Sales Presentation

Sales Outsourcing FAQ

We are based in Denver, Colorado and maintain offices in major markets across the US.  If we aren’t currently working in a market you’re interested in we can open new locations in 45 days or less.

Our representation of your products and services is dedicated and exclusive, and the identity of our sales professionals remains tied to your brand and product line.  Our teams are held to quotas and quality standards that are managed and enforced on a daily basis.  Sales team loyalties are to your brand and customers, and the customer experience is paramount.  The sales professionals are held accountable to a high standard of activity and performance and are required to maintain current and accurate understanding of your products, marketplace, and customer needs.  Dedicated management staff and administrative and recruiting support ensure a consistent quality of sales person is placed on your team and that customer interactions are as uniform and predictable as possible.  The relationship between you and our sales teams is more than arms length.  In many cases our sales professionals interact routinely with our clients’ operations and support staff to attend training and sales meetings, address customer questions, order fulfillment challenges, and ensure the quality of the customer experience.

Resellers and distributors are excellent extensions of your product marketing and sales efforts and should be considered in any expansion of your marketing plan.  However, the direct selling, distribution, and reseller options are very different approaches that have their own relative strengths and weaknesses.  At a high level, direct selling provides the advantages of loyalty and singular focus on your products in spite of any competitive pressures or product support and fulfillment challenges, customer ambassadorship and brand building, and a strong feedback mechanism to help drive product development and support mechanisms.  Additionally, through direct sales with SPI as your partner you will be able to exercise a much higher degree of control over the volume of sales activity, product presentation, placement, messaging, and customer experience.  Distribution and reseller channels are an excellent way to greatly expand your product sales reach when your product or brand is very mature, has a clear support and implementation path, is well understood and recognized in the market, or is best sold in conjunction with other products and services (a value added sale) that you don’t or can’t provide yourself.  There are many other factors to consider when deciding which direction to go or whether both strategies can and should be considered for incorporation into your marketing plans. SPI can help guide you in your decision making and can provide services and support options to suit both strategies.

Just like an internal direct selling engagement, there are a variety of factors that influence the cost and pricing for our services.  These include the level of compensation needed to attract appropriate sales professional talent, the complexity of product and length of the sales cycle, the degree of technical and material support needed to ensure success, the amount of travel needed to complete deals, the level of integration needed with your internal processes and systems, and other factors that may be market dependent.  No two client engagements or pricing for those engagements are identical.  Our pricing model is designed to be custom tailored to the budgets and expected costs and outcomes for the sales force you want, in the territory you want to cover. Pricing, and your return on investment, is a key part of the discussion leading up to any selling engagement and we will be happy to guide you through the process of establishing costs that fit your budget while still providing the program design and results you want and need.

Absolutely! We understand that it’s a tough decision to entrust the direct representation of your products and services to an external partner. If your firm is willing to invest the time, money, and human capital to create sales specific recruiting, training, methods, management, technology, and quality assurance processes that constitute a best practices model for direct sales, you could probably achieve the same objectives that Sales Partnerships does, eventually. However, you’re probably investigating our services because you want or need to see results more quickly than an internal effort would allow.  Or maybe you don’t feel confident that your management team or department has the personnel or access to the right corporate resources to make this happen.  Perhaps you want to dedicate your focus on those areas of your business that are most meaningful to your product development or existing customer service needs.  You want the assurance that your customers are getting the best possible representation of your product while leveraging resources and market reach that would take too much time, focus, or investment internally to fulfill within your business development schedule.  SPI can help you.

Yes.  If you would like SPI to create, deploy, and mature a successful sales team with the goal of absorbing the team back into your company at some future point, this can be included as part of our service to you.  For companies that want to capture a long term return on their investment in working with SPI or that need to demonstrate an internal selling capacity at some point in the future, this is an excellent option.  We will work with you to determine how best to structure this type of engagement and at the point of transition we can provide our recruiting and consulting services to ensure a smooth transition and provide ongoing support to your sales efforts for as long as you need.

We understand the sensitivity to market perceptions about outsourcing, especially services like marketing and sales.  Typically SPI and its clients maintain confidentiality about the outsourcing relationship and any details about the engagements it undertakes.  Sometimes, our clients want the relationship to be more open.  Either way, SPI can establish whatever level of confidentiality you ‘d like about our relationship.

