Outsourcing Sales with an IMR:
Manufacturers’ Guide

As an industrial manufacturer, you have big goals: increase sales, introduce new products, penetrate new markets, and increase your market share.

If you’re considering partnering with an industrial manufacturers’ representative (IMR) to reach those goals, you’re not alone. More and more manufacturers are exploring the idea of increasing their market potential and partnering with professional sellers without having to hire full-time sales staff.

Of course, you have questions. How can you make sure you are making the right decision? How can you ensure that, if you do choose this route, everything goes well?

This guide will help you determine the best path for your business – and the best way to optimize your ROI.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Is Your Business a Good Fit for Outsourcing Sales to an IMR?

Your first step on your journey to partnering with an IMR agency is to gain clarity on several decisions.

Your decision depends on whether outsourcing part – or all – of your sales is a good fit for your business. This will depend on your industry, sales goals, financial position, market considerations, and more.

Find the answers you need to make your decision by conducting a self-assessment. Knowing who you are helps you discover what you need.

Is Your Business a Good Fit for Outsourcing Sales to an IMR?

Self-Assessment Step 1: Discover Your “Big Why”

Industrial manufacturers outsource sales for a variety of reasons. The better you understand your reasons, the better the fit you will have with an IMR partnership.

Why are you considering partnering with an IMR? Are you wanting to build stronger relationships with distributors? Are you needing easier access to end-users? Are you wanting to penetrate a new market or expand into new territory?

At Durrie Sales, we have discovered over the years that there are three primary reasons for outsourcing sales: pipeline, revenue, and costs.

Self-Assessment Step 2: Decide on Your Sales Model

Partnering with an IMR is likely a new venture for your firm. That means making some adjustments.

How much adjusting is needed depends on the sales model you adopt. After all, working with an IMR isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. You essentially have three sales models to choose from.

Which Sales Model Is Right for You?


100% Direct Sales Model

You employ your own sales representatives and outsource nothing.


100% Outsourced Sales Model

You sell through IMRs and have no direct sales staff of your own.


Hybrid Model

You use a combination of in-house sales representatives and an IMR to reach your sales goals.

Maximize manufacturing Sales

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Self-Assessment Step 3: Review Your Numbers

Outsourcing to an IMR firm only makes sense if it makes financial sense. You must decide if partnering with an IMR helps you reach your goals cost-effectively.

  • Cost-benefit analysis

    Your first step is to prepare a cost-benefit analysis of your current sales model with the one you are considering, the one that involves partnering with an IMR. Do the numbers add up? Consider the following:

    • Current fixed costs
    • Current variable costs
    • Commission rates of the IMR
    • Product-focused commissions you will pay an IMR
    • New-customer incentives you will offer
    • Bonuses you will offer
    • Marketing costs
  • Anticipated investment

    Next, review the level of investment you will make to ensure the new relationship works.

    For example, how much money do you need to invest to reach your new targets? What changes or increases in allocations do you need to make?

  • Margins

    Making money as an industrial manufacturer is all about margin. So, the final step in reviewing your numbers is to decide if partnering with an IMR helps or hampers your margins. Don’t hire on a hunch—do the calculations to be sure you make the right decision.

Review Your Numbers

Self-Assessment Step 4: Analyze the Market

Succeeding with an IMR depends partly on how well you set them up for success. One consideration that should be at the top of your list is the economy in general – and your markets in particular. Consider the following:

Analyze the Market
  • Market share: What percentage of the market do you currently own? Is your share of the market rising or falling?

  • Challenges: What hurdles do you face in the marketplace when it comes to growing your share of the market?

  • Product portfolio: Do you offer a line of products that an IMR will want to carry? How will an IMR make your products a priority

  • Competitors: What are the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors? Is partnering with an IMR the best way to optimize your competitiveness?

Why Outsource Sales? Read the Guide.

How Do You Choose the Best IMR?

If after completing this self-assessment you decide partnering with an IMR is the right decision for you, great! You are embarking on a new path that promises to be a win for you, a win for your IMR, and a win for your customers.

That is, if you choose the right IMR for your business.

This comes down to an exercise in identifying your top priorities.

To get you started, here is a list of some important considerations when creating your RFP and choosing your ideal candidates. Some things are deal breakers. Others, you may be willing to live without. But keep your eyes open for the IMR that delivers all six items – they do exist.

How to Choose an IMR

How To Ensure Great ROI And a Successful Partnership

Deciding whether to work with an IMR gets the wheels moving, choosing an IMR launches you down the road, and employing best practices ensures that you reach your destination.

We are talking about the best practices you need to employ to ensure that you drive return on your investment and build a successful partnership with your IMR.

Here’s how you do it.

How Manufacturers Can Get the Most Value from Independent Sales Reps

How Manufacturers Can Get the Most Value from Independent Sales Reps

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Best Practices in Action

How Durrie Sales Helped Monster Tool Grow

As a manufacturer, you likely already know that partnering with an industrial manufacturers’ representative helps you grow your sales, get your foot in the door at new accounts, and expand your market coverage. But what does this look like in practice (hint: it involves some double-digit growth.)

Outsourcing Sales Can Be the Right Move for Your Manufacturing Business

Partnering with an IMR is a big move, but it might just be the smartest move you make this year, freeing you up to focus your energy on key projects and initiatives that drive value and advance your business.

You grow your pipeline, increase revenue, grow profit, penetrate new markets, grow your market share, keep your costs in check—and your IMR partner agency helps make it happen, without the hand-holding or training involved in managing direct sales reps.

If you have read this far and think Durrie Sales sounds like the kind of IMR agency you’d like to work with, let’s talk. Call us toll-free at 800.423.2289, or drop us a line.

Why Outsource Sales? Read the Guide.