Sales agent search: how and why?
Who’s the sale agent and what does he or she do?
The search for commercial agents aims to select a professional with skills that can work in contact with companies from which it receives exclusive or multiple mandates to sell products or services.
The commercial agent is a VAT registered entrepreneur who receives a mandate from one or more companies to represent them in promoting and selling a range of products or services.
The commercial agent is a self-employed worker with no time constraints, and bases his or her productive effectiveness on competence and the ability to establish personal relationships based on collaboration and trust between the parties.
The work of the commercial agent is not subject to subordinate bargaining, in fact companies rely on this professional profile because of the versatility of the figure.
The commercial agent regulates himself or herself and organizes himself or ferself, keeping in mind the interests of the mandated company and the logic of turnover, the seller earns on the basis of a reimbursement of expenses (not always applicable) and the recognized percentages on sales. The commercial agent has in his or her mission the interest to produce and generate turnover, but with the utmost respect for the brand represented, transparency and fairness of relationships.
Agent research objectives
The search for sales agents aims to identify profiles to which companies can give a multiple mandate with multiple products or an assignment dedicated to a single sector. The activity of the sales agent can be directed to other companies, to wholesale, but also to retail or sale to private individuals.
The contract linking the agent with a company can be of the single or multiple agent type. In the first case the agents promote only one company. Multi-firm agents fully carry out their task as autonomous commercial entrepreneurs, being able to represent several companies and dedicating themselves to sales and promotion only, and to deal with them in a relationship linked to the commercial function.
Why the search for agents?
The answer is trivial: all companies that need to offer the best products or services with a targeted action to possible buyers do so. The commercial network, structured with commercial agents rooted in the territory, can generate a considerable increase in sales. A commercial organization structured with valid professionals in the sector optimizes, makes effective and economic the relationship between the resources employed and the results obtained.
Companies that look for agents do so in order to obtain advantages in the commercial network, without standardized economic commitments. Companies that have an extensive network of commercial agents can achieve an excellent presentation of the product or service sold, the brand in this way is present in all territorial markets.
For these reasons many companies are always looking for commercial agents. The commercial agent is the strategic engine to build a sales network that implements the total turnover of its business.
Search for sales agents and creation of a sales network
To create an effective sales network you need to start by searching for sales agents, to select skilled and motivated salespeople. It is not a simple and short process, but it is the result of long, consolidated and structured work over time and years, made of relationships based on trust and correct communication between the parties.
In order to produce a significant increase in sales, which is the main purpose of the sales network, it is assumed that an effective sales model and technique common to all members of the organization will be put in place.
The network is based on a defined chain of command and must be organised with a clear management basis. Qualified sellers can only work best and generate profits for the company if the chain is functional and without hesitation. In fact a sales network can work perfectly and give optimal results for sales, only if it is organized correctly and if it rests on a solid management base.
Training of sales agents
Generating an effective sales network is the synergistic fruit of several components.
Mere research is not enough to automatically increase sales and turnover, several synergistic and coordinated actions are needed, including the training of sales staff and management effectiveness.
An effective and productive sales network requires a number of agents who are properly trained and have consolidated experience. Training is often disregarded within structured sales organizations, this “denialist” attitude starts from a cultural background that sees companies willing to reduce costs wrongly considered useless.
On the other hand, even the most experienced commercial agents have little appetite for lifelong and continuous learning.
Training is very often understood as a cost of abatement and the direct correlation with the company’s core business is not understood. A training investment in human resources can have positive economic effects for the company.
This virtuous process also aims at the qualification of the sales network, which will be motivated and increasingly productive.
Some rules to create a sales network
In order to implement an effective sales network, the following processes must be regulated:
(a) study of salary levels and competition;
(b) cost planning;
(c) sales management (training of sales staff, sales policies and marketing policies).
Study of salary levels and competition
Remuneration is one of the motivational elements with which a commercial agent chooses to respond to a job offer. The company that needs to expand its sales network, in some cases, needs to verify what the market offers in terms of remuneration, and what kind of offer could push a qualified commercial agent to accept a collaboration mandate.
On the web there are a lot of searches of sales agents in place every day, many remain unsuccessful, valid sellers with experience available on the market are inferior to the offer and related selections.
The search for commercial agents is bound to remain ineffective, or would give poor results, if the economic offer was not interesting for an experienced seller. Knowing what demand wants is a good way to modulate a successful agent search. Knowing what the pay levels of competitors are, is also useful to quantify the investments to be allocated to the structuring of an effective sales network.
