Establishing an Outside Sales Force
This can be a daunting task for someone wishing to distribute a product. Enough cannot be said about the importance of establishing an outside sales force when it is used as a marketing tool for your product or service. There are a couple of options available to help you on your way though, and maybe a general understanding of how these things can operate will help you on your way. An outside sales force that is managed and operated by you is an exciting and challenging proposition. Qualified individuals for your outside sales force would have to show a proven track record, preferably in your product type or line of service offered and be self starters and motivators. By this I mean able to motivate others in your sales team as well as themselves. These types of "team players" are invaluable as they will keep each other fueled with positive energy. Positive energy can translate into positive action and results.
Finding a way to avoid cold calls is usually the biggest obstacle when trying to establish an outside sales force. In addition to finding sales leads for the sake of moving your product, it is important to give even the most experienced sales person a lead to begin with. This helps them to sniff out more leads and can branch out into a sales network. Having a strategy beyond cold calling and door to door sales is an imperative.
A beginning and ongoing sales training program will help you to establish an outside training force as well. A good sales person does not discount the possibility of gaining more insight and more tools. Looking into a standardized training program and continued training will only benefit the sales team and your business.
Another option is to outsource an outside sales team. There a lots of firms that will take on new clients and new products to help you distribute your product or promote your service. These have advantages and disadvantages over establishing an outside sales force.
The biggest advantages are the ones you will no doubt hear the most about. These firms have established leads and access to a broader list of potential clients than most businesses have starting out. This is, after all what they do. Some of these types of business can also help with your methods of distribution and warehousing. In addition to these services they might have inside contacts or intimate knowledge of some of the larger distributorships which would increase your business volume if a deal can be struck. Also, generally speaking, you would have one point of contact, which might be preferable to you over having several sales managers to deal with or an entire sales team. These are definite advantages.
What are the possible disadvantages? You might feel like you lack control as to where your product is going, how it is being marketed and to whom. In addition to this you ability to strike a deal directly with your sales team might be hampered. Things such as sales incentives and one on one deals with individual sales people would most likely not be within your grasp any longer. Bit this also depends on the outsourced company's policies and business practices.
Whichever direction you feel is best for you and your business will depend on your personal taste and business goals. Either way, looking at the numbers and feeling things out will help you make an informed choice.