In the United States, only 1% of small businesses resort to sales representatives*. Yet, they can turn out to be real business boosters in B2B commerce, by selling your products or services (in your name) to B2B buyers. Whether it is to increase market visibility, get new customers or give your B2B sales a boost, sales representatives can bring significant added value to your business, at a low price.
Sales agents are not to be mistaken with employees. Sales agents are representatives who are responsible for promoting and selling products or services on behalf of a company. They may work on a commission basis or as a salaried employee.
Sales agents can be an important asset for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) because they can help to increase revenue and expand the customer base. They can also provide valuable market intelligence and feedback to the company. Sales agents are often more familiar with local market conditions and customer needs, which can be beneficial for SMBs looking to expand in a specific area. Additionally, sales agents are known for their ability to establish relationships with customers, which can be critical for building long-term business success.
A sales agent can work alone, recruit staff, or work in a team with other agents. As an independent, he generally works for several client companies at the same time and can operate in specific markets, across all sectors (food and beverage, construction, textiles, medical, etc.). He also possesses essential qualities for performing his assigned tasks, such as determination, self-confidence, persuasiveness, listening, eloquence, interpersonal skills, and charisma.
Overall, their mission is to help the company to increase revenue and expand the customer base, while at the same time representing the company in the best possible way to potential customers.
Sales agents can provide valuable support and expertise to help small businesses grow and succeed.
Here is how sales representatives benefit small businesses:
Choosing the right distribution methods for your brand is at the heart of your company's sales strategy. Using a sales agent is an ideal way to increase sales in a specific geographic area with minimal start-up costs. They are essential in reaching new customers and maintaining relationships with existing ones.
If you are already working with one or more sales agents but feel that their potential is not being fully utilized for your business, now you know how to maximize their benefits!
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) will find a sales agent particularly useful, including:
The sales agent is particularly well-suited for small businesses, which are more susceptible to fluctuations in activity than medium-sized enterprises and have more difficulty absorbing fixed costs. Using a sales agent allows them to minimize costs and risks.
There are several ways to recruit a sales agent, including:
To determine if a sales agent is the right fit for your business, they should meet the profile you have established. Elements such as industry sector, market knowledge, work location(s), qualifications, goals for your company, etc.
The future of sales agents in the B2B commerce sector may be impacted by a number of factors, including technology, changing business strategies, and shifts in the economy. Still, with the rise of digital technologies, the need for sales agents with digital marketing and e-commerce skills may increase. These allow sales agents to facilitate certain tasks such as prospecting, product catalog, visibility and communication, and improve customer relationships. Additionally, some B2B companies may have more complex sales processes that require specialized knowledge and skills, which may increase the need for sales agents.
Lastly, in growing markets, companies may need to expand their sales force to keep up with demand. There is likely to be a shift towards more strategic and consultative roles for sales agents in the B2B commerce sector, with an emphasis on digital skills, customer understanding, and flexibility.
Although B2B e-commerce platforms, such as Erplain's B2B Store, handle key operations such as order taking, tracking or customizing customer content, they will not replace the human touch, the personal relationship and the ability of sales agents to close complex deals, or bring new customers. Therefore, sales agents can still play an important role in the B2B sales process, even with the presence of B2B e-commerce platforms. They certainly can change the way sales agents work, but they also can enhance their performance by providing them with new tools, new channels and new data. Sales agents will have to adapt and adopt new skills to remain relevant in the digital age.
It's important to note that using a sales agent comes with its own set of risks, particularly for small businesses. By hiring a sales agent, a small company may take on several financial risks, including:
Other risks include:
Small companies should thoroughly evaluate the potential costs and benefits of hiring a sales agent and should have a clear, well-defined plan for how they will manage the risks associated with this decision. They should also be careful when writing the contract.
In short, a sales agent helps you grow your brand and competitiveness quickly, ensuring the prosperity of your business. With Erplain, get the revenue generated by your sales agent in real time, essential data for calculating their sales commissions!