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June 27 2019.
Nov 06
Outsource your sales function.

During interactions with many organisations across business sectors, I am frequently asked, " Sanjay,

- Do you know any good sales - marketing person ?
- We need to staff our sales organisation urgently.
- It has now become very difficult to get the 'right' people.
- We are facing problems to attract & retain experienced Senior managers.

The unprecedented growth in Indian economy, has attracted number of competitors to the market. The present competitors & the new ones' are looking for experienced (& fresh) sales staff across the organisation hierarchy. This has put extreme pressure on the management to retain the present staff. Similarly the employees are also looking at 'enriching' their career (& life !) by shifting to different business sectors.

So in this challenging HR situation what can an organisation do?

OUTSOURCE !

It may appear bold (& ridiculous to some !) to think of asking someone else outside the organisation to handle 'Sales'. However if you observe carefully, for the past century 'outsourcing' is being done by virtue of appointing of Channel partners ( also called as dealers, distributors & value added resellers etc).

With the current challenging HR scenario, sales outsourcing by developing 'Channel Partners' gains an unprecedented importance for survival & growth of an organisation.

The major advantages offered by channel partner is the possibility of consistent business growth, independent of manpower 'issues' at the parent organisation. The channel partner earns only from the business he generates unlike organisation employees, who earn major part of their salary irrespective of quantum business they bring.

I have observed, organisations having well designed Channel management processes, especially in identifying, managing & motivating channel partners have reaped excellent benefits. And have been largely immune to the manpower turnover.

The typical activities in Sales-Marketing (& Post sales ) process which can be 'outsourced' are;
* Enquiry generation.
* Enquiry qualification.
* Submitting sales proposals.
* Sales negotiations.
* Order booking & execution.
* Erection & commissioning.
* Training.
* After sales services & spares.
* Annual maintenance contracts & emergency services.
* Exploring cross-selling opportunities.

Some of the channel partners may handle all the aforesaid activities or selected few depending on the organisations' 'comfort' & capability.

In the present acute sales - marketing manpower needs, outsourcing by virtue of developing 'right' channel partners is one of the key initiative for survival & growth. The organisations who never thought of 'outsourcing' the sales, considering it being too holy to be outsourced, can break down the entire sales process& look at the those activities with which they would be comfortable to be done by person outside the organisation. This will help them to understand how channel management can work for them & workout a plan to progressively outsource the entire process.

As in case of any successful outsourcing, the crucial success factors are; establishing transparent management process with a set operating, performance & review parameters.


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