The Expo 2022 session “Oh Crap, Here Comes the Competition: Time to Add Outside Sales” was a fast-paced discussion about assessing your company’s existing sales structure and determining whether and how to add outside salespeople. With 30 years of experience, James Auerbach, VP, Event Segment, American Rental Association, told participants it was first necessary to identify where you are and then decide where you want to go.
“I ask every business owner I meet to show me their list of prospects, and almost nobody actually has one,” says Auerbach. “This tells me they don’t have a formal sales program. You can grow organically for awhile, but you eventually need a formal sales program.”
Auerbach discussed the differences between inside and outside sales. He says it’s time to consider adding an outside sale person once you start detecting warning signs in two categories: things you can easily see and things you can’t.
Things you can easily see include new competitors and new salespeople visiting your established clients. Things you can’t easily see include a decrease in phone calls, order frequency, website visits and order amounts.
“These are signs you should consider adding outside sales,” says Auerbach. But he says it’s important to consider your goals and how this person will be managed. Managing outside salespeople requires different expectations, and finding the right people for your company takes careful interviewing skills.
When considering hiring an outside salesperson, Auerbach recommends three action steps: review your market, review your existing team and review the people already in your orbit. Someone you already know might make an excellent outside salesperson for your company.