What markets do you want to reach?
Depending on what you manufacture, there may be a wide range of possibilities when it comes to geographic reach or expanding into new industries.
Let’s say, for example, your primary customer base is distributors for the medical industry. And your existing reps know that industry inside and out. Great! But there’s a solid use-case for several of your product lines in a different industry: agriculture.
Now what? Your team knows how to talk about pediatric equipment, not poultry agribusinesses. Getting them up to speed will take months. Building relationships? That’ll take even longer.
That’s when an IMR firm is a great option, letting you work with reps who already know that industry – and more importantly, the distributors and players in that industry. They’re already “in,” so all you need to do is teach them your products.
The same principle applies when it comes to geography. If you’re looking to expand into Canada, for example, why not hire an IMR firm with reps who know the market, speak both official languages, and already have deep-seeded relationships with the distributors you want to reach?
By knowing where you want to go, you’re in a better position to determine whether an IMR firm can help you get there.
Who are you?
This sounds like an existential question (or a song by The Who for anybody else here who remembers the late 1970’s), but your sales reps are the face of your business and ambassadors for your brand. So, if your company keeps a casual, friendly, “regular folks” attitude, you probably don’t want to hire an overly formal, tie-wearing sales rep who takes an aggressive sales approach.
The same goes for outsourcing your sales: Knowing your brand and being able to describe who you are as a business will make it easier to find outsourced sales reps who match your tone, style, language, and way of working.
Fortunately, you don’t need to have all the answers on your own. An experienced industrial manufacturer’s rep will ask you these questions (and more) and will work with you to set a clear strategy. And if they don’t? That’s a good sign they might not be the right fit.