The economy is creeping along. Revenue is down, the pressure is on to reduce overhead and the CFO is looking at the way you sell. You can choose from a variety of job candidates: full time staff, freelancers, independent contractors, temps and consultants. Now the big question, do you continue with a full time sales staff or outsource for sales agents?
Full Time Sales
Control. That’s what you get with a full time employee. You recruit, train and manage the staff. You can supervise their work environment, hours and production.
Unfortunately control comes with a hefty price tag. Recruiting and training is a significant investment. Managing a full time team also means the expense of benefits and HR management. It may be costly to hold on to exceptional talent, and legalities may make it impossible to dump the underachiever.
Sounds expensive and challenging to manage your own staff, so why do it? A seasoned full-timer is deeply rooted with the company. Long-term relationships with customers are developed and revenue is strong and steady. Company employees know your value story and can easily solve problems. A full time employee is vested with your organization, and is loyal to the cause.
Sales outsourcing is the strategy of using an outside agency to staff your sales department. You have an abundance of talent to choose from without the typical recruiting time and expense. With a contracted sales staff, significant overhead is transferred outside of the company and you have the option of a short-term commitment when the long term is uncertain. Outsourcing allows companies to cut back spending without cutting back on productivity. Love your company but hate selling? Lack sales skills? Are you a start-up or entering a new market? Free up time to focus on mission-critical core business functions while your experienced sales agents increase revenue.
Downside? Well, sales agents work for themselves or an agency. Since sales professionals tend to concentrate on those sales with the highest commission structure, the sales agent may choose to invest more time to the client with higher compensation, not your business. It’s much easier to ensure that your own sales team is trained properly, consistently pursuing every opportunity and closing deals, than it is with an outsourced firm. In order to be successful, resources are needed to find the right outsourcing vendor and you’ll need to manage expectations around results. If not administered properly, contracting your sales department could end up costing more than what you’d spend on an in-house team.
Which Strategy is Right
The decision of hiring vs outsourcing sales really depends on your sales strategy, goals, what your customers want and ultimately, the availability of the right sales resources. Either way, make the choice carefully as it will have an enormous impact on your results.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
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