All of our sales professionals and management team members are W2 employees of Sales Partnerships.  This gives us the authority to hold them accountable for their work effort and schedule, performance, and the methods and standards by which they perform their jobs.  Contractors (1099) cannot be held to these same standards and 1099 sales firms that claim otherwise put you and them at risk of violation of employment laws and possible tax liabilities.

Unless by design or by necessity of your marketing or product strategy, our sales professionals exclusively represent your products and services and operate under your brand identity.  To the outside world, our sales professionals look like an extension of your business and brand and are often integrated in one way or another into your product marketing, delivery, and support channels.

We start by establishing a candidate profile that meets the expected needs for your program.  We employ a team of dedicated sales recruiters that do nothing other than source, screen, interview, and place sales people that meet this profile, into your sales team.  We utilize job boards, advertising (local and national), job search engines, direct head-hunting, and other standard tools of the trade to find the right people.  Our recruiting is sales specific, utilizes an intensive scoring and evaluation matrix, and results in a high rate of success in attracting qualified and productive sales people for our client programs.

Each sales program is unique and customized to the needs of each client.  If your products or services require a high degree of specialized knowledge or expertise, we will include that in the candidate profile and hiring requirements.  SPI understands that specialization is key to selling certain products and in certain markets where knowledge and connections are needed to hit the ground running.  In other, less technical or narrowly defined markets, we will recruit sales people with commensurate skills and experience who may come from similar types of industries.  In addition, many of our sales professionals have had experiences in industries that may be related or the same as yours and may be assigned, if the situation allows, to represent your products.

Yes, our clientele are invited to participate in review of resumes and participate in final interviews of candidates.  During the start-up and launch phase with any new client we coordinate the logistics and planning for this activity if desired.

SPI maintains a turnover rate that is consistent with well run like-kind sales programs within each industry or product area we represent.  The actual turnover rates vary considerably depending on the nature of the selling program, the skills and experience needed to perform the job,  and the competition for the people needed to perform the services.  Controlled turnover (forced attrition) is carefully managed to ensure that sales professionals that aren’t meeting expectations are selectively replaced with those that can, but in a fashion that doesn’t leave major gaps in market coverage or unpredictable results from a team.  Our goal in enforcing turnover is to continuously improve the results coming from your campaigns.

SPI’s underlying service platform incorporates dedicated management and support for each client program.  Our managers are selected and assigned based on criteria established by you and us and upon the size, scope, and complexity of the campaign.  Your campaign will have assigned sales managers for each selling team.  If there are multiple teams and/or markets a regional or national director will be included as part of your account to ensure that all teams are coordinated and that recruiting, training, and quality assurance standards are uniform across all markets.  Your account is managed by our executive team and by the regional or national director, if applicable.  Your internal team will have access to talk to our personnel and management staff when needed; we keep the lines of communication open to make sure that knowledge and change can flow freely between us and you.

A key determinant of the success of any sales campaign is the compensation and incentives provided to the sales professionals.  One of the critical areas of consultation when we work with any client is how the compensation and incentive package can be optimized to drive the best performance.  Many companies create compensation plans for their sales people that promote activity and behaviors that may run contrary to the firm’s development or financial goals.  SPI will work with you to ensure this doesn’t happen. Compensation is determined by a variety of factors, including industry standards for the level of skill and qualifications needed or requested, compensation offered by competitors, local cost of living standards (for field programs), length of sales cycle, and the complexity of the selling process and product.  Most of our programs include some form of base salary compensation for the sales professional, enough to attract the appropriate talent levels needed, and a competitive performance derived variable compensation (commission) plan as the primary incentive for performance.  Additional custom tailored sales performance incentives are extended and managed by SPI, and often our clients like to participate in crafting these additional bonus and performance incentive plans.

