Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What Are The Advantages Of Developing A Sales Force For Your Business?

Develop your own sales force.
This post is a follow up on the conversation we started last week about companies having independent sales representatives versus full time sales people, which was entitled “Why You Shouldn’t Outsource Sales When Starting Your Business”, and as usual, you’ll find a link to it at the end of this post.

I’m not focusing this conversation on whether one option is better than the other as they both are great, or if independent sales people are more professional or efficient than full time, paid sales employees, or vice versa. It’s truly not about that.

It's just that there is a “best” time for everything, like most things in life.

And it is for this reason that, today, I want to share with you the reasons why I believe building an internal sales team for your business is the right thing to do when starting up or when your business is starting to grow, even if that team is only formed by two people (always two, no less than that please. We’ll come back to that later on this blog)

Among the reasons I consider most important, I would mention the following:

  • Having an internal sales team gives you the opportunity to create and develop a substantial database: If you have an internal sales force, through them your company will be constantly in search of new markets and customers, managing incoming orders and doing the appropriate follow up on each one, and all information coming in and going out will be signed by your company and delivered by people who identify themselves as part of your business.
  • It allows you to concentrate on selling not only as a transaction but also as an opportunity to develop brand awareness and to provide high quality customer service.
  • An internal sales team will be dedicated full time to representing your company and your products, and assisting you in developing your product line continuously. They are closely involved with your company, with its growth and share the same long, medium and short term goals.
  • Customer related incidences can be resolved in real time, without unnecessary delay and in a manner that doesn’t affect relationships, without intermediaries.
  • Full time sales people will be strong brand ambassadors, with a deep and detailed knowledge of your business operation, product features and all the details your customers need and want to know.
  • An internal sales force, properly managed, receives ongoing training not only about product, but also sales techniques and other administrative tasks, allowing you to effectively detect and correct any errors that could be happening in your sales presentation.
  • Your sales team is the link connecting your company with the real world and its customers. They become the ears, mouth and eyes of your company, and are the best source of really important information about what your customers need and expect from your company and product.

And finally, when you hire independent sales people it indirectly means you waive the right to keep under control the way your products are sold and, therefore, the image that is built around your product and company throughout the sales process.

Maybe you wouldn’t like to know that the last contract your company signed through an independent representative, was only possible after your customer received an excessive, even abusive, pressure to sign from your "representative".

Keep in mind your customers can always think that if you chose them as your company’s representatives, you must agree with the things they do to close the deal, aren’t they right?

When should you outsource sales?

Personally, I think the right time is when your company has an internal sales force already in place and working, and you simply want to further develop your business or explore new opportunities.

External sales agents, or independent commission only representatives are great for increasing the reach of the work you already do with your own internal sales force, to open markets you can’t access directly or do it at reduced costs, or for specific trade opportunities.

You should use them as an alternative to expand the customer base you already have under control with your internal sales force, so that any failure of the external, independent sales structure, only has minimal impact on the overall operation of your business.

As we mentioned last week, our conversation is not about whether external or independent vendors are good or bad for your business, but to recommend you to always use them as an extension, and not a replacement, of your internal sales force.

An article you want to might want to read about this topic:
Do not Outsource Your Sales. Here's Why

Related articles in this blog:
Why You Shouldn’t Outsource Sales When Starting Your Business

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