Building up your Sales Force with a Virtual Sales Assistant
A Virtual Sales Assistant is a specialised version of the conventional Virtual Assistant. As the term implies a Virtual Sales Assistant focuses on the sales aspect of business. Businesses that are scaling up on operations outsource services that are generally considered non-essential or those that provide support functions to the enterprise. By no means are non-essential tasks or support services not important to the enterprise, but outsourcing these services allows the business owner or the main decision makers more time to focus on core functions that contribute directly to revenue generation or expansion programs.
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Sales are the lifeblood of every business. Without sales, the business will be hard pressed to sustain the costs of operation with just savings, borrowings or other means to internally generate capital. The idea of realising sales is simple: identify a need, create a product to address the need, present the product through a marketing and promotional campaign, qualify the interested parties then close the sale. In truth, each stage in the sales process presents its own set of challenges.
Companies track the progress of the sales process as it moves along a funnel. The opening of the sales funnel represents the size of the market base the company has to open; the larger the opening, the larger the market base. The shape of the funnel starts to streamline as it moves down the spout. In sales, the streamline represents the qualifying process; filtering the acquired market base of those who are not interested in the product or service. The challenge for sales companies is to move prospects continually and consistently through the funnel.
Organising a dedicated sales team will be tedious and will require specific funding from the company. A standard set up for a sales team includes the following skills:
- Marketing associates– These are the agents who do the actual sales functions of telemarketing and leg work.
- Sales Supervisors– Agents are limited in the scope of information they can share with prospective customers. In a sales hierarchy, the Supervisor takes over and discusses this information with the prospect. Also, customer information that the agent procures must be certified by the Supervisor.
- Quality Assurance Officers– QA Officers provide the second tier certification on all information procured by the agent from the client.
- Customer Relationship Management officers– CRM Officers are tasked to update and oversee the client information data base.
How a Virtual Assistant Can Help Grow Your Direct Sales Business http://t.co/YQ3rcEGzxP
— Lisa Rodriguez (@NextLevelVA) February 1, 2015
Funding a sales department will include payroll, benefits, rent plus capitalisation for new computers and leasehold improvements. A company with limited funding or liquidity problems may find it risky to invest in a sales department.
An alternative is to create a virtual team of Virtual Sales Assistants or VSA’s which have the following advantages:
1. Low cost– As virtual employees, the virtual team primarily works online from their respective remote locations. The company will not have to spend more on rent and there will be no need to invest in new computers and furniture. Virtual Assistants are self-employed which mean they are only paid fees for the work they are asked to do. VA’s do not receive benefits and their pay is based on productive hours or only for the hours actual worked.
2. Flexibility– The virtual team can be composed of personnel that fit the skill set of a standard sales team. You can designate telemarketing agents, QA Officers, CRM officers and authorise a senior VA to be the Supervisor. You can divide the work shifts so the entire campaign can be covered even after office hours. The telemarketers and Supervisor can work during office hours while the QA and CRM Officers can cover after office hours. The client can designate personnel from the QA and CRM group to receive and respond to calls that come in after office hours.
3. Improve productivity– The virtual world will give you access to a wider market of talent who have the experience and track record for bringing in sales. The ability to make a sale cannot be taught. For the most part, it is a skill that has been honed after years of experience.
Hiring a Virtual Sales Assistant will greatly contribute to your efforts in improving sales because you can scale according to performance. It is a cost effective way in addressing the challenge of generating sales.