For established companies with a significant product history and strong product support, effective marketing strategies, and strong brand recognition in the market place, SPI can develop a commission only program.  In these cases, there is still a necessity to maintain the level of individual sales professional support and management that is the backbone of SPI’s service offering and this will be included as part of the negotiated pricing structure.  In any event, SPI will tailor a sales program to fit the needs and compensation philosophy of its clients so long as the market for the sales professionals needed will support it.  If you are investigating sales programs that you believe will have zero up-front investment on your part and require no support infrastructure we encourage you to investigate other selling channel solutions such as distribution and value added types of relationships (although it is a fallacy to believe that such channels will cost you nothing – they can be enormously expensive to manage successfully).  SPI is a dedicated brand labeled dedicated selling solution and as such requires some investment on the part of our clients.

Typically, our clients provide training materials and often personnel to perform initial start-up training on product, order processing and fulfillment, and support.  During the start up phase, training logistics, schedule, and syllabus are addressed and refined to serve the needs of each new sales team.  Once this training has been done, SPI will incorporate the product specific training into its larger training syllabus which includes SPI’s own sales training process, role playing, compliance safety and ethics training, technology training, etc…  Clients are invited to participate or attend subsequent training sessions from time to time.  If new products or changes to existing products are significant enough to warrant new training, our clients will provide the materials (and occasionally personnel) needed to perform the training and SPI will incorporate these changes into its training syllabus.

We provide training to our sales professionals on a wide array of topics relevant to their positions.  In addition to intensive initial and ongoing training and testing on your product and marketplace knowledge, SPI sales professionals receive education and training in our proprietary sales training program. Our sales theory and methods training combines lessons learned from Miller Heiman, SPIN, QBS, and Vass with methods developed in-house like “Emotive Selling” that focuses on buyer motivations both objective and subjective. Training also includes intensive role play, as well as business ethics, key HR concepts, technical training, policy training (yours and ours), and training on customer privacy and the role of data and information on the job.  We also provide ongoing refresher training classes, regular mandated ride-along and coaching sessions with managers, and periodic refreshers on sales theory and practicum training.  Additionally, we utilize a web based knowledgebase for each client campaign that all relevant personnel can access as well as message boards and internal posting sites for reps to share knowledge gained on the job – moderated by the sales management team.

SPI has experience in a wide variety of industries performing telesales and field sales (door to door and more sophisticated enterprise focused activities as well), targeting small, medium, and large businesses as well as residences (when appropriate).  For more details, please visit our clients page.

SPI consults closely with each client to identify which selling method, approach, and skills needed to successfully represent and sell your products and services will yield the best results.  Some factors we consider when deciding what type of sales method will be best for your business include the scope and size of your market, the level of direct marketing support, brand recognition, the complexity of your product, the number of touch points needed to close a deal, the ease of access to decision makers, customer expectations, your competitors’ selling practices, and many other factors.  Most of our clients have a historical experience or preference that suggests one selling method over another (inside sales vs. outside sales – lead generation vs email campaigns, etc…).  SPI will incorporate these preferences into our recommendations, and ultimately, SPI will work with you to ensure that your direct sales investments will generate the best return on investment possible.

We provide services to clients needing targeted consumer/residential selling that align well with the service delivery platform we provide and that requires professional selling expertise and skills.  Managing large scale, entry-level skill door to door residential campaigns is not our strong suit, but if you have more specialized needs with respect to reaching your residential customers, we can help.

Most of our sales programs can be up and running in as little as 45 days and sometimes faster.  Certain client campaigns, with significant technical knowledge or narrowly focused markets can take a little longer to launch because the recruiting effort needs to be successful before a program starts.

SPI has many experiences working within departments or divisions of companies that manage other selling channels.  Typically, in these scenarios, SPI will deploy a list-based prospecting solution that leverages reliable data from trusted list brokerage houses or our clients’ own internal data, and CRM technology that enables the sales professional to target and focus on those areas, prospects, or customers that aren’t excluded from their territory.  Additionally, we’ll work with you to establish rules of engagement and proper messaging to be used by all sales professionals assigned to your program in the event one of our sales professionals does encounter an existing customer or a prospect being worked by another channel.

Territories are typically managed on the basis of the number and density of target prospects within the territory, the rate at which we anticipate reaching and resolving that prospect as either a potential customer or not, and the likelihood that prospects can be “re-cycled” in the future as potential future customers.  Additionally, we factor in the number of contacts needed, once a prospect is established, to close a deal, and the amount of post-sale effort needed to ensure the customer is off to a good start in their acceptance of your products or services.  SPI employs mapping software, CRM tools, and list management solutions to ensure that territory integrity is maintained and to ensure that the best territories are prioritized, and those with lesser results or other barriers to entry are de-prioritized or excluded from sales activity.

