discussion with the prospective client, I said.
“Well, now what do you think about contracting out your sales?”
He looked down at his empty coffee cup, then slowly met my gaze and said.
“Buy me another coffee….. and let’s discuss when you can start.”