Sales Companies and How to Evaluate Them

Are you in the process of evaluating sales companies? Is your company looking for solution to a sales problem, a sales training program, or a full-service outsourced sales team? Whether you need sales consulting, sales training, or sales outsourcing, there are dozens of sales companies out there vying for your business. How can you decide which one to hire?

First, Figure Out Exactly What You Need

Very few sales companies specialize in everything. So it makes sense to look for a company that has experience in doing whatever it is you need. The two main sales methods are inside (telephone) and outside (face-to-face) sales. If your product or service is an inexpensive one and requires very little explanation on the part of the sales person, inside sales may be a good fit. For larger-ticket products or services, as well as those that require a more involved sales process, you may want to go with an outside sales team.

Similarly, a business-to-business sale is very different from a business-to-consumer sale. Does your company market its product to other businesses, or to private individuals? Most sales companies focus on one or the other. Make sure that the sales companies you are considering specialize in the type of sales you need, since the sales process, compensation structure, and training programs will be very different.

Finally, decide what kind of help you need. Is your sales team performing anemically and in need of extra motivation and training? Then you probably want to look for sales companies that provides training, whether on-site or via web training sessions or a combination of the two. If you'd ideally like to hire on a fully-functioning sales team, look for a sales outsourcing company. For more complex situations, or if you're just not quite sure where to start with improving your company's sales performance, you probably want to go with a sales consulting company. Many companies provide multiple services, so you can keep an open mind and question potential sales partners about what they think would be the best solution for your business.

As you interview different sales companies, don't be afraid to ask them for an example of a product or service like yours that they've previously sold, consulted, consulted, or trained for, and how their team structured the sale. These types of questions will help you figure out if the company you are considering is a good fit, as well as give you a better understanding of which type of sales process you need for your sales initiative.

All Sales Companies Are Not Created Equal

While many sales companies are legitimate and provide excellent services, there are some lemons out there. Watch out for red flags. How long has the company been in business? If it is an outsourcing company, does it hire sales reps W-2 (the better, more stable option) or 1099 (a sometimes costly shortcut)? Can the company provide case studies that illustrate how its services have helped companies similar to yours?

As you get to know the different sales companies you are considering, be alert to what you can learn about them from the initial phone call. Is your phone call answered by a real person, or do you have to listen to an automated spiel before speaking to someone? Is the person you speak with knowledgeable? Pleasant and helpful? Professional or too salesy? Can you picture yourself doing business with this person on a regular basis?

Also spend some time on each sales company's website. Is the website professional and clearly written? Is there a page that lists the company's executive team? Do the executives have significant industry and sales experience? What is the "vibe" you get from the company website, and is it a feeling that makes you feel secure and comfortable with the company?

It may seem daunting at the beginning, but it is worth putting in the time to evaluate sales companies until you find one you feel comfortable working with.

Chris GinnaneComment