Something that makes SPI fairly unique in the sales outsourcing market is our ability to deploy technology and management solutions to allow sales professionals to efficiently target specific vertical, customer segments, or priority action prospect lists with a very short amount of time needed to make shifts in focus.  Additionally, we report back to you with respect to the outcomes from those efforts and can produce custom reports and analysis for your marketing and demand generation service partners if needed.

SPI employs several monitoring and evaluation processes that keep track of sales rep activity and performance on a daily basis.  These solutions involve a combination of technology, administrative oversight, and direct management interaction and oversight to ensure that all of our sales professionals know that they are are well supported, but also held to a high standard of performance and adherence to activity expectations.  Some of our key sales management processes include detailed electronic observation and evaluations conducted on a frequent basis for all members of a sales team, knowledge reviews and testing of sales staff, streamlined sales goal matrixes and activity standards applied to all sales staff, and reporting and analytics designed to provide actionable data to managers in near real-time. During the campaign planning and launch phase, specific sales targets, sales activity standards, observation criteria, and other key performance management criteria are established.  These criteria are then imbedded into the sales management tools and processes for use by sales managers.  Sales managers recruited or assigned to your campaign are trained in the use of these tools and the standards by which they are used for your campaign.

Included in the service, SPI performs administrative quality assurance activities to ensure that customers are happy with the interactions they have with our sales professionals.  Additionally, managers are obligated to perform documented observations and ride-alongs with their team members on a regular basis.  Finally, any errant behaviors or issues identified are promptly relayed to the senior management team and escalated immediately to you if needed.  SPI prides itself on having exceptionally low rates of erroneous or fraudulent order taking and very high customer retention rates for its clients’ customers.  We consistently outperform in all industries we have participated in in this regard.

All of our sales professionals are held to a minimum performance target or quota either on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on the nature of the selling process.  Compensation is often designed to reward achievement of goals.  A critical component to every conversation that we undertake with our prospective clients is to ensure that the performance targets can be determined, are reasonable, and attainable, while at the same time meeting the clients’ expectations and financial goals.

SPI maintains a progressive performance improvement and discipline process when deficiencies in activity or performance occur.  This process looks at many aspects of a sales professional’s work activity and performance and is designed to identify if past activity and performance will determine future success or failure.  The first step is to evaluate the sales rep in a number of key areas including their motivation levels, activity levels, sales process adherence, customer interactions, territory and targeting of prospects, as well as possible external factors such as competitive pressure, local economy, etc…  From this point the sales professional is put on a graduated performance improvement plan that identifies specific areas of deficiency that need improvement.  The sales management team will work with the sales professional to address those deficiencies through training, role play, and tandem selling.  When successful, the sales professional returns to adequate or better levels of performance.  If unsuccessful, the sales professional will be replaced.  SPI has a strong track record of recovering sub-standard performance in those that adhere to their performance improvement plans and respond to our coaching and training.

SPI normally relies on its clients for direct marketing and advertising targeted at prospective customers.  SPI will work closely with you to ensure a targeted focus on any specific geographies or target prospects that are recipients of this messaging. The best sales campaigns are those that are well synchronized with direct marketing and advertising activities. SPI works directly with its clients’ marketing and advertising partners to coordinate the timing of activity.  If you are in need of direct marketing or advertising support, SPI maintains a network of contacts in the sales and marketing services industry and can direct you to an appropriate resource.

Once a sales campaign is running, within an already existing market we can typically increase the size of a team in as little as two to three weeks (sometimes longer) depending on the type and number of sales professionals needed.  Additionally, new markets can be opened and launched in 30 to 45 days.

SPI has found that its primary strength lies in facilitating a start to finish interaction with the customer.  However, SPI has had a number of clients for whom it has provided lead generation or demand generation services, wherein we have made an initial outreach, presented to and qualified prospects, and handed them off to an internal or other external selling channel for subsequent follow up and close.  The follow up process for these leads is critical to the success of this type of endeavor and SPI can work with you to establish best practices for lead routing and ensure that qualified leads are being handled timely and effectively.