The network does not feed itself economically, but must be encouraged with attractive benefits and incentives that motivate and bring the best professionals closer to the proposal submitted to the market.
Agent research also starts with cost planning
The best sellers are always looking for the best structured companies, able to support their commitment with economic rewards of various kinds. Companies in the search for sales agents stimulate the interest of sellers with economic offers that include numerous formulas, ranging from percentage commissions, coverage of all expenses, the company’s car equipment, or a secure and loyal customer package and a whole range of other rewards.
The search for commercial agents is a true Far West and sees the proliferation of many offers to encourage membership of the network of the best commercial sellers on the market.
We can say that the less experienced or novice seller is more willing to take risks and experiment with compensation solutions, but in the abstract it would give less guarantees on short and medium term results. The experienced seller looks for immediate guarantees and probably gives results in the short term, but also has less willingness to innovate and self-forming.
Investing in new profiles is always a risk, but it is a more permeable profile to take in new ideas, experiment and follow training courses.
Choosing a poorly structured profile in a search for commercial agents could become a long term bet, but not all companies can wait and decline their turnover expectations over a long period of time. Many companies do not even have the structure to invest in young people and to train agents.
Investing in training is always an element of success. Sales agents in a sales network cannot use specific car sales strategies or the result of consolidated but empirical experience.
Commercial networks, designed with a capillary structure of duly trained agents, able to use common, effective and functional sales strategies and systems, are advantaged.
A company that invests in the sales network, in training and marketing strategies, obtains sure results in the effective structuring of sales processes.
A company must have all these aspects clear in order to motivate sellers.
The search and selection of commercial agents
The selection of sales agents is the result of targeted recruitment campaigns. We will see what are the techniques for the search of the best professional profiles, actions that must be preceded by valid preparatory steps that we have illustrated in summary in the article.
The databases of commercial agents facilitate the task in the search because they present the profiles of agents divided by sector and market of operation. The databases also offer details on the experience and turnover obtained in previous services and collaborations with similar companies.
In order to carry out a search for commercial agents, it is necessary to have a clear idea of the profile to be searched for, perhaps even with possible and minimal variations. It is not always easy to find exactly which profile you have found on the market. The identification and definition of the profile is the fundamental phase in the search, from there starts the possible success of the action.
The professional profile of the agent once defined is functional for the research carried out by the company on its own. Even more so if you rely on an intermediary company operating in the human resources sector, in this case the information must be made available immediately to make the activity effective.
Only then can an advantageous search strategy calibrated to the identified profile, in this case the commercial agent, be put in place. The research strategy is not unambiguous, it may involve combined and synergetic actions using multiple levels of communication and tools, both traditional and also using information and communication technologies.
Generally, the process of searching and selecting commercial agents consists of the following steps:
(a) collection of applications from commercial agents;
(b) analysis of applications;
(c) selection interviews.
Collection of applications from commercial agents
To manage this phase we use databases of commercial agents, publication of job offers and non-traditional tools such as search engines, which have long since launched content to promote targeted advertising campaigns, with which you can define the target audience, the message does not come to everyone, but selectively based on the interests of users.
Analysis of applications
This work of managing and selecting applications is not a service available and organized in some companies, also because it requires specialized training that finds a poor place in other periods of the production, commercial and management cycle.
In our case, in order to analyse the applications received, we use cutting-edge recruitment tools, where the best profiles are selected and sent to an online form with specific questions, with which the professional skills that the candidate possesses can be verified in relation to the job offer requested and further skimming. With these technological tools you can evaluate at the same time and quickly thousands of applications that would normally require a huge and long job.
The interview for the agent search
Direct in-presence contact through an interview is the definitive aspect that makes the difference in the decision and the choice of the commercial agent who can best fill the role.
At this step it is necessary that a sufficient number of applications arrive to allow the recruiter to perform his job competency examiner role in the best possible way.
The work carried out should give rise to a document with which the seller is presented, together with the curriculum vitae, to the manager of the company that is looking for agents.
Searching for foreign trade agents
Opening an office abroad requires substantial investment as well as continuous presence at international trade fairs. It is possible to overcome these necessary and huge investments in order to internationalize a company, with the search for commercial agents and partners working abroad or playing the role of distributors abroad.
Small and medium enterprises can try to be present on international markets by searching for commercial agents and profiles working abroad. In this way it is possible to place services or products on the best reference markets worldwide.
We realize that the subject is a rather broad one and certainly a single article can hardly be exhaustive and answer all the perplexities or curiosities. For this reason we remain available for any request for clarification.