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Independent vs In-House Sales Reps: Which is Best for your Wholesale Business?

January 19, 2017 By Stacey Woods

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Whether you’re just gearing up as a wholesaler or are looking to expand your existing sales team, there are two ways to hire sales people to represent your brand in the field. The first is with sales reps as employees; the second is with independent sales agents to sell on your behalf in a particular territory.

While in-house reps get paid salaries regardless of how many sales they make, independent reps (also called manufacturer’s reps) are typically paid on a commission-basis only.

After taking a look at the following advantages and disadvantages of each sales rep ‘type’, you will be better positioned to decide which you should use. Choosing one over the other (or sometimes a combination) will depend on a number of factors, notably your budget, sales goals and management style.

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The best of both worlds

We can see that the deciding factors boil down to budget and control. Independent sales agents can save wholesalers money when they don’t have the resources to hire in-house staff.  However, managers have less control over how their brand is represented and their products sold. Often companies use a combination. For example, they will hire outside reps in the beginning with the intention of transitioning to internal sales reps once their brand is more established. Others maintain an internal sales team to serve stronger, more saturated regions with high sales volumes, and independent reps for smaller territories where it’s harder to break into the market.

Whether employing inside or outside sales reps or a combination, sales effectiveness and sales efficiency are always a challenge. Sales automation solutions allow wholesalers to plan, execute, and tightly monitor their B2B sales in a manner that maximizes sale rep productivity and professionalism.