If your business is well financed, has a solid marketing plan, and some history selling its products or services, we can help.  However, businesses with limited funding, little or no customer history, or under-developed product or product support mechanisms may find engaging with a sales outsourcing partner to be premature.  In these situations, product support and fulfillment can quickly become overwhelmed by the demands placed on these areas as orders come in.  Additionally, product development and quality control needs to be maintained or your selling and marketing investments may be wasted.  If you are in this situation, SPI may be able to introduce you to additional resources that will be able to help you at an early stage in your company’s development.

Our teams range in size from small teams of three sales professionals to teams of more than fifty sales professionals.  We have maintained multiple teams of ten or more sales professionals in multiple markets for our clients and we’ve simultaneously launched multiple teams in multiple markets for our clients. The size of the sales team is dictated by your needs, the size of your market, and not by any limitation imposed by SPI.

SPI primarily focuses on sales in North America, but has managed smaller engagements for clientele that needed a presence in overseas markets.

SPI employs different CRM implementations depending on the needs of a program.  Typically for our field selling programs we use self-developed mobile CRM implementations integrated with back end database and reporting services and other applications.  For other campaigns we have used desktop CRM applications from well respected industry leaders such as SalesForce.com, SalesNET, and Sage.  If you need us to use your CRM we can do so as well as long as we have access to data that we can use for our internal performance reporting and analysis.  In many cases we have built integration between our internal systems and client CRM when the needs of the campaign justified or required use of our own internal solutions.  We have evaluated or used SalesForce.com, NetSuite, Siebel, ACT, Sage, Microsoft Dynamics, Sugar CRM (and derivatives), and others.

SPI maintains a web enabled reporting service that auto-generates daily, weekly, and monthly reporting and analysis including sales activities, customer interaction record details, pipeline and funnel reports, and other reports that help keep you and the campaign leadership up to date on progress and performance.  Additionally, reporting is shared with the sales professional showing them where they rank with respect to their colleagues, reinforcing activity and performance goals.  We have custom designed reports for clients or can provide you with sample reporting to familiarize you with our capabilities.

The relationship between you and your customers drives value for your business.  We understand this and take the obligation to protect your data and the privacy of your customers seriously.   We have in place strong business process, policies, and controls to see that this data is protected.    The first principle we apply is that we only collect the data we need.  Then, in order to protect your data and the privacy of your customers we use a structured approach to secure your data electronically and that data is only visible when it is needed to complete a step or stage in the selling process.  This same principle of limited access is applied to any personally identifiable information data collected about your customers.   By using a structured process we know where protected sensitive data is in our system and we know it is being exposed only for legitimate business use.  Further, by knowing where the data is we can protect it by using industry standard technology.   In addition we have in place controls to revoke access to this data should we need to even further limit its availability.  This process is most effective if implemented at the beginning of an engagement with our clients and is a key part of our new client setup process.

 

Our Clients Say

“We’ve worked with other sales channel partners. Sales Partnerships is in a class by itself. Beyond getting better numbers, they sincerely care about honestly reporting what is happening and methodically improving the numbers. I have the greatest respect for SPI.”

Senior Marketing Director, Dex Media

“SPI treats sales like a science while most people treat it like an art. Their discipline and focus around sales is fantastic. SPI does sales outsourcing extremely well, they exceeded my expectations in nearly every way.”

Senior Marketing Manager, Level 3 Communications

“Sales Partnerships has been an important partner for us for years. They’ve helped us generate more sales than we’ve seen through either internal or external channels. They also helped us develop new ideas for products based on the data they gathered. They’ve closed deals for us from everything from small manufacturing plants to some of the largest corporations in the world as well as major US Government deals. Our company would look very different if not for their involvement.”

CEO, EHS Consulting and Training Products Firm

“SPI definitely handles sales differently than contract sales firms. Their accounts stick and are the types of accounts we keep (and want to keep) for a long time. Not only do they sell, but we improve our brand and fully understand what is going on at a field level.”

Division VP of Sales, Fortune 100 Bank

“We’ve grown several fold as a company almost entirely due to SPI. We doubled our client base and became even more respected in the marketplace. They helped us improve revenue, but also as a company. They are great partners.”

CEO, Aviation Software firm