October 20, 2011

Facing Sales Growth

As marketing executives focus efforts on the Internet, mobile devices, and other digital avenues to reach or expand their customer base, it becomes easy to overlook one of the oldest forms of outreach to spur business growth – and that is face-to-face sales. Even though face-to-face sales as part of the marketing mix has been successful for many businesses, the approach is often low on the list due to budget concerns and time constraints. It is difficult for businesses to find the staff, training, and resources to execute an extensive sales effort across geographies to target customers in their offices or companies. It is also challenging to find the kind of people with character and follow-through to represent businesses and products well.

The truth is that most companies do not have the internal capabilities to expand their sales force for targeted face-to-face campaigns. To gain revenue and market share, they frequently turn to partners who do. More Fortune 500 companies have hired outsourced face-to-face sales companies, which has unleashed hunters to better identify prospects and close deals. Well-known companies have turned to outsourced sales vendors like Cydcor to market their services and products to small businesses across the country. In addition to top-line growth, the companies are also experiencing bottom-line value by turning over the management and administration of the sales effort, reducing their need to recruit and paying only for successful conversions.

What is driving all of this success? Well-trained, courteous salespeople, the ability to answer questions and customize solutions on the spot, and the personal touch.

Not all face-to-face marketing companies are all alike. Businesses interested in the face-to-face sales approach should weigh the variables carefully before proceeding. Here are some important things to consider:

Track record of success. Like any business partnership, work with organizations that do not just share a vision for success, but deliver on it. Evaluate potential outsourced face-to-face sales firms on the strength of their clients, industry knowledge and relationships, past results and their tenure in the marketplace.

Strength of their sales teams. Pick firms whose business success lies in their ability to hire and manage the most talented full-time, professional sales people, as well as those firms that know how to motivate and inspire their sales teams.

Training and partnership models. Outsourced face-to-face sales partnerships should be just that: partnerships. Look for companies whose compensation is tied with their ability to deliver results. Importantly, the partnering firm should be able to readily translate and deliver training to its sales teams, and help ensure that the culture of the hiring company is presented well in all cases.

Reach. Speed to market is critical for most companies. Face-to-face sales organizations that have local market understanding, national reach and wide experience in myriad industries tend to be better partners because of their ability to incorporate best practices and limit the need for multiple outsourced relationships.

Integrity and Trust. Partnering firms will be your company’s representatives in the marketplace. Pick firms committed to helping your company build a strong and profitable customer relationship while maintaining the highest standards of professionalism to preserve trust, loyalty and integrity of your brand.

As emerging technologies and today’s economic downturn challenge businesses to develop creative marketing approaches, outsourced face-to-face sales as part of the marketing mix can be a sound way forward.