Supplementary Sales Force: Everything You Need to Know
Supplementary sales force has become a key element for many companies looking to strengthen their sales team in a flexible and efficient manner. Whether it’s to meet increased seasonal demand, support a specific product launch, or simply optimize resources, this approach offers numerous advantages. We explain everything about this in detail in this article.
- What is a Supplementary Sales Force?
- How to Establish an Effective Supplementary Sales Force?
- Best Practices to Optimize the Performance of a Supplementary Sales Force
- Advantages and Disadvantages of a Supplementary Sales Force
What is a Supplementary Sales Force?
A supplementary sales force is an approach in which a company engages external sales agents to promote and sell its products or services. These sales agents, also known as external sales representatives, work independently from the company and are typically hired on a contractual or occasional basis.The agents may be responsible for prospecting new clients, presenting the company’s offerings, negotiating sales terms, and closing transactions. Their main goal is to generate sales and increase the company’s revenue.
It’s worth noting that a supplementary sales force can be used by different companies regardless of their industry. Whether it’s small businesses looking to expand their reach or large corporations aiming to complement their internal sales team, utilizing a supplementary sales force can be an effective strategy to achieve sales objectives.
Roles and Functions
The supplementary sales force offers various functions for your company:
- Coverage Expansion: The supplementary sales force helps expand the geographical coverage of your company by targeting new markets and reaching potential customers in regions where your internal sales team is not present.
- Increased Sales: It employs effective sales techniques to convince prospects to purchase your products or services, resulting in increased revenue for your company.
- Prospecting: It actively seeks out new potential customers. It employs effective prospecting methods such as lead generation, identifying qualified customers, and setting appointments. As a result, the customer portfolio grows.
- Customer Relationship Development: It strives to understand customers’ needs and requirements, advise them on products or services that fit their needs, and maintain regular communication to foster loyalty.
- Data Collection and Feedback: By directly interacting with customers, it gathers valuable information about the market, trends, consumer behaviors, as well as feedback on your company’s products or services. This data can be used to enhance your sales strategies and make informed decisions.
- Training and Support: The supplementary sales force can also play a role in training your internal sales team. It shares its expertise, successful sales techniques, and can provide ongoing support to enhance the skills of your salespeople.
- Flexibility and Adaptability: It can be mobilized for specific tasks, product launches, promotional campaigns, or to address increased demand during peak periods.
- Reporting and Analysis: It enables the provision of detailed reports on sales performance, campaign outcomes, and other relevant metrics. These data can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of sales strategies and optimize overall performance of your company.
Setting Up an Effective Supplementary Sales Force
Assessment of Needs and Objectives
Assessing the needs and objectives to establish an effective supplementary sales force is a necessary and inevitable process for business leaders looking to optimize their sales activities. Here are some key steps to follow:
Start by carefully examining your current business situation. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your existing sales team, evaluate your current performance, and pinpoint areas where a supplementary sales force could add value.
Establish clear and measurable objectives for your supplementary sales force. This could include increasing sales, expanding into new markets, improving customer relations, etc. Ensure that these objectives are aligned with your overall strategy.
Determine the resources needed to set up an effective supplementary sales force. This may include additional budgets for recruitment, training, sales tools, marketing materials, etc.
Define the skills and profiles sought for members of your supplementary sales force. Take into account the specific characteristics of your target market, your product or service, and identify key required skills such as industry knowledge, the ability to close sales, managing the sales cycle, etc.
Conduct rigorous recruitment processes to find candidates best suited to your needs. Use appropriate recruitment channels, such as specialized online platforms, professional networks, or engage specialized recruitment agencies.
Once you have assembled your supplementary sales force, ensure to provide them with comprehensive and ongoing training. Develop their sales skills, product or service knowledge, as well as their understanding of the market and competition.
Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the results of your supplementary sales force. Regularly monitor their performance, provide constructive feedback, and make adjustments if necessary.
Training and mentoring for supplementary sales force members
Once you’ve identified the needs, you can design a tailored training program. Make sure to cover key skills such as prospecting, negotiation, handling objections, product knowledge, etc. The program can be structured into modules or separate training sessions.
