What are Sales Agents?

 

Types of Agents

 

AgentBase represent all kinds of sales agents, throughout the British Isles.

A 'sales agent' is a self-employed, commission-only, business-to-business sales person.

Agents tend to specialise by MARKET, not by product (with a few exceptions). Most agents will build a portfolio of products and/or services that suit a particular type of client. For instance Chemists:- an agent may have an established customer base of maybe 100 to 200 chemists throughout his territory. He will develop a portfolio that will serve their needs. He will not call on every shop in a high street. Instead he will just call on the chemists, then visit another town and do the same there. As it happens, the marketplace of chemists is fairly succinct. Most agents who call on chemists (including pharmacies and drug stores) will only call on this sector. He will therefore tick just one of our categories. However some agents will cover a group of markets: for instance a giftware agent may cover gift shops, department stores, garden centers, tourist attractions, etc. He will therefore tick several of our categories. We classify agents into 68 main categories, plus a few 'other' activities.

 

For a full list of the main categories available to agents, click here.

 

 

Recruiting Agents

 

Agents are not like employees. Agents are self-employed. They will usually work with a number of companies (or 'Principals' as they become known) at any one time. They will forge close links with their principals, and work in a kind of partnership. However they will only ever devote a part of their time to any one of them - most agencies do not pay sufficiently to allow this. So rather than 'recruiting' sales agents, it might be easier to think of 'forging partnerships' with them.

 

> How can AgentBase help you to recruit Sales Agents?

 

> More information on working with Sales Agents.

 

How do Sales Agents Operate?

Typically sales agents will tend to:

  • have a portfolio of about 3 to 6 products or services
  • cover a territory of several counties, such that you will typically need 10-12 to cover the UK
  • have an established network of customers
  • work purely on commission - a percentage of the net invoice value
  • not buy stock, nor carry stock, nor deliver it, nor collect payment for it (otherwise they start to become a 'distributor')

However, this is a sweeping generalisation. All agents are different, and may differ greatly even from this basic description. Any further generalising would be misleading. For instance agents may have only one principal, or literally dozens. They may cover very small areas, or the whole UK. They may have no existing customers at all, yet still be an effective agent. They may expect a retainer, or expenses, in addition to commission. They may carry stock. And so on.

 

The role of AgentBase is to facilitate the forging of partnerships between principals and sales agents. We do not, and cannot, act in quite the same way as a recruitment consultant or staffing agency*.

 

Instead we provide a unique range of services, based on our many years of recruiting and managing sales agent teams. Our services will take you - the principal - through the whole of the planning and recruitment process: from strategic planning, through to attracting agents, screening and interviewing them, and finally contracting them to you. It is a modular service that you can pick and mix from.


*We do now also offer a service loosely akin to that of a traditional recruitment consultancy. This is called our Agent Introduction Service. This is a basic but highly cost-effective means of gaining introductions to agents who are interested in working with you, and who are selling to the right customers in the right areas..

 

Unfortunately, it is impossible to give you a simple guide to recruiting and using agents that would not risk misleading you. Every situation is different, and requires different 'settings'.

 

At AgentBase we have extensive experience of sales agent planning, recruitment and management. Call our friendly staff for a chat about YOUR situation, and how we can help you to get the most of out of using sales agents.

 

After all, sales agents are often the most cost-effective, and lowest risk route to market.

Our Clients are saying...

"AgentBase assisted us when we took the decision to out source the Agent recruitment process, we worked very closely with the recruitment team to ensure a successful outcome. We found AgentBase to be professional and committed to the success of our project..."

 

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