How to Shortlist Your Sales Staffing Firm
Organizations that need a large sales force often outsource this function.
But choosing the right sales staffing firm is challenging. The best approach to take is to look for a firm who has the right synergies. Or simply, look for a partner. And not yet another vendor.
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A firm with a partner attitude has a strong strategic intent to collaborate with their clients and stakeholders. Such a partner can be entrusted with the immense responsibility of representing your organization as its sales arm. A vendor, on the other hand, will merely deliver on a service-level agreement; they will tick all the boxes at a transactional level but will not quite own the mandate of delivering your sales target.
So, you need a partner, not a vendor.
How do you identify the right partner?
Of course, you will look for the partner’s strength and credibility in a few key areas of operation like:
- Their organizational structure.
- Their list of clients.
- Testimonials from their clients.
- The tenure since incorporation.
- Their experience in your industry.
- Their presence in the markets in which you operate.
However, if you are looking for a right partner to be your extended sales arm, you need to look at a firm more closely.
Look specifically for the following capabilities:
- How good and robust are the partner’s recruitment processes?
- How strong is the partner’s technology backbone?
- How efficient is the partner’s resource capability mapping ability?
- How compliant is the partner with local legal and government requirements?
Reviewing the partner’s recruitment processes
Choose a partner with an in-house recruitment team. Such a firm offers a shorter turnaround time on recruitment. Plus, their quality of recruitment is always superior. Firms that outsource their recruitment teams cannot offer you this advantage.
Pay attention to how the partner’s organization is structured. Is theirs a decentralized team? Or is it a centralized command structure? Choose a staffing partner with a decentralized team. They are the ones who are agile and who can promise better geographical coverage when recruiting.
Assess the capability of the partner firm’s recruitment turnaround time and also the actual numbers that they recruit each month. This will help you evaluate their capability against your own organization’s plans. You will then be able to set realistic, achievable, targets.
Understand the partner’s entire recruitment cycle, and the related processes, thoroughly. Pay attention to details such as salary payment mechanisms, and collection and verification of pre-employment documents. Look closely at how they are faring on key performance indices like fill rates and turnaround times.
Reviewing the partner’s technology architecture
There are no two ways about this. Always choose a partner who is working with advanced and contemporary technologies. It is only with high-quality technology that a firm can deliver swiftly on the field. And it is only technology that can ensure seamless management of internal processes.
Ensure also that the partner’s technology architecture is not outsourced. Only a partner with an in-house technology team can deliver efficiently on their mandate. Only they can adapt and customize their delivery to suit your needs. Technology does not just give your partner an edge. In a core function like sales, it makes you more competitive.
When you are having to choose between two partner firms, with both having in-house technology capabilities, choose the one whose technology is more mature, is more cutting-edge, and is adopted extensively.
Reviewing the partner’s resource capability mapping ability
Spend quality time and effort understanding this capability of your partner. This is the key capability that will distinguish a partner from a regular, also-ran, vendor. Your partner must have the ability to sync with your organization’s vision. Only firms that have an in-depth sales management background and experience can demonstrate the ability to have resources and a field force that are aligned to their client’s vision.
Review the partner’s compliance to legal and government regulations
Several local legal and government requirements need to be met when engaging manpower. Even when you outsource your manpower, contractually, you will be named as the principal employer. And you will have almost all the liabilities that regular employers will have. Your actions and obligations will be governed by the local labor laws, the PF Act, ESIC Act, and several such related state and central laws. You will also be liable to pay benefits for maternity, and cover accident and life insurance, for the outsourced workforce. Therefore, it is critical that you conduct a complete due diligence on whether your partner firm is compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. Importantly, feel their pulse and evaluate them on parameters relating to ethics, transparency and integrity.
Also Read: Difficult Conversations With Sales Bosses
The final word
While outsourcing your sales function will have its advantages, remember that only a right partner can help you achieve your business plans. So, choose your partner wisely. You need someone whose values match your own, who is willing to have a skin in the game, who is willing to understand your vision, and who is keen to own your business opportunity, risk, outlook and performance. For the last part, simply, they must be willing to be your true partner in progress.