Choose experienced and competent trainers to deliver the training. Ideally, opt for sales industry professionals who possess in-depth knowledge of sales techniques, communication, and motivation.
Use a combination of learning methods to maintain learner engagement. This can include interactive presentations, role-playing, case studies, simulations, videos, and individual coaching sessions.
During training, make sure to track the progress of learners and provide constructive feedback. Use regular assessments to measure acquired knowledge and skills, and to identify areas that need further attention.
After the initial training, ensure the establishment of a continuous mentoring system for the members of the supplementary sales force. This may include regular coaching sessions, team meetings, knowledge-sharing, and performance tracking tools.
Sales is an ever-evolving field, so it’s essential to offer continuous training opportunities to your supplementary sales force members. This can take the form of updates on new sales techniques, access to online resources, or additional training to develop specific skills.
Best Practices to Optimize Supplementary Sales Force Performance
Clear and Realistic Goal Setting:
Defining clear and realistic goals for the supplementary sales force is essential. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). This allows team members to understand what is expected of them and to focus on achieving results.
Effective Communication and Coordination:
Clear and regular communication is vital to optimize the performance of the supplementary sales force. Ensure that team members receive all necessary information about products, services, promotions, and sales objectives. Also, encourage two-way communication by listening to team members’ feedback and concerns. Regarding coordination, ensure that the supplementary sales force works in synergy with other departments of the company, such as marketing and customer service. Effective coordination eliminates obstacles and optimizes sales opportunities.
Motivation and Rewards:
Motivation plays a crucial role in optimizing the performance of the supplementary sales force. Recognizing individual and collective achievements of the supplementary sales team members can be highly motivating. This can take the form of financial rewards, bonuses, incentives, public recognition, or loyalty programs. Offer opportunities for professional development and continuous training to show team members that you care about their growth and success. This can include additional training sessions, webinars, workshops, or conferences. Create a positive and encouraging work environment. Encourage collaboration, creativity, and calculated risk-taking. Also, promote a work-life balance to prevent burnout. Provide regular constructive feedback to supplementary sales force members. This allows them to identify their strengths and areas for improvement and take steps to optimize their performance.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Supplementary Sales Force
Advantages of Supplementary Sales Force
- Flexibility: You can adjust the team’s size based on your company’s needs, whether to meet increased seasonal demand or to support a specific product launch. This allows you to efficiently manage resources and reduce fixed costs.
- Specialized Expertise: A supplementary sales force provides the opportunity to benefit from specialized expertise of sales professionals. These individuals are often trained and experienced in their field, allowing you to leverage their specific skills to achieve sales goals more quickly.
- Cost Savings: Engaging a supplementary sales force can be more cost-effective than hiring full-time salespeople. You can save on costs associated with hiring, benefits, paid leaves, and ongoing training. Additionally, you can reduce management costs by outsourcing human resource management responsibilities to the supplementary sales force company.
- Scalability: The supplementary sales force offers significant scalability. You can quickly increase or decrease the team’s size based on your company’s changing needs, allowing you to adapt rapidly to market fluctuations.
Disadvantages of Supplementary Sales Force
- Lack of Engagement: Members of the supplementary sales force may not be as committed and dedicated to your company as full-time employees. They might be primarily motivated by their compensation and their interest in achieving their own individual goals, which can limit their commitment to your brand and long-term objectives.
- Difficulty Maintaining Consistency: With a supplementary sales team, it can be more challenging to maintain consistency in sales messages, sales techniques, and customer service standards. Each team member might have their own approach, leading to an inconsistent experience for customers.
- Integration Time: Integrating members of the supplementary sales force can be time-consuming. You’ll need to invest time and resources to train them on your products, internal processes, and company values. This can delay their full productivity and require additional monitoring and supervision.
- Loss of Control: By outsourcing part of your sales force, you relinquish some direct control over sales activities. You have to trust the supplementary sales force company to represent your brand appropriately and achieve the set objectives.