Factsheet 16 – Sales Agent Management: Should I Demand Reporting?

Agents do not take enthusiastically to any non-commission-earning activities, unless they are being paid of course. It is quite common for companies new to working with sales agents to expect them to behave like employees, and expect diligently prepared paperwork (such as credit account forms, references, site surveys, etc) and for reporting to be frequent and of a high standard. Be prepared for resistance to this.

Agents will generally regard reporting as a non-commission-earning activity, and therefore not part of their remit.

You will find that you may have to be prepared to get paperwork completed by head office staff, and for reporting to default to evening verbal reports by phone, where YOU have to call them. Agents may also resist telling you where they have been and who they have spoken to, and particularly where they are going to tomorrow or next week. This they will regard as their business – not yours. They may also not want to give direct feedback on customer reactions and comments.

The only way to guarantee reporting from an agent is to pay him a retainer or fee, and make this conditional on reporting.

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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