It’s difficult to keep track of your distributor’s sales team when you don’t have a local presence in Europe. It makes it difficult to ensure that your product will always be high on their priority list. As a result, I’ve found it useful to hire a sales team for my clients. It is also a low-risk option with many benefits for small businesses.
Here are three key factors of having an outsourced sales and marketing team, and a network of Sales Agents, which is an excellent way to speed up sales in Europe.
- Where to Find the Right One?
What is a Sales Agent?
A sales agent is a self-employed sales representative. They are not employees or staff members of your business since they run their own. Their primary focus is typically regional. In smaller countries such as Denmark or Austria, they are likely to cover the entire country, whereas, in larger countries like Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, they frequently work only in a region within that country.
One advantage of having a sales agent is they will visit customers and communicate with your distributor’s sales team on your behalf. They can help you build a network of local distributors or reach out to end users. They will also be available to respond to day-to-day product inquiries, freeing you up to focus on more strategic activities within this market, such as your relationship with key accounts.
Importance of Contract between you and your Sales Agent
Every European country has its own sales agent federation or association. Rules and guidelines usually govern these. These rules and guidelines will heavily influence the contract terms.
A sales agent works on a commission basis with no retainer. General terms usually state the exit mechanism and how an indemnity for termination should be calculated. Some sales agents have their own agreement contact information, which you can always request and change to meet your specific needs. Here’s what you need to specify in your contract:
Where to Find the Right One?
They aren’t always easy to locate because they may have multiple business cards. I’ve tried several approaches to recruiting sales agents for my clients over the years, including placing advertisements on sales agents’ websites. I have not found website advertising to be effective. However, this may vary by country.
Some industries use them more than others. They are more common in the manufacturing sector than in the IT, software, and digital sectors. Sales agents are common in Italy, Spain, France, and Belgium, and while they exist in Germany, finding them can be difficult. Trade shows are frequently used to find sales agents. Peers, customers, and distributors may also be familiar with them.
To determine whether hiring a sales agent is the best option for each European Union country, you will need to conduct extensive research, including discussions with your distributors and end clients. In my experience, it usually depends on the country, and then on the specific industry within that country.
How to Manage Your Team?
Because sales agents are not employees, we cannot expect them to provide the same level of reporting as your regular employees. Inviting them to a yearly planning session will add a lot of value to your strategies. They are constantly on the ground and have valuable feedback. They will tell you what you need to do to increase your sales.
If they don’t work out, schedule regular catch-ups and reassess whether their business model aligns with your goals. Check if they still believe they agree with your business. Make the most of this learning opportunity.
You can also read my previous blog, where I explained how sales agents can help your business increase sales in the European market.
It may be difficult to find candidates who fit this profile if you are starting from scratch in a market. There are many factors to consider, particularly for smaller businesses seeking to enter the European market for the first time. Again, if you first build your sales, you will accomplish this.
Want to know more about how to effectively market your business in the European market? Get your FREE copy of “The 4 Steps to Generate Your First Million Euros in Sales” book here: https://www.exportia.com.au/export-business-europe/
You can also create an initial Export Readiness Diagnostic within 20 minutes here: http://diagnostic.exportia.com.au/7pillar/ It will show you a report summarising if your business is ready and includes a personalised to-do list for your next step.
Contact me to schedule a 45-minute debriefing session with me once you have your report.