Why Outsource Sales?
Grow your sales pipeline and increase revenue—without the cost and hassle of managing a full-time sales force
Tell us if this sounds familiar:
You decide to hire salespeople to help you grow existing accounts and bring in new business, freeing up your time so you can focus on the big-picture sales development strategies that’ll help you launch into new markets.
Soon, you find yourself busy recruiting, training, and managing your sales team – so busy, that you don’t have the time or mental bandwidth to do much of anything but that.
But you’re still responsible for the never-ending tasks of forecasting demand, controlling inventory, managing staff, improving efficiency, maintaining margins, and keeping up with technological advances.
Challenges Facing Industrial Manufacturers
There always seems to be a new set of fires to put out. Especially now – industrial manufacturers are facing unprecedented challenges:
Fortunately, many industrial manufacturers have found a way out of this vicious cycle: They outsource their sales function to an industrial manufacturers’ representative (IMR) agency.
Outsourcing sales to an IMR frees you up to focus your energy on key projects and initiatives that drive value and advance your business—while still making sure you increase revenue, grow profit, and keep your costs in check.
What is Sales Outsourcing?
Sales outsourcing is the act of retaining an independent salesperson or firm to manage your sales for you. In the industrial manufacturing space, these individuals and firms go by a number of names, including:
Regardless of the name you use to describe them, these are all independent contractors, not full-time employees. You pay them a commission (typically a percentage of what they sell), not a salary or wage.
Another unique characteristic of manufacturers’ reps is that they represent manufacturers — plural. They don’t work for just one manufacturer. Manufacturers’ reps act on behalf of the interests of multiple manufacturers.
In North America, there are around half a million manufacturers’ reps, most of them working in specific geographic regions, and focusing their sales efforts on a particular industry or type of client.
Benefits of Outsourcing Sales
Industrial manufacturers outsource their sales to independent firms for several reasons.
The main benefit of outsourcing sales is that it allows you to grow your sales pipeline and increase revenues without the cost of managing a full-time sales force. You pay only for performance.
Another important benefit? Industrial manufacturer’s representatives give you immediate access to new regions and new accounts without you incurring the fixed costs associated with hiring salespeople and sending them into new territories. IMRs are highly experienced, have preexisting relationships within their industry network (which means they can keep you informed about opportunities or potential pitfalls), and can hit the ground running.
What to Consider When Outsourcing Sales
While outsourcing sales can be a great way to take some huge tasks off your hands, there are a few things to think about before making the leap.
Which sales do you want to outsource?
Many industrial manufacturers are a bit nervous about outsourcing their sales, and that’s normal! They may have a handful of particularly delicate or high-potential accounts that they want to nurture closely. Or they may already have a few superstar salespeople who they want to hang on to.
For these reasons (and more), plenty of manufacturers are choosing to have the best of both worlds: a hybrid sales approach. In fact, in 2019, 67.9% of all companies studied by the Industrial Supply Association (ISA) used a combination of independent reps and direct field sales employees.
With this approach, manufacturers choose to outsource some of their sales, but not all. How they break that down is entirely up to them. They might:
- Outsource basic lead generation and cold calling but keep an in-house team for high-touch leads and account management.
- Keep an in-house team for local clients but outsource reps as a way of easily expanding into new territories.
- Use in-house sales for their primary target segment but outsource sales to other industries or markets.
Not sure how you’ll manage a hybrid sales team?
In 2019, 67.9% of all companies studied by the Industrial Supply Association (ISA) used a combination of independent reps and direct field sales employees.
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.
Is Durrie Sales a Good Fit to Outsource Sales for Your Industrial Manufacturing Company?
Durrie Sales is an industrial manufacturers’ representative agency that specializes in helping manufacturers of cutting tools, workholding, and fasteners optimize the supply chain to maximize productivity and efficiency at the end-user level.
After more than 80 years in the business, we know that no sales agency—not even ours—can produce results for every industry. That’s why we’re the agency of choice for companies specializing in cutting tools and industrial manufacturing.
We know your products.
We know your market.
We speak your language.
And we speak your customers’ language.
Here’s how to know if we’re right for your company:
Durable manufacturing production
Civilian aircraft equipment production (Aerospace)
Industrial machinery production
Electrical equipment production
Farm machinery shipments (Agriculture)
North American light vehicle production (Automotive)
We’re More Than Just Sales Outsourcing
At Durrie Sales, we deliver a full suite of outsourced sales services to grow your pipeline and increase your revenue.
Marketing & Sales Process
Every customer starts out as a stranger, turns into a lead, and eventually becomes a buyer. At Durrie Sales, we know customers often begin their journey with an advertisement or a piece of marketing content.
That’s why we complement our sales efforts with marketing tactics that we have developed and proven over the years. For example, we create digital and print marketing materials to promote your products to distributors and end users.
Once we’ve attracted prospects, our documented sales process adds structure and accountability to your sales activities, leading to a higher win rate, shorter sales cycles, and a big boost in your revenue.
Just because you outsource your sales function doesn’t mean you’re out of the loop. Quite the opposite. At Durrie Sales, we assign a dedicated account executive to manage your account.
Your account executive is just a phone call away, ready to answer your questions, talk strategy, and bring you up to date on the latest sales figures.
With Durrie Sales, you have full access to our sales staff so that you gain insight into your customers’ sales health, sales potential, and potential barriers to sales.
Training & Principal Onboarding
Our first order of business when you retain Durrie Sales as your manufacturers’ representative agency is to understand your markets, your customers, the breadth and depth of your product line, and your sales and marketing challenges.
We focus on your best sellers, the features and benefits of your products, product use cases, applications, and plenty more.
Then we conduct continuous education, so we stay on top of new product offerings, changes in your market and other factors. Our training has one goal—to help us maximize our effectiveness when selling your products to your customers.
Insights & Reporting
Markets change. Buyer behavior changes. Trends come and go. Pandemics happen. That’s why, at Durrie Sales, we stay ahead of developments in your industry and in your markets.
We keep you up to date on what your competitors are up to, we provide insights into potential industries that you can penetrate, and we report on trending business cycles.
Each month, we sit down with you to address issues and opportunities, while strategizing together how we can help you become even more successful.