Manufacturers have long known that an indirect sales channel can become a direct route to growth. Channel partners grant easier access to the fast-growing small and midsize business segment, and they help vendors expand into new geographies without requiring big on-the-ground investments.
The average annual turnover in sales is 25 to 30%. This means that the equivalent of the entire sales organization must be hired and trained roughly every four years. What many companies discover is they are often rushing to fill positions, rather than hire qualified leads. Luckily, there are many practices to ensure your company hires the best people, even on tight time constraints.
What Are Indirect Sales?
Indirect sales are the sale of a good or service by a third-party, such as a partner or affiliate, rather than a company's personnel. Indirect sales can be used in concurrence with a company's direct sales efforts, or may be used in place of hiring sales staff.
How Indirect Sales Work
Indirect sales can allow a company to increase sales quickly without having to hire more sales personnel. Companies often exercise indirect sales when the demand for the product is surpassing the ability of the company to hire internal salespeople, or when the price of the product is too low to justify a large sales department. Additionally, employing an indirect sales strategy is dynamic in allowing the cost associated with a sale to be in proportion to how much success a reseller has.
Indirect Sales Channels
There are several channels for building an indirect sales network. They include:
A company that sells products or services for a commission and often operates with an internet-based sales strategy, where third-parties intermediaries link companies to affiliate sellers. Companies usually create campaigns for their products that affiliates will promote. This structure is practical because affiliates are paid only when a sale is made.
Similar to affiliate selling and commonly used in the sales of tech products or software, resellers interact with the customer in face-to-face sales on behalf of a company. We are familiar with resellers through practices such as purchasing a smartphone at a retail storefront, rather than the original manufacturer’s store.
Independent sales representatives/agents
Independent sales representatives and agents are strictly paid on commission. These representatives are easily scaled up or down, based on your company's needs, lowering your total overhead.
Generally found in business-to-business product or services sales, system integrators are consultants who also pitch solutions to customers. Companies that offer tech advice and software product solutions would use a system integrator as a hybrid sales consultant role.
Benefits of Repeatable Sales Processes
Before bringing on a team of sales representatives or channel partners, it is important that your company has a basic plan laid out about your sales process. When your company studies what works well, you are able to perfect processes and create repeatable sales patterns. This practice also allows you to get the most out of your partners. Sales processes can be trained through different programs, or you can use a CRM like HubSpot to create playbooks for your team to reference.
Common practices include:
- The definition of your “ideal” customer
- Where leads are coming from
- Effective outreach channels
- An outline of the roadmap from first customer contact through to a demo or sale
- The average time and cost it takes to find a lead and move them through the milestones to becoming a customer
- A retention customers once they’ve signed up or bought
What To Look For In a Sales Representative
Research published by the American Psychological Association in 1993 discovered that the most predictive indicator of sales rep success is “conscientiousness.” Conscientiousness is the quality of wishing to do one's work or duty well through achievement and dependability. Candidates who display conscientiousness are goal-oriented, hardworking, persistent, and have high expectations for themselves, which makes them a perfect sales representative.
Coachability refers to someone’s willingness and ability to grow. Having a personal growth mindset is a core part of building an agile team and a satisfactory business environment. Coachability begins with accepting the fact that everyone can improve, and the business can always move forward. By doing role-plays, you are able to determine how coachable a potential candidate is.
Sales is a data-driven field, and successful candidates can analyze sales data and form smart decisions based on their analysis. Additionally, a great representative is somebody who is always looking for new opportunities to learn and grow, as this mindset extends into your business and allows you to remain on top of industry trends.
By defining your company goals and values, you are able to find qualified sales representatives who share your same values. These ideal candidates have the same passion for your industry and company that you do. They make perfect representatives of your overall brand, and your clients will be able to tell the difference between a passionate sales representative and someone who is simply doing the job.
There are many ways to recruit sales representatives onto your team and utilize them throughout your channel. Hiring qualified candidates helps set your business apart from your competitors and can ensure your company’s continued success.
Sales representatives have long been a reliable way for vendors to grow sales, market share, and reach. Building your channel gives you the ability to completely transform your business and grow it to the next level. ManoByte can connect you to the channel partners and software to enable your growth. Contact us today to see how we can scale your business.