How to build a sales force using freelancers
Learn how to hire the right salesperson to boost your business
Sales are the lifeline of any business. No matter how well everything else in your company is doing, without making sales, you're not going to be in business very long.
Most people have the assumption that, if their product is good enough, sales are naturally going to start pouring in after they start their business. This miscalculation often leads to disappointment once reality sets in. That reality is that a successful sales effort is a result of an extensively planned process.
However, a major part of figuring out the right strategy is figuring out the right people to work with. Having the right team can be a truly transformative factor in boosting your sales.
That is why this piece digs deeper into the importance of having the right salesperson and the factors to look for in a great salesperson. But first, let's explore the responsibilities of a salesperson.
Responsibilities of a qualified salesperson
Gone are the days when the responsibilities of salespeople were limited to purely door knocking and haggling. Salespeople need to be gifted in a variety of areas to help explain your brand's value proposition and close the deal with customers.
Customer relationship management
Customer relationship management is at the forefront of successful sales. A successful salesperson needs to maintain meaningful relationships with key customers. A well-fostered customer relationship pays its dividends in the forms of sales in the long run.
From casual communication to formal outreach, great salespeople invest their time in the development of strong customer relationships so that they can have an advantage over their competitors. A great customer relationship goes a long way in amplifying sales and improving customer response.
Professional corporate communication
Salespeople need to be extensively aware of communication tools and techniques to maximize the potential sales made by the company. They need to be expert communicators to properly convey your company's unique value proposition, and it certainly doesn't hurt if they're likeable.
A good salesperson needs to understand your product or service down to the last detail. Customers will have questions about how to use your product or service, and what makes it different from products or services offered by your competitors. It's a good salesperson's responsibility to know the answer to those questions.
Now that you're aware of the responsibilities that a salesperson can handle. You are much more equipped to make the right decision and hire the best individual for the task.
But hiring the right individual isn't always easy. It can be difficult for a budding startup to afford a full-time salesperson for their company. Hiring locally limits the options that you have in terms of candidates. It can be a great idea to look for freelance salespeople to help you when you are starting. Here are some things you should look for in your freelance salesperson.
The benefits of using a freelance salesperson
When you're building your sales force, you'll need to decide if you want to rely on sales agents or sales representatives. The difference between the two is that a sales agent is a freelance salesperson who works solely on commission, whereas a sales rep works for your company and receives a base salary along with commissions or sales bonuses.
If you're just starting out in business, a freelance sales force can be a great option. Let's look at the benefits.
Pay only for sales
When you hire a freelance sales agent versus an in-house sales rep, you're only paying for the sales that are actually made. You won't have to pay a salary and benefits, just a commission on each sale.
But how can you do that using a freelancing platform? It's actually pretty simple. Just agree on a commission rate for each sale, then set up milestones for each sales prospect. You'll release the milestones upon a successful sale, so you only pay when your freelancer has closed a deal.
Extend your reach
Sales can be broken down into a couple categories: inside sales and outside sales. Inside sales are sales that take place over the phone or emails. Outside sales are conducted by field reps or agents who actually hold face-to-face meetings.
Inside sales are definitely effective, and inside sales teams are much cheaper to build than outside sales teams. But outside sales close at a rate 30% higher than inside sales, and generate an average deal size 130% larger, according to Spotio.
Building a freelance sales team allows you to utilize both inside and outside sales. You can expand your geographic reach by hiring outside sales agents in the locales where your highest value customers are, and use freelance inside sales reps to work on leads via phone and email.
Move quickly to scale your team
Using freelancers means you can react quickly to market demand and scale your sales team to adapt. You won't have to go through a months-long interviewing, hiring and onboarding process. You can bring on new sales agents as quickly as you need them.
Great for limited budgets
If your business is smaller or still in its early stages, you may not have the budget to hire a big in-house sales team. But using freelance sales agents means you'll only have to pay when revenue is generated. Cash in, cash out.
Now that we've discussed some of the benefits of using a freelance sales team, let's talk about some of the traits you should be looking for in your sales agents.
How to get the best results from a freelance salesperson
Hiring a freelance sales agent or a freelance sales team is a great way to scale your team quickly, but how to arm your team to give them the best chance of success.
Make sure they know your product
One disadvantage of a freelance sales team is that they don't have the day-to-day exposure to your product or service that an in-house team has. That means you need to clearly communicate every detail about your product or service.
Your sales agents need to know what makes it unique, what sets your product apart from competitors' products, and understand every use case for it. They need to understand how it works, how it's meant to be used and even how to do some basic troubleshooting if it doesn't work as expected.
Explain your company's values
A freelance sales agent also needs to understand your brand. This means understanding your company's values and mission. They need to do more than sell your product. They need to evangelize for your brand.
Explain your company's key demographic
Your freelance sales agent also needs to understand the customer demographic you're targeting. They need to know their pain points, their needs, their goals and their buying habits. If you've created customer personas for your brand, you need to share them with your freelance sales team.
Provide them with marketing qualified leads
This is one of the most valuable tools you can provide your freelance sales agents. Marketing qualified leads mean that someone has interacted with your marketing and shown an interest in your product or service.
There are a number of ways you can generate marketing qualified leads. You can do it by gathering contact information on your website by offering downloadable content. Or you can provide a call to action on your website for a visitor to request a demo of your product or to be contacted by one of your sales team.
However you generate them, marketing qualified leads mean that your freelance sales agents aren't taking a shot in the dark. They'll have a list of prospects who are already aware of your brand, and who've shown enough interest to interact with you in some way. This will significantly enhance your sales team's effectiveness.
Make sure you track everything in your CRM
Your freelance sales force should either have access to your customer relationship management (CRM) platform, or should share data that you can plug into your CRM. This will help you keep track of their work, and help them organize their sales efforts. It'll also ensure that you still have access to all that customer information in the event you and a freelance sales agent part way.
Hiring the right candidate can prove to be transformative for the sales potential of your sales campaign. However, that is just the beginning. You need to equip your sales team with the right tools and resources to make the most impact.