Sales · IoT- Internet of Things

How to find commission based sales people for IoT project?

Simonida Boscovic Co-founder at Vizlore LLC

July 28th, 2016

We are a startup in completion phase of an exciting IoT service and ready to launch! 

Should we look for sales people who would work on a commission basis, rather than hiring salaried personnel? Is this common practice and are there specific formulas for performance based sales?

I am also interested to learn about other people's experience on how to recognize a potent sales person.

Any input from this group will be much appreciated.


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July 29th, 2016

Manufacturer's reps may be a good avenue for a fast ramp up and long term sales/market development for your new product/service without requiring breaking your bank in upfront costs. They work on commission, have the local respected reputation  amongst your natural/ideal target markets and prospects so they can get your products accepted and purchased. Thay also have the right contacts who deeply trust them as a resource that they can leverage to get them and you both product acceptance and sales.

That channel also works because It's their established and respected reputation instead of your own "new kid on the block" reputation that gets the sales and a fast ramp up for actual sales that you need.

Because Manufacturers reps are independent business folks who work on commission only, they are rarely pioneers for new products. Knowing this, You will have to find a way to make the sales partnership a natural and profitable fit for them.

To find the Manufacturer's rep sales group/channel that can and will work well for you even though you may be a "new" product, idea or service: Research a bit 

- First look for what other products and services does your product naturally compliment? 

- Next, Search google for manufacturers reps who sell those types of products or services.

- Next, approach them with you being a very natural ad on for what they already sell or a stand alone that fits their targeted markets and customers.

Next, Qualify them re commitment to you, fairly reliable projected results, time to ramp up/sell and if they are right for do this:

- Instead of asking them to be your reps, ask them why you should chose them to be your reps. That conversation yields just how committed they could and will be, how much they see your product as a great opportunity and how/why they would/could be successful for you. 

Based on that, select the rep firm and write a sales contract that is clear in its mutual support,expectations plus lets them have the product as an exclusive in their territoty. Define expected results and the time period in which that must happen. That makes the rep firm have a stake in the game and it gives you an out if they font work out.

I've gone to market for years in one of the most competitive industries, the physical security industry and it has worked exceedingly well. Good Rep firms can afford the selling time needed. Its a pay for success path so it offers a good affordable sales path but it works v hiring straight commission sales people who can't fund the ramp up time and if sales don't happen fast will quit.

Please consider this Manufacturer's Rep route as the best way to get the sales side ramped up quickly and successful for both the short term and long term. 

Farley Duvall CEO & Co-Founder - White Bull

July 29th, 2016

As a former "bag carrying sales guy" and now CEO/Chief Sales Guy of my own services firm, I agree with the various forms of "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys."
Having looked at the Vizlore site, I still don't have enough info to recommend a sales approach for you. However, looking at your Advisory Board, I don't see anyone with a high level/pure sales background (congrats on getting Toby Redshaw, who I am connected with). I would suggest recruiting a seasoned sales exec to your advisory board who can help steer you in the right direction and maybe even assist in recruiting sales people (or a head of sales to build a team) from his/her network. 
Best of luck!

Rob Rusher Founder Institute Director, Denver Area

July 29th, 2016

A key personality trait of a good sales person is integrity.

Sales people often get a bad wrap from the ones who speak ill of others or their competition. Or even worse, lie about anything just to get the sale.

They are called representatives for a reason. A representative's lack of integrity reflects directly back on your company.

A good sales rep knows how to focus on the customer's problem and put your product/solution in the best light to solve that problem without violating their integrity or yours.

Ryan Mattock Co-Founder of Award Winning CommissionCrowd - The Home Of Independent Sales

July 29th, 2016

It's fairly obvious that some people in this thread fail to realise that there are a huge number of highly experienced self-employed sales professionals globally. I'm not talking about door-to-door toothbrush types or those who are in-between jobs either.

What Rob Rusher (above) fails to recognise are that entrepreneurs operate within many industries. By stating "If you do not believe enough in your product to offer a base plus commission, why should I believe in your product." he is effectively saying that sales professionals can't be entrepreneurial... this is simply not true and demonstrates a lack of understanding on his part.

One of the main benefits of working with independent reps include a quick route to Market by being able to tap into existing networks of contacts that have been built over a number of years. 

I've written extensively on this topic and have collaborated with many self-employed sales professionals to put together an article called '10 Things To Understand When Working With Independent Sales Reps' which i'm sure you'll find useful.


Rob Rusher Founder Institute Director, Denver Area

July 28th, 2016

There is a common saying in Sales, "If you do not believe enough in your product to offer a base plus commission, why should I believe in your product."

You will find it difficult to hire even a decent sales person with commission only compensation.

Jim Cantrell Senior Director WW Channels at Exinda Networks

July 28th, 2016

Simonida, you get what you pay for with salespeople and that's how it should be. If you are looking pursue commissioned salespeople, instead I'd suggest building a channel model. In this case complimentary companies will sell your product for commission. Also look for these companies who can bundle your offering with theirs. If you want to look for salespeople who are paid (Salaried), look at their track record, previous deal sizes and ask how they did certain deals. Make sure they align well. You don't want car salespeople selling software for you and so on. And of course, be aware that the salesperson will be trying to sell every time you talk...

Andre Halley Chairman of the Board at Prevtec microbia inc.

July 28th, 2016

Unless you absolutely need to sell directly to end users, I strongly suggest to use distribution channels specialized in the markets you are targeting. 

Andre Halley Chairman of the Board at Prevtec microbia inc.

July 28th, 2016

Unless you absolutely want to sell directly to end users, I strongly suggest that you use distribution channels 



Bob Snyder Editor-in-Chief, Channel Media Europe

July 31st, 2016

Hi Simonida,
The IoT space is an emerging market and this will shape the possibilities. The independent channels have a lot of interest in IoT, but little experience so far. At this point for your IoT platform, you need to hire  asap (via salary, salary + stock) a person that can do 3 things:  1) Sell your platform (Ie, has the right experience to passion to sell IoT platforms)  2) Act as Alliance Manager becauseyour IoT platform will require this and 3) Find, sign & motivate channels and build a network in USA and overseas.  This will end being 3 separate jobs (and probably even more) if you are successful. You need to move fast as many new IoT platforms are coming out.  To underline my answer, you will need at least one significant salesperson on-board with a package commensurate with the job you are asking and he/she will solve the other problens for you by finding the right alliance partners and channels that will work off commission or profit.  I agree with Farley that you should also take on a knowledgable advisory board member to give you additional insight.

Anonymous

April 27th, 2017

Hi Simonida


My replies may be baised but I am myself a bizdev guy and have hired many both on commission and salary mode. I have found very limited success to commission only mode sales unless its a manufactures rep who is carrying an additional line but that limits the face time with prospects and they may not be very inclined in pushing your product beyond certain level. Pure comssion guys have bills to pay also , so unless your product gets then lot of traction an money in less than 1 -2 months its not going to be thier main focus.


Paying a salary plus commission works best because you can demand how much time they spend on selling your product. Also please note good sales guys are expensive.