Factsheet 11 – The Sales Agent Strategy Statement

Before you embark on a sales agent recruitment exercise you should make a clear and concise statement of your sales agent package and policy.

This will act as a reference point and guide for all staff working on the sales agent recruitment and management project. It will also form a basis for advertising, interviewing, administration, management, and the agency agreement.

Its scope is typically as follows:

  • Overall objectives? (what are you trying to achieve by using agents?)
  • What is the timeframe for achieving these objectives?
  • The Goods or Services that agents are to sell
  • The Commission rate
  • Commission payment timing
  • Target markets
  • Geographical area to be covered
  • Number of agents sought
  • Retainer?
  • Expenses?
  • Are agents to act as sellers or introducers (or both?)
  • Lead generation
  • Marketing support
  • Exclusivity level
  • Existing accounts
  • Retained accounts
  • Minimum orders
  • Minimum carriage paid order
  • Agent interview arrangement
  • Training
  • Reporting requirements
  • Job description
  • Person specification (essentials and desirables)
  • Who is the person to be responsible for recruiting agents, both initially and ongoing?
  • Who is the person to be responsible for managing agents on a day-to-day basis?
  • Who else will interface with agents?
    • Name the staff members, their job titles, and the nature of their likely dealings with agents.
    • Do these staff need training on how to deal with agents?
  • Agency agreement in place?
  • Agent pack contents:
    • New account paperwork
    • Trade terms & conditions
    • Sales presenter: possibly a desktop flip chart, or more commonly a ring binder with all the information needed to make a sales presentation: e.g. sales literature, technical info, terms and conditions, discount scales, returns policy, minimum orders, carriage charges, etc.
    • Product literature: product brochures, leaflets, price lists, etc. to mail out or leave with clients.
    • Order forms: best is a triplicate order pad with product descriptions and codes
    • Samples: as little as possible.
    • Business cards: add extra credibility and status to the agent.
    • Web site: that the agent can refer to on site, or refer clients to.
  • Agent management process
    • (Eg. Nature and frequency of agent communications, any meetings, conferences, jollies, morale-building exercises, etc)
  • Management & Admin:
    • Management reports
    • Process Flowcharts
    • Commission statements

(I would not advise that you let the agents have sight of this in its entirety, as parts of it may be confidential, or it might just amount to information overload).

Working with sales agents can be an ideal way to grow a business or launch a new product with minimal costs. Often sales agents are the most cost-effective, quickest and lowest risk route to market. They may also simply be the best strategy when trying to open up new markets, where pre-existing customer relationships are key.

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.

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